When we headed down to the Cotswolds last month, I was on a bit of a mission to sample some seriously old-school English pubs and inns. Thankfully, Oxfordshire is packed full of them, and one of the best has to be The White Horse in Duns Tew.
We headed over on a rather rainy night, dragging ourselves away from the wood burning fire at Bruern Cottages (more about that later) we were met with a picture perfect stone inn, complete with rooms to the rear.
We parked in the on-site carpark, so entered through the back. After weaving through throngs of locals chatting away at the bar, we were shown to the dining area of the restaurant, and honestly, it couldn’t have been cosier. A couple of seriously chill dogs were scattered throughout the bar and in one half of the dining area, whilst the other side was reserved for two-legged patrons.
The interior of The White Horse couldn’t have been nicer to spend a rainy evening in. Each table was lit with an adorable little gas light, whilst various lamps were scattered throughout. I adored the kitschy pictures on the wall and the decorated ceiling. It was the absolute definition of cosy.
The menu changes daily to reflect what’s in season, so, as we pondered over our choices, I opted for a glass of prosecco. At £5 a glass I was seriously impressed at how delicious it was – dry and fruity, it was good enough for a second glass!
After debating over a few options, we went for a bit of a surf’n’turf selection of starters. First up was a deconstructed prawn marie rose, featuring an entire pint of shrimp! It was a seriously generous portion to begin a meal with, but an absolutely delicious one!
The prawns were obviously very fresh, tender and full of flavour. Paired with freshly baked sourdough toast and homemade mayonnaise, it was a fun take on a classic pub dish. Obviously the locals agreed, as I don’t think that there was a table who didn’t order them!
I don’t think I can see Chicken Liver Pate on a menu and not order it. My trip to the White Horse was no different! A huge slab of it was served alongside homemade sourdough toast and cornichons.
The pate was incredibly rich and velvety smooth. Sprinkled with a touch of Maldon salt, I could have munched away on it all evening. The cornichon lent a vinegar-y twang which cut through pate wonderfully. For such a simple dish, it was perfectly balanced, and was wonderful with my glass of prosecco.
When it came to mains, there was only one choice for me – Pork Belly with greens, turnip mask, homemade black pudding and a poached pear. The White Horse source all their meat and vegetables locally, and the pork was testament to their suppliers. Incredibly rich in flavour, with a crisp crackling it was perfectly juicy and tender.
The homemade black pudding was absolute perfect, and gave the dish real depth. Contrasted with the sweetness of the turnip and pear, my meal had all the flavours of autumn, and I savoured every mouthful.
When we saw that a 10oz Ribeye was on the menu, we couldn’t not order it! The freshness of the meat was apparent in both flavour and texture, and it was absolutely melt-in-the mouth. Served with a fresh green salad and freshly cooked fries, it was the perfect pub supper.
The fries were an absolute revelation. Piping hot, crisp and salty, I stole my fair share of these to go with my pork!
We couldn’t quite fit in dessert, but did grab a few coffees before venturing back out in the rain. Frothy perfection, I was absolutely obsessed with my very cool royal mug.
Far too soon we were back out in the Oxfordshire countryside winding our way back to Bruern, full of the very best food that the Cotswolds has to offer.
You can find out more information about the White Horse Duns Tew here.