The White Horse, Hampstead, London
The White Horse, Fleet Road, not far from Hampstead Heath was no stranger to me. It had played a significant part in my London life when living in Camden – many a weekend outing involved Hmpstead and a visit to the friendly pub.
A friend knowing I had a penchant for Lebanese food had suggested we meet up for lunch at a newly opened Hampstead restaurant specialising in the cuisine, one which was once a pub.
And so it was that many years later I again found myself walking from the tube station, turning into Fleet Road heading for The White Horse.
There it was, The White Horse, a triangular corner building; from the outside looking much the same, a bit smarter maybe.
However inside there had definitely been changes, there was still the familiar part tile patterned floor, the lights, the beautiful bar and the astonishing patterned ceiling, but the pub had been given a skilful makeover.
The building dates back to 1721, although it was rebuilt at the beginning of the 20th century.
New owner, Sacha, has carefully preserved its historic and unusual interior but given it a facelift with comfortable new upholstered chairs, a copper top to the bar, interesting decorative items plus, no doubt, many tins of paint. Wonderfully clean loos too.
It was quiet on our lunch time visit, so no fighting for one of the tables in front of one of the two welcoming fires.
We had actually called in before the lunch time menu was fully operational. Nevertheless chef produced a delicious selection of mezze for us – labne, hommus, muttabal and tabbouleh. These were followed by beautifully tender and tasty grilled chicken.
The highlights for us the muttabal and the chicken. The Sauvignon Blanc was good and the very good coffee went perfectly with a plate of Lebanese sweets. Mezze dishes from £5, mains from £10 and desserts in the region of £4.
We wished we both lived closer so we could pop in on a regular basis either for a drink or for a meal; Sunday lunch, we understand, is proving very popular with diners. Opening hours throughout the week from 12 noon. www.whitehorsenw3.co.uk