The White Horse was formerly known as the Broadgate Exchange, a bland pub serving unimaginative food and lowbrow drinks that paled in comparison to the City wine and Shoreditch cocktail bars that surrounded it. However, its remake in 2010 by the Geronimo gang has been remarkable. Out went the dull furniture and fittings; in came Geronimo’s version of an indie pub. Mixed and matched furniture, un-polished wood covers on the floor, floral wallpaper, and Victorian style black and white chequered floor tailing. When you overlay the extra touches such as cushions made out of coffee sacks (this impressed the Northerner) and a table made out of an antique door, you could almost forget you were in the City. But not quite.
Even though it was a Wednesday night, the place was rammed wall-to-wall with suits of both genders. Despite it being a wet and blustery evening that meant we could not try the outdoor patio area, the atmosphere was positively festive.
We started with the blue cheese & spinach tart with mixed leaves, and a salad of smoked duck, slow roast tomatoes & pine nuts. The former was creamy in texture with big, but not overpowering, flavours. The smoked duck in the salad was served rare and full of taste. For mains, we weren’t for the fish cakes, buttered kale and Hollandaise sauce and the duck confit. The fish cakes were American-sized, dwarfing the serving plate. They also looked a little over done on the outside, but were moist with the right mix of potato to fish (i.e. more of the latter). The duck confit was a little dry, and very much in the pub grub camp, but tasty nevertheless. From an extensive wine list, we opted for a bottle (and more, as it later transpired) of the Côtes-du-Rhône, J. Vidal-Fleury 2009, which was very drinkable, and at £22 a bottle, reasonably priced.
The White Horse team have done a good job here, and given what is a relatively soul-less part of the City a nice little bar, with a great atmosphere and decent food.
Perhaps I am doing it a disservice. It is much more than a commuter pub.