The co-licensees for the last 18 months have been Jools Lemin and her brother Andy Tibbitt; the day to day running is down to Jools and her partner Dan. Jools started out with a host of plans, all of which seem to have been realised. She wanted the pub to be family friendly and it certainly is, helped by the huge garden with its children's play area. She wanted excellent food and the pub is now home to "Perfect Thai"; cooks Somnuk, Tui and Phaltoon are all vastly experienced (Phaltoon formerly ran the Sala Thong restaurant in Cambridge). She wanted an attractive pub and it has been fully decorated. Most of all, Jools wanted a friendly, welcoming community pub which appeals to folk from all walks of life and this has been achieved in spades, with a wide cross-section of customers enjoying the convivial atmosphere.

Another priority, I was glad to hear, was the real ale. The White Horse is a Greene King pub but full advantage is taken of the wide range of beers tenants can get from the brewery. On my visit, two Greene King ales, the inevitable IPA and the rare Morlands Tanners Jack were complemented by the delicious Batemans XXXB and Everards Original. Jools is very proud of her beers and says "my cellar is my baby". There had been problems with the beer being too cold but this has now been resolved by installing temperature control equipment in the cellar.

My visit coincided with the lounge being made non-smoking and it was noticeable that the clientele were all in the other bar! However Jools is confident that the pub will ride out the coming smoking ban (and a covered outside smoking area will be built). Other plans are to further promote the garden with events like Easter Egg hunts and a beer festival to coincide with Waterbeach Feast. Food events will also continue as will live music every 6 to 8 weeks.

Jools is very keen on the pub being a real part of the village. Produce is sourced locally wherever possible and the pub has adopted and is helping the local toddler group.

I was really impressed with this pub and Jools is clearly a real "pub person" (and has now also taken management responsibility for the Navigator, Little Shelford, another pub renowned for its Thai food). I couldn't help remembering my first visit to the pub, back in 1984, when it was a free house. There were handpumps serving IPA and Abbot and a sign saying "real ale served here" but the landlord gleefully told me that the beer was actually kept under carbon dioxide top pressure. "That would annoy that CAMRA lot if they found out" he said. I duly reported this in the next ALE and he wasn't best pleased! Anyway, no such shenanigans nowadays - you can be sure of good beer in a proper pub.

Paul Ainsworth