All-Round Smiles at The Black Horse, Kingston

22 Apr 2019

Cosy pub The Black Horse is situated in the lovely, charming Kingston (not quite as far away as the one in Jamaica, but pretty close), just a five minute walk from Norbiton station. A neighbourhood pub, The Black Horse offers an immediately warming feel, with the kind of smiles that can only be witnessed when venturing to Zone 6 and beyond.

Describing itself as cosy yet contemporary, The Black Horse is furnished with wooden tables topped with flowers, upholstered benches with multi-coloured pillows, a fireplace with ornaments on top (like a real living room) and quaint tree stencil candle holders. Classically comfortable and welcoming, the interiors are further lifted by a large blackboard that details special goings-on and an amusing anecdote with illustrations. The outdoor beer garden will undoubtedly be filled with G&T sippers throughout summer, especially because it’s kitted out with a ping pong table, boules pitch and a BBQ.

From a cheese and charcuterie platter (£10/£18) and a mezze platter (£9/£16) to duck liver parfait (£8.50) and crispy squid (£8.50), the starters are so comprehensive that one could be easily satisfied with a selection of starters alone. We chose the parfait and the squid. The former was served in a charming jar, topped with red onion jelly and served alongside toasted baguette slices. Cool in temperature and inoffensive to the palate, the duck liver parfait was sensuously smooth. The large strips of squid were a favourite though, not at all chewy like some squid is guilty of being, but soft to the bite and coated in light batter, lifted by large slices of fresh red chilli, spring onions and a generous squeeze of lime.

For our mains, my steak-loving Mother opted for the Native Aged Rump Steak with Hippo House Butter, Fries and Watercress (£21.50), while I was advised to choose from the specials and hence ordered a classic – Chicken and Leek Pie (£12). The rump was fantastic, an accomplished medium rare that was charred on the outside and perfectly pink when sliced. Flavourful and salted to the perfect level, its accompanying fries were side-lined in favour of the delicious piece of meat. My square-shaped pie was served atop mashed potato in a pool of gravy. With a distinct touch of sweet leek, the creaminess of the filling was offset by the crispness of the crust. Drench in the gravy to get the full effect: it was British fare in a bite.

Spending an evening in Kingston at somewhere cosy like Black Horse makes a Zone 2 Londoner want to pack it all in. Those aforementioned smiles are just lovely; so lovely that your Zone 2-corrupted mind almost becomes suspicious. What’s even lovelier is that there’s always a reason to go. From bottomless Saturday brunches to Sunday Roasts and wine tastings every third Tuesday of the month, a night at The Black Horse is, more often than not, ornamented with a sweet incentive.

Ashiana Pradhan

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