Garson’s Restaurant Revisited

After attending the official launch of Garson’s Restaurant, I was so impressed and intrigued that I hurried back to see how it was on a regular business day.

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As I’ve just blogged about it so recently, I won’t regurgitate the same thing again, but you can read the details of the new restaurant on my post Garson’s Restaurant official opening/

Daylight photos give you a much better sense of the space, of the glass ceilings and the impressive central glass lantern. (Bizarrely in the photo it looks like half the lights are burnt out, but I promise they were all on.)

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In summer, the glass walls will fold back, blending the strawberry picking fields with the restaurant.

We visited on Sunday, probably arriving about one thirty. The restaurant was very nearly full. There was a nice background buzz but it wasn’t noisy, we could easily have a conversation and hear ourselves without having to strain, possibly because of the slant of the ceiling.

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Outside is still a work in progress, which will no doubt be finished in time for summer. The area overlooks the strawberry picking area and fields to the right. (I didn’t photograph them because the work being done didn’t make for a pretty picture.)

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There are tons of goodies to tempt you, for dessert or if you’re only coming for coffee.

All staff members we dealt with were cheery and friendly. A staff member was greeting guests at the door, to help people navigate the new restaurant. Tables seemed to be promptly cleared.

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Order at the central cash area then take your fancy gadget to a table, it sends a signal out so the waitstaff can easily find you (the wooden spoon of the 21st century.)

We were shock when our food arrived shortly after we’d ordered it. I’d barely sat down from nosing around when it came.

For lunch, Jman had the Hot steak & cheese ciabatta erved with sweet potato fries & house slaw £8.95. He loved it, the beef was really tender, good slaw and nice sweet potato fries.

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Being Sunday, I went for the Roast chicken & stuffing served with roast potatoes, carrots, green beans, Yorkshire pudding and gravy £9.95. Wow, I was really surprised at the quality of the food. Fresh thyme and even half a bulb of garlic was on my plate along with with food, and the flavours were definitely apparent. A real man sized portion, there’s no way I could have finished it. What excellent value for money.

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Garson’s Restaurant definitely didn’t disappoint in the daylight. It’s a lovely spot with a great sense of light that serves up great food. I most definitely be returning.

Winterdown Road,West End, Esher, Surrey, KT10 8LS
http://www.garsons.co.uk/
Dogs welcomed in designated areas (inside and out)

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Garson’s Restaurant

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the new restaurant at Garson’s Farm in Esher’s West End official opening. I don’t know if you’ve eaten at Garson’s in the past, but throw all those memories of boring out the window, this new restaurant is sure to become a destination lunch spot in Surrey.

Garson's Farm Restaurant octagon glass lantern

Housed in a brand new show stopping building, the octagonal room reminiscent of a city market, complete with art deco steel framework. Highlight is the raised octagonal lantern in the centre of the room, punctuated with a huge chandelier.

Only a small section of roof over the entire room isn’t glass. Retractable glass doors on four sides of the octagon fully open in summer, giving access to the patio and views over their fields down to the River Mole.

Interestingly, they’d laid 8km of pipes underneath their fields, and that provides geothermal heat for the restaurant and heats the water used in the kitchen and restrooms.

Garson's Farm Restaurant interiorGarson's Farm Restaurant inside dining area with sliding glass doors to fields

It’s a huge space. Inside, seating is a mix of comfy booths and traditional country style tables, broken up around the large space with accented seating areas of banquettes and mood lit tables.

Outside is a huge patio area for al fresco dining in warmer months.

We sampled a variety of delicious canapes.

Garson's Farm Restaurant canape spread

The menu changes seasonally. All food is prepared fresh onsite. Often using ingredients grown onsite and picked that morning. Most baked goods baked onsite, including scones and tray bakes. Even Scotch Eggs and some breads are made onsite.

What isn’t made onsite is sourced locally as much as possible (local bakeries, etc.) Meat is sourced form a local butcher.

We sampled miniature versions of several dishes form the menu, (fish & chips, macaroni and cheese, burger with stilton, beef brisket and mash.) They were all tasty, my favourite was the mac and cheese, it was nice and creamy with lots of flavour.

Garson's Farm Restaurant fish and chipsGarson's Farm Restaurant potted macaroni and cheeseGarson's Farm Restaurant beef and stilton burgerGarson's Farm Restaurant beef brisket

The menu offers an assortment of dishes, from salads (£6.95), sandwiches (£5.25-£7.45) and jacket potatoes (6.95-7.95) to full meals (£7.95-£9.75) and sharing platters (£11.25). Kids options are pick n mix lunch boxes (£4.55) and hot meals (£4.95).

Traditional Sunday lunches (£9.95), a selection of meats plus vegetarian option (can accommodate Vegans if advanced notice is given.)

Breakfast is served until 11:30, for which there’s a good selection to choose from, from a make your own smoothie bar (£2.95 adults) to a full farmhouse breakfast (£6.95 meat or vegetarian).

Order at the counter and food is brought to your table.

We sampled a few of the sweet treats, including a mouthwateringly delicious crumble.

Garson's Farm Restaurant browniesGarson's Farm Restaurant apple and berry crumble rubarb

Perhaps most exciting of all (for my Canadian guests anyway) is the Garson’s afternoon tea, three tiers of goodies, £12.95 for two people, or with prosecco £17.95 for two people.

There’s also a daily selection of all sorts of treats, displayed on the counter.

Garson's Farm Restaurant afternoon teaGarson's Farm Restaurant sweet treats, cupcakes

Unfortunately the local council won’t give them permission to open in the evenings so they close at 5.30 (4.30 in winter excluding Christmas) Monday through Saturday and 4.45 on Sundays (year round.)

I’ve got to say, I’m really glad I live ten minutes away and most definitely will be visiting. Even if you’re not so close, Garson’s is well worth an outing. I have every confidence the new Garson’s Restaurant will be a game changer for the local area.

Reservations accepted (and best advised if you have dietary needs – inform them ahead of time to be catered for.)

Winterdown Road,West End, Esher, Surrey, KT10 8LS
http://www.garsons.co.uk/
Dogs welcomed in designated areas (inside and out)

Castello

Esher has yet another new restaurant. Castello has taken on the old Piccolo spot. Having made big improvements to the site, they opened their doors on September 18th. Some of you may be familiar with Castello as they used to have a location in Old Shepperton, which they have shifted to Esher. It’s an independent husband and wife team and they have one other location in Windsor.

Exterior of Castello Esher

The interior is now all on one level and it works so much better. Décor is bright and cheery. When we visited it was packed giving a great bustling feeling but we still able to have a comfortable conversation without struggling to hear each other.

Staff are friendly and welcoming.

Interior dining area at Castello Esher

The regular menu is pasta and pizza as well as standard mains, including a steak section. A specials menu has several choices of starters, mains and desserts – it could actually pass for a full menu on its own. There’s also a £9.95 daily lunch menu that includes a glass of wine/beer.

All food is prepared fresh onsite to order.

To start Jman ordered from the specials menu, New Zealand mussles tipped with garlic butter and parmesan – finished under grill £7.50 They were massive, which he loved because it was less effort on his part. You know they were tasty because he was trying to shovel one into my mouth before I’d even picked up my fork.

Giant mussels at Castello Esher

I’m boringly predictable and obviously couldn’t resist the Calamari served with tartar sauce and leaf salad £6.50. Lightly battered and tender insides plus an actual salad instead of a bit of lettuce for garnish. This would make a tasty complete lunch, yes, I think I will…

Calamari at Castello Esher

In the interest of not duplicating dishes, for a main we fought over who got the daily special of Pan seared cod wrapped in bacon served with garlic crushed new potatoes, Mediterranean vegetables & Pinot Grigio cream sauce with prawns £14.95. He won. And he relished every bite.

Bacon wrapped cod with prawns at Castello Esher

I chose another dish from the specials menu, Pan fried seabass fillets with saffron risotto, courgette and minted yoghurt £16.50. I didn’t feel too hard done to in missing out on the cod. The fish was perfectly cooked with crispy skin. I couldn’t get enough of the courgettes and the risotto was nice and creamy.

Sea bass with saffron risotto at Castello Esher

As much as I was enjoying the food and ambiance, this hobby is making me fat so I elected to pass on dessert, despite some yummy sounding home made ones.

Castello sits well along other restaurants in Esher. It’s a smaller, more intimate family affair serving up great freshly prepared food and an excellent choice for a grown up meal.

10 High St, Esher, Surrey KT10 9RT
castellorestaurant.co.uk
Sandown car park is closest car park

We were guests of Castello but this is no way biased my review.

Albert Arms

Albert Arms is another one of those places I kind of knew it existed but didn’t really know much about it and didn’t clock that it was an option for dining out. When they invited me for lunch I was most intrigued, I hadn’t even realised they did food.

Better still, it’s an independent pub that has been in the same family for 40 years. There’s even a boutique hotel in the mews, who knew?

albert arm's esher exterior

You enter into a roomy space with a unique horseshoe shaped bar (a nod to nearby Sandown racecourse?). This is a pub that takes its beer very seriously. They’ve just won pub of the year for their area by the Campaign for Real Ale and this year they have pledged to served 200 guest ales.

The bar area is popular and gets very busy at peak times. But enough about that, we were here for the food.

albert arm's esher bar

There’s a sophisticated feeling dining area to the rear of the bar. It’s a Goldilocks size with lots of windows that create a nice, bright space. There were a good number of people in for lunch, which created a buzzy atmosphere.

albert arm's esher dining area

On the way to the roof terrace we discovered the location for our next mum’s night Christmas party, a private room that will hold all 50 of us.

albert arm's esher private room

There’s a cosy rooftop terrace that’s shielded from traffic noise by the front section of the building. It seems to be an afternoon sun trap.

Most impressive of all, meat is sourced weekly from their own farm in Somerset that raises rare breeds – Longhorn cattle, Gloucester Old Spot pigs and Black Leg chicken. The cattle live in a forest and dine on herbs and flowers, meat is then aged for at least 35 days which promises to give a completely unique flavour to their beef.

The Albert Arms clearly takes their steak very seriously and offers nine cuts of beef on their menu, along with several different types of sauce. Not that you need a sauce for steak this good.

albert arm's esher outdoor roof terrace

In addition to the steaks, the menu features more meats and several fish dishes, this is a carnivore’s paradise. There’s also a specials menu that changes frequently. Everything is cooked fresh to order and they will cater to any dietary needs.

Prices on the regular menu aren’t cheap but are in line with what you would expect to pay for this style and quality of food.

The Sunday Roast menu has a larger than average selection for a very good price – one course is £9.95. It also promises to be very child friendly with ‘table wide’ colouring competitions.

For starters, Bridget opted for the colourful Tricolore Tower £7.00 avocado, tomato and mozzarella with basil dressing. It was very fresh tasting with a lovely dressing.

albert arm's esher tricolore salad

I decided to order from the lunch menu, which is £7.00 for one course or £9.50 for two. For my starter I chose the Egg Florentine poached egg on a bed of spinach topped with parmesan shave. Wow, this was a Popeye portion of spinach and I certainly felt healthier for eating it all.

albert arm's esher egg florentine

We obviously couldn’t come to the Albert Arms and not have a steak. For her main Bridget had the 8oz fillet/tenderloin £23 with a Blue Cheese cream, stilton and parsley sauce £2.50 (The sauce comes served in a little jug.) The meat was incredibly tender, melt on your tongue yum. It’s amazing that a low fat fillet cut can be so flavourful.

albert arm's esher steak with blue cheese sauce

Steaks come served with a choice of potatoes but they were happy to substitute for a side salad. And what a big side salad it was, Bridget could only manage half of it.

albert arm's esher salad

For my lunch special main I selected the Baked cod fillet in Marinara sauce, sauce contains capers, black olives & cherry tomatoes. The fish was perfectly cooked and the sauce was just plain tasty. I loved every bite, and there were quite a few of those as it was a generous portion for a lunch serving.

albert arm's esher black cod

My lunch main also came with a choice of potato, naturally I went for the triple cooked chips. They were very good but I didn’t manage to get very far down the bucket. It sure was a whole lot of food for £9.50. I think this is one of the best value lunch menus around.

albert arm's esher chips

Despite my best intentions to be good to my waist and not order dessert, I couldn’t resist the tart of the week – chocolate and peach £5.00. Peaches, like scallops and beetroot, are another weakness of mine. This tart was yummy, more chocolate than peach but not too sweet.

albert arm's esher chocolate and peach tart

If you’re in the mood for steak, The Albert Arms is the place you’re looking for. Yet it offers much more, including great value lunch and Sunday roast menus. I am so glad I learned about it, my first visit most definitely won’t be my last.

82 High St, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9QS
www.albertarms.com
Town car park

We were guests of Albert Arms but this is no way biased our review.

Henry’s Grill

As you may know, we are big fans of Henry’s Kitchen in Hampton Court, so we were very excited when brother Henry’s Grill opened on Esher High Street in November.

Henry's Grill exterior

It’s a large space featuring an open kitchen with a rotisserie charcoal grill. The décor is stylish urban, almost an industrial feel. Walls cladded in reclaimed wood cleverly remind you of the qualities of the food you are about to consume.

Henry's Grill interior seating area

Like Henry’s Kitchen, Henry’s Grill is a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (www.thesra.org), meaning Henry’s Grill takes eco and social issues seriously. Locally sourced food and materials, sustainably sourced fish, recycled and upcycled materials are used wherever possible, socially responsible in its treatment of staff, to name a few.

Dining here can make you feel good in supporting the ideals. Yet it would be entirely possible to eat here and not even be aware of their ethos, so don’t let it turn you off if you’re not that way inclined. The core of Henry’s Grill is great food – including lots of meat.

Every Tuesday is Brazilian Rodizio Grill night, offering unlimited servings of meat, carved from skewers right at your table.

Henry's Grill interior with kitchen

There’s live music on Fridays and Saturdays. In keeping with Henry’s ethos, young, local artists perform to diners, which often leads to impromptu dancing.

Service is excellent. Ann ate here with her family two weeks ago. When her daughter didn’t like her main, the waiter, passing by, picked up on it from the look on her face and then took it away and let her choose another one, something that’s hard to fathom in this day and age.

Henry's Grill bar

The menu is modern, with a big mix of cuisines. Italian, Moroccan, American, Mexican, Thai, Greek plus some classic British dishes make it difficult to choose. Of course this means Henry’s Grill is going to be a good bet no matter what you’re in the mood for.

Despite all the meat on offer, vegetarians are well represented with several dishes to choose from. I suspect even a gluten free vegetarian could find a thing or two.

Prices are reasonable, impressive given their ethos. Plus 50p from select items is donated to the local charity Shooting Star Chase.

We decided to share two starters. Always suckers for meze type dips, we went for the Hummus, tzatziki, aubergine caviar, guacamole, bread £5.45. The guacamole had some kick and was our favourite but all were tasty.

Henry's Grill bread and dips hommous, sour cream, guacamole and baba ganouche

Our second choice was the Falafel topped with goat’s cheese and caramelised onion £5.95. We’ve never come across falafels used as a base but what a great idea. Nice textures and not at all dry.

falafel with sweet onion chutney

For mains, Ann went for the Original burger, all burgers include lettuce, tomato, red onion & coleslaw in a brioche bun, served with chips £8.95. Actually she had this the first time she dined here but loved it so much she couldn’t resist having it again. And once again it didn’t disappoint. Good chunky chips, nice and crisp on the outside.

Henry's Grill burger on brioche bun

I chose one of my top five favourite lunches – Quesadilla toasted tortilla oozing with melted cheese, pico de gallo and one of the following delicious fillings: sweet potato & feta cheese or spicy chipolte chicken one course £7.50 Monday – Friday lunch and early evening menu.

Indecisive as always, they kindly offered to do half & half for me. I love sweet potato, initially I thought the feta with melted cheddar was weird but two bites in and I was sold. The chicken was juicy and tender and was very filling. A sucker for a quesadilla, I’d definitely order this again but still don’t think I could choose between the two.

The accompanying pico de gallo was stand out delicious. I would have been perfectly happy just slathering it on some toasted tortillas.

quesadilla chicken & sweet potato and feta

On to dessert. The dessert menu featured several tempting sounding offerings and we decided on sharing two. We managed to restrain ourselves from the chocolate fudge brownie, possibly by reasoning that carrot cake and apple pie sound like they count towards our five a day.

Apple Pie, a rustic Italian apple pie filled with apple pieces & crème patissiere. Served with vanilla ice cream £5.75. A satisfying tart of the European variety rather than the American kind. It was beautifully presented, as were all our dishes.

Henry's Grill apple pie

Carrot cake, a light carrot cake topped with delicious cream cheese & lemon icing $4.95. Mmm, this was moist and light as a feather with all the yummy flavour you’d expect in a carrot cake. Delicious.

carrot cake

We love everything about Henry’s Grill and genuinely hope it does very well in Esher. Go, support them and feel good about your eco and sustainable choice while enjoying a fabulous meal.

48 High Street, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9QY
www.henrysgrill.co.uk
Street or town car park.

We were guests of Henry’s Grill but this is no way biased our review.

Chocolate Teapot

Hurry! You have one week to enjoy the utterly charming Chocolate Teapot in Esher before it closes on November 9.

Step over the threhold into the golden days. Although only opened approximately 4 1/2 years ago, the Chocolate Teapot is pure vintage charm.

Chocolate Teapot Tearoom Esher exterior

Tables are set with proper china, cute teapots adorn the shelves and Lace adorns the tables and windows. Music from another era completes the set, the smooth sound of big band played at a perfect volume.

Chocolate Teapot Tearoom Esher seating area

The owner, dressed as a traditional tea lady, provide lovely service with a smile.

No finishing touch is forgotten in creating this delightful time trip. I challenge anyone to visit here and not instantly relax.

Chocolate Teapot Tearoom Esher interior

The menu is a mix of hearty breakfasts (served until midday), light lunches and afternoon teas. Good news – they do takeaway so you can grab some before catching your morning train. There’s no excuses not to visit this week.

Delicious regular tea, so smooth and velvety it didn’t need any milk or sugar.

Chocolate Teapot Tearoom Esher tea

We both opted for The Chocolate Teapot Afternoon Tea Choose from cheese, ham, egg or tuna mayonnaise, prawn Marie Rose or coronation chicken with scones, jam and cream, a choice of homemade cake together with a pot of traditional tea £9.75

For our crustless sandwiches we chose tuna mayonnaise and egg mayonnaise. Dainty with good bread and a tasty filling.

Two adorable little scones each left us wanting more of them.

All cakes are made on site. Best chocolate cake ever, no exageration! Light and fluffy yet very moist and full of rich chocolatey taste. Carrot cake was equally moist with delicate flavours and delicious icing. I bet they didn’t have cake this good all those years ago.

If you’re looking for cake this is the place you’re hoping to find. Get them while you can!

Chocolate Teapot Tearoom Esher afternoon tea

Unfortunately The Chocolate Teapot is set to close next Sunday.

The owner’s Facebook message cites “…it is well known that parking is an issue, particularly in the week and, though we have tried many ways to find parking solutions, this has not been possible. As many of you know, we have struggled to maintain the property due to damp and so we need to close to have this replaced. Many of you also know that I am due to be a grandma in December. All things considered, I feel it’s time to take a break and so we will be closing the tearoom on Sunday 9th November 2014…”

We can only hope it isn’t a forever closure. In the meantime, get it while you can.

4 Station Rd, Esher KT10 8DY
Tricky parking (contributing to their looming closure, try the station lot.)

The Bear Esher

If you’ve ever driven through Esher, most likely you’ve driven past The Bear. A former coaching inn (it still has hotel rooms,) it’s conveniently located at the corner of the busiest intersection in town.

None of us had ever been, perhaps because of it’s busy location. For lunch #3 with my father-in-law, I decided to venture inside.

The Bear Esher external

The first thing you notice when you enter the building is the calmness. The roar of the traffic is blotted out as soon as the door shuts and you’re left standing in a surprisingly tranquil bar area. At least it was tranquil at lunch time, we can’t vouch for Friday evenings.

The Bear Esher bar

The inside is made up of several well appointed rooms that are tastefully decorated with a nod to tradition.

The Bear Esher internal red roomThe Bear Esher internal back room

An outdoor patio is alongside the Inn. It’s nicely done and is overlooked by an ancient looking church. However it’s beside the road and suffers from traffic noise.

The inside is such a lovely environment we elected to sit indoors.

The Bear Esher patio terrace for al fresco dining

We can not complain about the service. For lunch they serve the regular menu as well as a sandwiches & wraps menu.

FIL had the “Chicken club – free range chicken, bacon, tomato & mayonnaise £8.95.” It definitely looked good. The only comment was that the mayo was on the side so he had to take those layers apart to put it on the sandwich.

The Bear Esher club sandwich

I wasn’t terribly excited by anything on the lunch menu but in the end went for the “Chicken Caesar with anchovies and classic Caesar dressing £7.25.” Again it was beautifully presented. The anchovies weren’t mixed into the dressing, meaning some bites were overpowering anchovy and some were bland but it was still enjoyable.

The Bear Esher chicken caesar wrap

Our lunch was thoroughly pleasant and I’m kicking myself for not going before now. I’ll definitely be back.

Menu 3
Food 4
Decor/Ambiance 4
Service 4
Value 3
Total 18/25

71 High Street, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9RQ
bearesher.co.uk
Town car park
Dog friendly patio