Michelin-starred chef to take on The White Horse in Eaton Socon

The White Horse, in Eaton Socon

The White Horse, in Eaton Socon - Credit: Archant

A Michelin-starred chef is set to take over the running of The White Horse in St Neots.

Mark Poynton, chef-owner of the Michelin-starred Alimentum in Cambridge, is to launch his second venture at the Grade II-listed building, Great North Road, Eaton Socon on July 6.

The 100-cover establishment underwent a complete refurbishment last year. The White Horse’s freehold is owned by Ei Group (formerly Enterprise Inns) and Poynton has a lease agreement of five years. He wants it to be family orientated, featuring bouncy castles in the garden all year round, weather permitting and also plans to host music and beer festivals in the summer.

“We want to be that sort of place that people go to once or twice a week rather than once a month,” Poynton told The Caterer magazine.

“We don’t want to be a destination diner, we want The White Horse to be somewhere people can visit all the time.”

The kitchen will be headed by Richard Rogerson who is currently head chef at Alimentum. Poynton is currently ‘in talks’ with someone who will potentially take over from Rogerson. Rogerson’s girlfriend Francesca Johnson, who grew up in the pub trade, will be running front of house.

The style of food on offer will be simple, British, pub food like steak pies, steaks, and line-caught fish which Poynton receives daily.

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Speaking to The Caterer, Poynton added: “We have been looking for a second site for about a year. We struggled to find the right place and what did find went from under our noses. We came across this one in January; it’s far enough away but close enough to not impact the Alimentum business.

“I know with Brexit everyone is a bit worried about the future, but if we don’t carry on as normal we are going to ruin it for ourselves anyway so we have to try and be positive. People are still going to want to go out drinking and eat food, that’s not going to stop.

“It’s nice to have something to take my mind off the fine dining. It all becomes a bit mundane because you’re doing the same stuff every day, striving for consistency. On a Saturday night we serve about 57 tasting menus and when you’re finished you’ve seen nearly 2,000 plates of food. It’s nice to have something different to work on.”

Poynton is also hoping that in the future, The White Horse can offer breakfast and make use of the five guest rooms.