The Refectory

As you may know, whenever I have a visitor from Canada I always seek out an extra impressive Surrey pub to take them to. On a hot tip, this time we headed to The Refectory in Godalming for an impressive lunch in a massive converted half-timbered cattle barn.

the Refectory Godalming exterior

Inside is simply stunning. Wood beams criss cross everywhere, there’s baby windows and balconies and either end of the building. This pub has the definite wow factor.

the Refectory Godalming interior grand restaurant area with half timbers

A bar sits in the middle, flanked on either side by the bar area and the restaurant area. There’s not too much difference between the two areas, one offers table service and the other allows dogs.

the Refectory Godalming half timbered bar area

It’s a Brunning and Price pub. Brunning and Price have several pubs in Surrey, including my very first post, The Mute Swan in Hampton Court. They do a great job at making each of their locations seem like an individual pub.

There’s an atmospheric patio area outside.

the Refectory Godalming outdoor al fresco seating area patio

We brought our doggie so sat in the bar area and didn’t have table service. However, all the staff we spoke with were very friendly and helpful.

The menu is broken into small sections that cater to a whole host of wants. Much of the menu changes seasonally. The Refectory’s menu has many interesting options, from pigeon breast to Sicilian fish stew (as well as some old favourites). We had a hard time choosing just one dish.

Except daughter two, who can always be counted on to order Pea and ham soup with cheese toasty £6.25.

the Refectory Godalming pea and ham soup

She also had an order of Garlic ciabatta £3.50 She enjoyed both of her dishes.

the Refectory Godalming garlic bread

The Canadian guest, my father-in-law, chose the Broccoli and blackstick blue cheese quiche with potato salad £8.95. The quiche was very tasty, he really rated it, and the potato salad was also very nice.

the Refectory Godalming blue cheese quiche

Jman had the Rump steak sandwich with fried onions, tomato chutney and a few chips £9.95. He reports it was good overall, the steak may have been a bit chewy but not too bad.

the Refectory Godalming rump steak sandwich

Daughter one had the Rare roast beef with rocket and horseradish on white bread £6.75. She reports it was very, very, very good.

the Refectory Godalming rare roast beef sandwich

My interest piqued, I settled on the Wild boar and chorizo meatballs in slow cooked tomato and basil sauce with creamy sage polenta £9.95. I loved it though I had to concentrate to notice the chorizo. The tomato sauce was super yummy and even the polenta was moreish.

the Refectory Godalming wild boar and chorizo meathballs with polenta

Each of my children ordered a dessert, that way I can eat some and keep my conscience clear.

Number two ordered my favourite, Sticky toffee pudding with apricot sauce and clotted cream £5.75. She suffered because I ate half of it, as it was so delicious. She needs to learn from her sister and order something I’m not so keen on.

the Refectory Godalming sticky toffee pudding

Number one selected the Chocolate and salted caramel tart with raspberry sorbet £6.50. I only had one bite of this, it’s not my thing but she loved it and ate every last morsel.

chocolate and salted caramel tart the Refectory Godalming

We loved The Refectory. It was good food in incredible surroundings. We’ll definitely bring the next set of Canadian houseguests to it.

Portsmouth Road, Milford, Godalming, GU8 5HJ
www.brunningandprice.co.uk/refectory
Large car park
Dogs welcome in bar area

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The Greyhound

I haven’t dont a post in a while. My camera broke and I was unsatisfied with the substitute I had. Finally I have my camera back and was eager to use it so the four of us plus one Canadian visitor headed out to The Greyhound pub in Thames Ditton.

The Greyhound pub exterior

An enthusiastic couple bought the pub two years ago. They removed the grim and uncovered some lovely original features – open fires, light wood panelling and a pretty set of doors. They’ve completely revamped the garden, turning it into a large al fresco seating area.

The inside is a bit of a reverse Tardis. I would recommend sitting near the bar to capture the ambiance, we were towards the back of the pub which was away from the action. Above all I’d recommend sitting in the charming ‘snug’ but this area is only open at peak business or for private groups.

The Greyhound Pub interior

Staff are super friendly. Food is prepared fresh onsite and menu options change seasonally. The menu is divided into small and big plates. Small plates are intended as appetisers and big as mains. There’s also a children’s menu, on which all options are £7.

From the small plate section we decided to share Camembert to Share with toasts and cranberry dip £7 as a starter. The pile of bread was enough to give everyone a nice amount. The cranberry dip was lovely.

The Greyhound Pub baked camembert

For mains, Daughter two had the Buddy’s Beef Burger: Served in a bun with chips, salad crudites and ketchup £7. She ate it all, which is saying a lot for that child, she never finishes anything. It wasn’t a small portion either, a good sized burger and plenty of food on her plate.

The Greyhound Pub kid's cheeseburger

Daughter one had Lana’s Chicken: Breast strips in breadcrumbs with chips and seasonal veg £7. It was good, she probably could have done with another piece of chicken but it was really nice to see a child’s menu item come with vegetables.

The Greyhound Pub kid's chicken bites

For mains, our Canadian guest had the British Sausages and Mash with onion chutney £11.50. We asked, British sausages are a pork based sausage from the local butcher. It was a good dish, nice and tasty.

The Greyhound Pub British sausage and mash

For his main, Jman selected the Crispy Chicken Breast with minted peas and crushed potatoes £12. A fair sized portion, the herb crust was flavourful and the chicken juicy.

The Greyhound Pub breaded chicken

I naturally wanted everything on the small plates menu and nothing from the large, typical. I decided on one small plate with a side. I chose the Chicken skewer, celeriac & apple salad, coronation mayo £6. It was a bit on the small side, for a small but the chicken was perfectly cooked, tender and juicy. The mayo was moreish and the apple coleslaw portion generous.

The Greyhound Pub chicken skewer with apple slaw

To turn my small plate selection into a meal I ordered a side of Triple Cooked Chips £3. They are Hand cut on site. I was dubious when they arrived, triple cooked chips are normally square not rectangular but one bite and I was sold. They were super yummy, more rectangular chips please.

The Greyhound Pub triple cooked chips

It’s wonderful to find a pub run by such enthusiasm independent owners where you’re guaranteed a warm welcome. I wish them best of luck with their venture.

Weston Green, Thames Ditton, Surrey KT7 0JP
http://www.greyhoundwestongreen.co.uk/
Street Parking
Dog’s welcome throughout the inside

Waggon and Horses

Eight months ago the Waggon and Horses pub in Surbiton underwent a major refurbishment and changed a Thai menu. My husband and I checked it out with a Saturday night dinner.

Waggon and Horses exterior

The front of the pub is divided between a bar with plenty of standing room and a large comfortable room with leather sofas and a large screen television.

Now I have to apologise for the next two photos, my camera didn’t cope well with the low lighting in the pub.

Waggon and Horses bar area

Go straight through the pub area and you are greeted with a short flight of stairs theatrically dressed with gold curtains. Through the curtains is the new Thai restaurant. A tented ceiling, wood panelling and Thai decorations create a superb dining room. It’s a charming, intimate space that’s suitable for a ‘date night.’

Waggon and Horses dining area

A real tuk tuk, three sided multi-coloured booths and lots of other cute embellishments make the Al Fresco dining area in back super appealing, though difficult to photograph after sunset.

Waggon and Horses outdoor seating area

The menu has all your favourite Thai dishes plus a few choices from other parts of Asia. All food is prepared fresh on site.

The service is friendly and welcoming. Manager Meena was able to offer plenty of assistance with the menu options.

We nibbled on Thai Spicy Prawn Crackers with Sweet Chilli Dip £2.50 before our meal.

Waggon and Horses prawn crackers

For starters we decided on a sharing platter, Kingfisher Platter Tempura Prawns, Thai Fish Cakes, Steamed Dim Sum, Sesame Prawn Toast, Crispy Salt & Pepper Squid with Sweet Chilli and Satay Sauce £12.95 We thoroughly enjoyed all of them, the little mystery dim sum was lovely and the squid was top notch.

Waggon and Horses starter platter

For mains Jman was immediately drawn to the five chilli pepper symbol beside the Infamous Jungle Curry with fresh Red Chilli, Bamboo Shoots, Green Beans, Peppers, Thai Aubergine, Holy Basil, Wild Ginger and Lime Leaf with Beef £8.95. At the bottom of the menu, diners are warned that the five chilli pepper dishes are “only for the brave.” Infamous and brave are apparently words he looks for in a dinner and he ordered it immediately. It arrived steaming hot.

I watched him eat, he drank quite a bit of water with it but naturally won’t acknowledge that fact now. He says it was spicy but not overly hot. However he did eat it all and enjoyed it, it had lots of flavour beyond just being spicy.

Waggon and Horses Infamous jungle curry

Naturally I wasn’t going to share in the five chilli dish so we elected not to share out dishes. I chose the two chilli pepper Bangkok’s famous Red Curry with Lime Leaf, Coconut Milk,Thai Sweet Basil, Peppers and Pineapple with Tiger Prawns £9.50. It was tasty, not at all heavy and filled with plenty of nice, fresh vegetables along with the tiger prawns.

Waggon and Horses Thai red curry

We also had a couple of side dishes. The Coconut Infused Rice £2.95 was noticeably coconutty (unlike many places) and not stodgy.

Waggon and Horses coconut rice

The Stir-fried Broccoli, Green Beans, Carrot and Mangetout with Light Soy Sauce £3.50 were great, perfectly cooked and we actually ate them all.

Waggon and Horses vegetables in oyster sauce

For dessert we elected to share the Lotee Sai Mapraw Warm Pandan Pancake with Sweetened Coconut, drizzled with Honey with Almond, Pistachio & Cardamon Ice Cream £5.50. This was a perfect dessert, nice and light, not too sweet and a great palate cleanser. It was a large portion and more than enough for both of us.

Waggon and Horses Lotee Sai Mapraw Thai pancake dessert

We really enjoyed our dinner at the Waggon and Horses. The decor and atmosphere in the restaurant is a notch above most pub dining areas and the food matches the surroundings.

Authentic Pub Co. is a small group of eight pubs, with other Surrey locations in Epsom, Sunbury on Thames, Hampton, Norbiton and Worplesdon.

Waggon and Horses, 1 Surbiton Hill Road, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 4TW
http://www.waggonandhorsessurbiton.co.uk/
Street parking.

We were guests of Waggon and Horses but this is no way biased my review.

The Olde Swan Chertsey

We set out to visit a cafe in Chertsey, but it was Sunday and when we got there the high street was a ghost town and every eatery we tried was closed. A little further along we noticed a pub with open doors. Ordinarily it didn’t look like the type of pub we would give a second glance to, however we were starved by this point so went inside on the off chance we’d actually decide to get lunch there.

The Olde Swan Chertsey exterior

Shocker, it was really nice inside. Trendily decorated with downpipe paint and eclectic furniture, including a dental chair and a billiard table, erm, table. It’s fairly small but there’s nice high ceilings and lots of light floods in through the windows. As if the space wasn’t inviting enough, the cheery woman at the bar immediately greeted us and we decided to stay.

The Olde Swan Chertsey interior

The Olde Swan Chertsey was recently taken over by McLean Inns, a small chain of seven pubs owned by two bothers and a friend, and they gave it a complete makeover in 2013.

In addition to the interior there are a few picnic tables in the parking lot for al fresco dining.

outdoor seating area The Olde Swan Chertsey

All food is prepared fresh onsite and cooked to order. The menu is modern and reasonably priced. As it was Sunday we opted for roasts though there were other Sunday options.

Jman went for the Topside of beef £9.95, served with peppered roast potatoes, fresh vegetables, a Yorkshire pudding and parsnip crisps. He really enjoyed it; lots of tasty gravy, lots of good meat, excellent roast potatoes and a big Yorkie. It tasted even better because of the great price.

roast beef The Olde Swan Chertsey

I tried the vegetarian option roast, mostly because I love butternut squash, butternut squash & chick pea roast £8.95. It seemed to be chunks of squash mixed with stove top stuffing and pressed into a cake, which wasn’t what I was expecting. However I happen to love stove top stuffing so wasn’t too disappointed. And those crispy parsnips on top were the bees knees.

Butternut squash roast The Olde Swan Chertsey

The vegetables came separately and were beautifully lightly cooked. Jman practically inhaled all that kale and then asked me what it was, naturally his interest fizzled out once I told him it’s a Hollywood thing.

kale, carrots and broccoli vegetables with roast dinner The Olde Swan Chertsey

This is about the best value roast dinner we’ve had in Surrey. We had a roast beef dinner for several pounds more the following weekend and they were pretty much interchangeable. The Olde Swan Chertsey is proof you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

27 Windsor St, Surrey, Chertsey, KT16 8AY
www.theoldeswanhotel.co.uk
Car park

Withies Inn

With yet another Canadian visitor in tow I headed off to Loseley Park in Compton. In need of lunch we got a local tip and headed down a random looking lane, emerging at Withies Inn.

Withies Inn exterior

I always love taking Canadian guests to old English pubs but Withies takes the cake. It doesn’t appeared to have changed, well… much of it seems to be exceedingly old but absolutely nothing save the loos has changed since the 1970s. I’m including the crockery in that statement.

Withies Inn wood carving

Dark, low ceilings, a giant fireplace, original ornate carvings. Even the menu and service are throw-backs. Female staff in black skirts and white blouses and Male in Black suit trousers, white shirts and bow ties.

Withies Inn internal bar seating area

There’s a small ‘proper’ dining area where you can choose from such dishes as grouse, half a roast duckling with orange sauce, steak Diane flambe, suckling pig, you get the gist. Perhaps surprisingly there are even a few vegetarian options. It’s not cheap though, Tournedos Rossini is £23.95 (don’t ask me, I’m far too young to know what that is). Reservations recommended.

Withies Inn dining room area

Upon arrival you’re greeted by a beautiful fairytale garden area that carries on around the side of the building.

Withies Inn outside area

There’s a mix of types of tables. You can get the dining area a la carte service to garden as well, complete with red chequered table cloths, very civilised.

Withies Inn civilised al fresco dining

We sat in the bar area, which serves sandwiches, jackets and several other more unique sounding dishes like Hawaiian Salad and Withies Pate.

Canadian guest number one decided to try the Ploughman’s Stilton £7.95. Really nice bread and a big chunk of cheese.

Withies Inn stilton ploughman's

Number two opted for a Prawn sandwich £6.75. It was quite enjoyable.

Withies Inn prawn mayo sandwich

I dithered a lot and then settled on the Chef’s own quiche £7.25. It was chock full of broccoli, which is my type of quiche because it wasn’t so egg heavy.

Withies Inn vegetable quiche

Do I love this place? Absolutely, where else do you get to time travel with your meal?

Withies Lane, Compton, Guildford, Surrey, GU3 1JA
thewithiesinn.com
Car park

Four Horseshoes

I got a hot tip from a mum at school about the Four Horseshoes in Chobham. A quick look at their website (a good precursor in both visual delightfulness and vibe) and it didn’t take me long to get myself down there.

It’s positioned on a triangle of green on the fringe of Chobham. True to its name, horses do indeed pitch up from the nearby equestrian centre and an application for hitching posts has even been made – talk about retro.

There’s a lovely large outdoor seating in front alongside the green as well as small enclosed patio seating are to the rear of the pub.

four horseshoes exterior

Four Horseshoes was taken over by a passionate independent owner in 2013. He clearly thought long and hard about what he’d want his venture to be and has successfully created a whimsical, welcoming pub.

Main dining areas are bright with well spaced tables. There’s oodles of delightful finishing touches, from the birdie lampshade to decorative coat hangers, not to mention the sumptuous toilets.

four horseshoes dining area

The bar seating area is cosier and complete with doggy water bowls.

four horseshoes bar seating

Crowning glory of all is a bar that looks like it’s made from disused kitchen units.

four horseshoes super cool unique bar

All food is made fresh to order and everything is prepared on site, save the bread and ice cream. Service is efficient and smiley.

The menus is predominantly pub classics with twists and flourishes that make them up to date and enticing. They have a nice two/three course lunch menu but would benefit from offering some lighter lunch bites.

Ann went for The Shoes ale battered hake, pea puree, triple cooked chips, tarter £12.50. It was tasty with skin on chips, yay! All chips should have their skins left on!

Fish and chips four horseshoes

Suffering from a deficit of green vegetables, I was in a serious salad mood. As there was only one (the horror!) salad on the menu my decision was easy. I had the Roasted sweet potato, goats cheese, pine nut, chilli balsamic, leaves £10.50. There was lots going on, including a some heat. I did quite enjoy it and it was filling, however I would have liked a more exciting dressing.

sweet potato salad four horseshoes

Ann has suffered from a sweet tooth lately and fell prey to the Sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce, rum & raisin ice cream £6.50. Naturally we shared it. Mmm, it was yummy with lots of ooey gooey toffee sauce.

sticky toffee pudding four horseshoes

The Four Horseshoes is a crackerjack of a pub, another in the growing group of next wave Surrey eating spots.

13-15 Burrow Hill Green, Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8QP
www.fourhorseshoeschobham.co.uk
Car park
Dogs welcomed in the bar area

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.