Visiting family in Kent a few weeks back, we spent a day wandering around Faversham – taking in its beautiful old buildings, its bustling marketplace and, of course, its playgrounds: an essential part of any day out with a small child in tow. As lunchtime approached, we turned to the family member based in Faversham for ideas…and it was The White Horse in Boughton-under-Blean, just a few miles’ drive away, that was suggested.
It’s a place that ticked all the requirements of our party: dog-friendly, child-friendly, on-site parking, suitable for a vegan and a pescatarian, and with a table for six available within 15 minutes of phoning them.
The renovated 16th-century coaching inn with rooms has plenty of history, as described in a painted sign on the outside of the building.
Inside it has the sort of character you’d expect from such a historic place, with its low, black timber beamed ceilings, an enormous Inglenook fireplace and beautiful wooden floors.
It’s even got its own suntrap garden, complete with a covered area, where we were able to make the most of the sunny Boughton-under-Blean summer weather.
Behind the bar, you’ll find a range of Kent’s Shepherd Neame beers on draught, alongside the likes of Estrella, Moretti and Guinness. We were impressed with the menu, too, which features, as they say, “an international twist from classic hearty pub dishes to our own style dishes combining culinary flavours from across the world with a little Aussie influence”.
While we waited for the final member of our group to arrive we ordered a few small plates to share: the baba ghanoush with grilled flatbread (£9), and the courgette tacos with jalapeno mayo (£10). The former was super smooth (I’m used to baba ghanoush with a bit more texture), but lovely and smoky, the flatbread nicely charred, there just wasn’t enough of it for the dip. We asked for more as it didn’t go far and were charged an extra £3 for a single flatbread chopped into slices. The courgette tacos were great, though: the tender courgette nestled beneath a crisp coating, plenty of slaw, and firm corn tacos. The jalapeno mayo could have done with a bit more of a kick, but I guess it’s subjective!
I let the five-year-old choose my main as he was sharing, and he picked the Fish Bake (£21): a puff pastry crust on top of a mix of white fish, salmon and king prawns in a white wine and parsley sauce, served with French fries. After the initial confusion of being served a steak pie meant for another member of the party (they looked identical, I can understand the mix-up), I was presented with a dish topped with an enormous slab of golden brown puff pastry and a generous side of chips.
The chips were decent, cooked with their skins and nicely salted. The pie itself looked a little daunting because of its size, but the pastry was beautifully buttery. The fish inside was nicely cooked, but the majority of the dish was the sauce which, while delicious, was pretty thin and hard to mop up with either the chips or the pastry crust.
The service at the White Horse in Boughton-under-Blean was pretty good and the pub itself is beautiful, but given the price, the food was fairly average. It was also hard to get a real feel for what the place is like as it was so, so quiet: on a Saturday lunchtime during the school summer holidays, we were the only table for the majority of our meal. I’d happily head back for a drink, but I don’t think I’d rush back for food.