We last visited the White Horse in february, when we had a nice meal & reviewed it accordingly. Consequently we arrived for sunday lunch at 13.30 after a bracing walk with pleasant anticipation. Sadly they had run out of roast beef but the rest of the menu looked interesting & we opted for a recommended wine which was delicious. We had pork belly & clams to start. The clams were very nice but the pork was soggy & served with a raspberry coulis which was odd. My risotto was fine but the pork tenderloin looked as if it had been kept under a heating grill & was dry & rather chewy.
For dessert we decided on an assiette of strawberries (their dessert special) which comprised a strawberry pannacotta, strawberry eton mess and a strawberry sorbet. We had one to share and a cheeseboard for two. These duely arrived at about 14.30. We had not realised that the kitchen closed at this time (every other restaurant in Blakeney was serving food all day) but the staff began turning away a steady stream of people wanting to eat. The cheese board was a sight to behold. The manchengo & binham blue were dry & starting to curl at the edges & the brie had been cut allowing the ripe cheese to escape from the skin where it had dried up! These appearances were those of cheese that had been left out far too long. We were presented with the assiette of strawberries and told to "enjoy". The eton mess was made with raspberries, not strawberries & the sorbet was watermelon. Only the pannacotta was the genuine article. So we stopped eating & waited quietly for the waiting staff to return to remove the food, offer coffee etc... i.e. do the civilised things a customer normally expects when having a meal. Nothing happened, the staff had all gone off duty! We waited, stranded like the Marie Celeste, as other customers gradually left. A lonely barman kept glancing over at us but made no attempt to engage. After 45 minutes of this parody of hotel service I approached the barman and asked to see the manager. There was no manager on site I was told. So I threatened to leave without paying, whereupon the barman shot off to make a phone call & I was told a manager would come in at once.
The young manager arrived & asked what our problem was because we were disturbing her break! We explained the dry cheese and not-strawberry assiette. "Its not my fault its the chef's!" she said. I replied that it is the managers responsibility to ensure that the team being managed does its job. I presume that we should have been told the assiette was no longer available in which case we would have chosen an alternative dessert. Similarly, customers should not have been abandoned just because the kitchen was closed. No coffee, no one asking if the food was fine, no one removing the dishes. No apology & a management decision to charge us only for the drinks made with ill grace.
Contrast this with the situation at 23.40 when staff can be seen congregated at the bar having a well earned drink or a cigarette outside! (interestingly the staff at the other restaurants in Blakeney are all busy clearing up to get home).
This kind of attitude among staff is fundamentally unprofessional and has all the symptoms of poor leadership & management. We have been eating along the Norfolk coast for many years, long enough to know that individual restaurants wax and wane. Things at the White Horse appear to have changed for the worse since february and the market at this level is cutthroat (try for example Wiveton Bell, Dun Cow at Salthouse, The Anchor at Morston, The Globe at Wells and in Blakeney The Moorings & the Kings Head). Perhaps it is time to overhaul the team, as the holiday season winds down the catering transfer season opens up! Owners be warned!
While we were eating we saw customers arriving to check in to the hotel (this was done by bar staff...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback following your recent visit to the White Horse. Naturally it is always disappointing when a customer is less than happy and I am sorry that on this occasion we did not meet with your expectations . Having previously reviewed us favourably we must be able to take the rough with the smooth and on this occasion learn from your feedback and move forward positively.
Report response as inappropriate
Thank you also for pointing out the positive elements of your visit in this review .
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.