Lydia C. Lee is still trying to work out what to do with her one wild and precious life. She currently is a haphazard blogger. Read more at holidazeandhellidaze.blogspot.com.au or www.pandoraandmax.blogspot.com
Published September 14th 2013
Cocktails, Jazz & a Taste of France
It's been awhile since I've been to the White Horse, a long while. I was invited to attend their newly refurbished Thursday night event. As the wind had picked up and it was chilly outside, the first thing I noticed was how warm and inviting the room was. The second thing was the Lychee Mojito on the cocktail menu, but that says something about me.
I was led to the table in the Le Bistro du Cheval Blanc and waited for my friends. The restaurant is just like a little bit of Paris - even the chairs are Parisian Bistro style. Fresh flowers, crisp white linen and candle light, make for a special evening. The restaurant is popular, so I recommend booking as it was full the night we went, and people had to eat at the bar.
There are still some very comfy looking lounges up the front and back of the room, so if you're just after some bar food or platers to share, I suggest you get in early and nab one of those.
There is even a roaring gas fire under a large gilt mirror, giving the room a really relaxed homey feel. Laidback sophistication is an apt description.
The wine list has a heavy French accent, though some local offerings also make the cut, though all quite reasonably priced. We went with a Cote du Rhone, which was fitting with the meal to follow.
We decided to order the Poelle de petoncles, crevettes et calamars - the pan seared scallops, prawn and squid served in the shell with minted citrus tapioca. While the citrus tapioca is an unusual flavour, it compliments the seafood and this entrée was deemed the pick of the evening.
We picked the Plateau de Chacuterie, which is one of the sharing platters - this is huge, and effectively meant we'd ordered 4 entrees between the three of us, which is really too much, even for gluttons like us. The duck terrine is the highlight on this antipasto board, but it is very rich and filling. These sharing platters are generous and perfect if coming for drinks, rather than a meal.
To follow we had the Saumon confit - a slow cooked salmon with sweet corn romesco, and crabmeat wrapped in cucumber. This was delicious and the sauce making an interesting taste combination with the fish.
There is a dessert menu with traditional French flair, but alas for us, there was simply no room, but we did linger over wine to enjoy the music.
The menu is good value, with entrees $11- $18, and mains $19 - $28. Given the atmosphere, and meal sizes, it seems like a steal. However, there is also an extensive bar menu, if you don't want a full restaurant meal.
The band is sensational. They start off slow with a chilled groove - perfect for dining atmosphere, then comeback to rock the house, with people dancing at the bar. The band is Cole Soul and Emotion featuring Lionel Cole (who is the very talented nephew of Nat King Cole, and has a fantastic voice that leaves little doubt to the pedigree). The music is familiar classics but orchestration is played with to give a great fresh sound. In the second set, some guest singers joined, as did a trombonist, bringing some brass to the mix, and really upping the tempo.
Come for the music, come to dance, come for the food - whatever your reason, you won't be disappointed. If you want a great evening out, that's offering a little more than a pub dinner at your local, the White Horse has definitely hit the right notes.