THE devil is in the detail – and so is the delight.

It was the finishing touches that that made our meals at The White Horse in Otterbourne such a treat.

There was a feeling about the whole evening that an effort was being made – and one that paid off.

This started with the inn itself.

The restaurant area was distinct from the main pub and was laid out with lots of nooks and crannies, giving privacy to diners and a cosy feel.

With its low lighting and wooden floor, it had a subtly traditional feel, which is what I’m looking for in a pub restaurant, especially on a chilly evening.

I’d let the kitchen know in advance that I’m vegan and happily it wasn’t a problem – they marked up a menu for me with what could be adapted to suit my meat, fish, dairy and egg-free diet.

I started my meal with a big warming bowl of minted pea soup. The mint added delicate depth of flavour and it proved to be a good choice and great value at £5.

My boyfriend, who doesn’t share my vegan ways, started with a slightly more extravagant starter of scallops, which came with celeriac puree, black pudding crumbs, apple and vanilla at £9.

Whereas I’d gone hearty, his tasty dish was quite a light option – which proved advantageous to him when it was time for dessert.

I think I made the better choice for mains.

I had an amazing watercress risotto with walnut pangrattato – or to you and me, tasty crispy bits on the top - priced £10. The non-vegan version also comes with Rosary goat’s cheese.

It was filling and warming, with lots of subtle flavours and really moreish.

We also shared a side that managed to be extremely tasty and healthy at the same time: curly kale with lime, chilli and coriander, £3. You know the chef is good when you come away from a meal craving kale!

My boyfriend went for a huge and hearty but arguably less interesting option of Upton’s aged rib-eye Hampshire steak with triple cooked chips, slow roast tomato and peppercorn sauce, £21.

It was a good sized portion and the steak was well cooked, while the chips were divine.

My two courses had been pretty filling and while I wanted a dessert I knew I would regret having anything heavy, so I was delighted to be able to order a single scoop of a wonderfully sharp and sweet blood orange sorbet, £1.50.

Despite the large steak, my boyfriend opted for the chocolate brownie with salt caramel ice cream, £5.50. It was a generous portion and must have been extremely tasty as he polished the whole thing off, after two courses on top of a packet of Oreos in the day!

It was a lovely meal in a pleasant atmosphere with good service for a reasonable price. It was our first time at The White Horse. It won’t be our last.

  •  The White Horse is on Main Road, Otterbourne. Contact 01962 712830 or call