Richard Onslow Cranleigh

A drive through the beautiful Surrey Hills brought us to lunch at The Richard Onslow in England’s largest village, Cranleigh.

The Richard Onslow cranleigh

Located in a neat building, parts of which date back 500 years, on the high street, the pub started life as a coaching inn. They still have ten hotel rooms, some of which are dog friendly – perfect for a weekend of dog walks in the surrounding hills.

The restaurant area is a delightful, I want to say Georgian, room complete with double aspect sash windows that let in tons of light giving the room an airy feel. I particularly love the super long double fronted banquette down the centre of the room.

main Georgian dining area The Richard Onslow pub

It’s a Peach Pub (their only Surrey location), a group of pubs that pride themselves on preparing all fresh food, seasonally sourced where possible from British suppliers. Menus change seasonally, as well as a good selection of specials. Service is super friendly and the vibe is relaxed.

To the left of the entrance is a charming pub area. It’s a contrast the the restaurant area, has a much older feel and comes complete with a working Inglenook fireplace and flagstone floors.

open fire in pub area The Richard Onslow
The entire building was completely renovated when Peach Pubs bought the property six years ago and feels current and fresh.

In addition to outside tables along the high street in front of the pub there’s also a dining area in the old coaching inn’s courtyard.

Court yard al fresco seating area The Richard Onslow

For lunch, Jman started with the Soup of the day, broccoli and stilton £5.25. He really like the croutons on the side concept, they were nice and salty and he could control how many we in the soup. The soup itself was good and nippy from the stilton, very morish.

broccoli and stilton soup with croutons The Richard Onslow

I started with the Free range smoked duck, almond, watercress & orange salad, quackling £8.75. I was surprised when it came, I thought I was getting little pieces of duck in a whole lot of lettuce, instead I got a big piece of nicely flavoured, moist duck with great orange flavours. The quackling was quacker jack.

smoked Duck salad The Richard Onslow

For his main, Jman chose, again from the specials board, Sauteed chicken, smoked bacon & mushroom sauce, Dauphinoise potato £13. The dish was full of flavour and the chicken nice and juicy. He was very pleased with his choice.

sauteed Chicken The Richard Onslow

For my main I had the Roast squash, spinach & barley wellington, vegetarian gravy £13.75. When I saw barley on the menu I immediately had to order it, it reminds me of my childhood. I’d always loved it then in the stews my mother made and it was a super treat to find it on a menu (having never noticed it on an English menu before.)

It was a unique vegetarian dish,interesting with lots of flavours and all round yummy, though I did wish for a bit more squash.

Vegetarian en croute barley and butternut squash The Richard Onslow

Despite the January pledge to watch our weight, we couldn’t resist sharing the Lemon tart, toasted marshmallows and a poached fruit salad £6 The other bits on the plate are white chocolate (the triangles and the ‘stick’) I felt like I’d stepped onto the set of Masterchef when the plate was set down in front of us.

We immediately cursed ourselves for not ordering two desserts (or three). We were expecting standard lemon tart but got something special. If passing through Cranleigh definitely stop in if only for dessert.

Amazing lemon tart dessert The Richard Onslow

The Richard Onslow serves up an impressive quality of food in a great old building and is definitely worth a visit. My complements to the chef.

113 – 117 High St, Cranleigh Village, Surrey, GU6 8AU
www.therichardonslow.co.uk
Street parking or town lots
Dogs welcome

We were guests of The Richard Onslow but this is no way biased my review.

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The Anchor Ripley

Mother’s day and of course my kids know I’d like nothing more than to go out for a meal. Unfortunately they’re too young to arrange this and so I took it upon myself to book us in for dinner at The Anchor in Ripley.

As seems to be the in thing these days, Michelin starred Drakes Restaurant acquired the centuries old pub in 2013 with a view to creating an unpretentious village pub.

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Inside is simply decorated, allowing the character of the ancient building to shine through. It’s made up of several smaller rooms, including a super cosy snug and a nice roaring fire.

The Anchor Ripley dining area

There’s also a courtyard with comfortable al fresco seating, not photographed as it was too dark, even darker than the food images.

Service is friendly but a little too relaxed, I like to linger over a meal but not over uncleared plates, hopefully this was down to the busy mother’s day rush.

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The mother’s day menu was all very tempting, which is how we ended up here in the first place. The set menu was two courses for £26 or three for £32 and was similar to their regular menu. Regular price mains range from £12-24 and there’s a set lunch menu of two coursese for £15 or three for 19.

I opted for a starter, the Beetroot salad, lemon dressing, pine nuts and goats cheese. I loved the assortment of beetroots and the pine nuts added a nice burst of flavour though I wasn’t convinced by goat’s cheese in grated form.

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For mains everyone but me chose the Roast sirloin of beef, Yorkshire pudding & fresh horseradish. In a blue and black or white and gold dress phenomena, that meat is juicy pink almost to the edges. The roast potatoes were amazing and the gravy was super flavourful.

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I had a tough time choosing my main, in the end went for the Slow cooked duck leg, mash potato, cabbage & licorice sauce. Most of this dish was lovely, unfortunately each bite of the mash was a mouthful of salt, I’m surprised it snuck out of the kitchen like that. Which is a shame as the rest of the plate was so nice, I especially enjoyed the licorice sauce.

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For dessert Jman had the Rhubarb & ginger custard, pistachio shortbread. As you can see, it was a visual delight, as if a cartoon had come to life. The taste wasn’t too shabby either, interesting flavours and textures made for an utterly enjoyable dessert.

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The Anchor building is magnificent and the Drakes have successfully created a comfortable pub with lots of charm. I’m hoping the slow service was down to our visit being on the busiest restaurant day of the year. And I will get to Drakes Restaurant, one day.

High Street, Ripley, Surrey, GU23 6AE
www.ripleyanchor.co.uk
Car park

Square Meal

Sedum Restaurant

Marie needed plants and Ann needed pots so, having exhausted the garden centres near us, we decided to try Chessington Garden Centre.

It was only late morning but Ann was starving and in desperate need of food. We’d never intended to lunch out that day. But needs must and Ann headed off for the garden centre cafe, joking along the way that we wouldn’t be getting a blog post out of this lunch.

That was, until we actually found the cafe. We were shocked, we’d never expected something so splendid.

Sedum Restaurant at Chessington Garden Centre

Laid out in self-serve stations, everything is beautifully displayed. Sweets were first, and looked heavenly.

Sedum Restaurant at Chessington Garden Centre

Marie wanted to photograph each of them but Ann, with grumbling tummy, pulled her along.

Sedum Restaurant at Chessington Garden Centre Colourful Meringues

The paninis were deliciously displayed open faced. We both ordered one.

Being not quite noon, some stations were still setting up – we learned after ordering our paninis that Thursdays are curry buffet days. This hurt Ann deeply. Curry is her favourite thing in the world and in her ravenous state her eyes nearly popped out of her head when she learned of it.

She kept looking at her sandwich and looking and towards the curry area, contemplating whether she should get both and save the sarnie for later.

But the fresh lemonade refocused her excitement (fresh lemonade!) and she decided to stick with the panini on condition we go back next Thursday for a curry (and more lemonade.)

Sedum Restaurant at Chessington Garden Centre fresh lemonade

The staff are super friendly and helpful. All of the food is prepared from scratch onsite, from the baked goods to the quiche. Ann, again, was wondering how she missed the quiche. Haste makes waste and poor lunch selections.

Cream teas are £4.45. They also do a full afternoon tea, with a special half price deal while Wimbledon is on – £15.95 for sandwiches, cream cakes and scones (all made on site.) Available from 3pm.

Sedum Restaurant at Chessington Garden Centre Scones

The seating area is huge and looks very new. The tables are nicely spaced and it’s very bright and airy. There’s also a patio.

Sedum Restaurant at Chessington Garden Centre

Best of all, there’s an indoor dog seating area (at least best of all for Marie, since she’s a dog owner.)

Sedum Restaurant at Chessington Garden Centre dogs allowed inside

It’s a shame we didn’t photograph our sandwiches before they were closed and toasted. Closed they don’t look like much, but they were very enticing when open. The garnish was a little old school but they tasted good. Marie had the tuna, which was, well, tuna. Ann had the tomato & mozzarella with basil and balsamic glaze.

Sedum Restaurant at Chessington Garden CentreSedum Restaurant at Chessington Garden Centre

Miraculously we escaped without getting any of the treats, which is good for our waistlines but Marie can’t stop dreaming about those meringues. No doubt her curry trip will actually be a sugar binge.

We were very pleasantly surprised by the Sedum Restaurant at Chessington Garden Centre. In fact, we were very pleased with Chessington Garden Centre all round. We have both decided to make it our go to garden centre, even though there are closer ones to our homes, and we will be sure to lunch there whenever we go.

Also open for breakfast.

Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey, KT9 2NG (beside Chessington World of Adventures)
www.chessingtongardencentre.co.uk/restaurant
Plenty of parking
Dog friendly – inside and out

The Black Swan Ockham

Summer weather + Sunday = Pub garden! We decided to test out the garden at The Black Swan gastropub in Ockham to see why it’s so popular.

Being a sunny Sunday the pub was packed, inside and out. Which created a good buzz but understandably made for a longer than usual wait for food and some overwhelmed servers. It wasn’t as issue for us but it caused some friction at the table near us as they were vying to get their order into the kitchen first.

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Located on a country lane lined with hedges and farmer fields behind. The pub has masses of space around it and feels very country pub.

Inside has a country chic pub feel. Different rooms have a different characteristic – from an open fire to a vaulted ceiling. It’s a lovely place to be in winter. Though even on this beautiful day it was fully booked inside. Reservations practically essential for inside.

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Lots of cute attention to detail.

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Outside provides roomy outdoor seating for a few hundred. It’s is a mix of outdoor sofas, outdoor tables & chairs and picnic tables. Arriving right at 12 meant Marie could save her back by securing one of the tables with proper chairs.

Yet there were hardly any umbrellas, we counted 9. With the sun bearing down it was a bunfight whenever one was freed up. After an hour and some keen watching we finally got one, but left considerably more pink than we’d arrived. Remember your sunscreen!

There is also a very good (young) children’s play area.

Two kitchens support the large outdoor space. The regular indoor one plus an outdoor kitchen with bbq that serves up ginormous burgers that actually come with sides.

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The menu is extensive even by gastropub standards. There’s also a reasonably large bbq menu on top of the normal menu. Yet there are only two salads, both listed under the starters with an option to have as a main. Neither of them appealed to us – crayfish or Oxford blue.

Ann opted for the ‘chargrilled swordfish, olive oil mash, grilled courgettes, roast tomato & gremolata. £16.50’ The fish was nice and the tomatoes insanely yummy.


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Marie had the ‘poached fillet of smoked haddock, spring onion potato cake, sauteed spinach, poached duck egg, with white wine mustard sauce. £14.50’ The mustard sauce was a subtly flavoured and the duck egg really pulled the dish together.

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Though stuffed we were intrigued by the ‘flourless almond & orange cake with orange sorbet £6.95’ (gluten & wheat free) so decided to share one. Mmm. It was super moist and delicious. Even the sorbet was outstanding and came perched on a piece of almond brittle. A truly superb dessert.

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We enjoyed our afternoon at The Black Swan in Ockham. The food, though a bit pricey, was lovely and the bustle in the garden made for a pleasurable time. It’s important to come with a leisurely meal in mind, bring your hat, sunscreen and enjoy your time at The Black Swan lazing in the sun.

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

Old Lane, Ockham, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1NG
blackswanockham.com/
Plenty of parking
Dogs welcomed inside and out.

Square MealBlack Swan on Urbanspoon

King William IV

To enjoy the beautiful Sunday weather we decided to test out the garden at the King William IV. Set on the slopes of Byttom Hill, near Box Hill just off the A24 between Leatherhead and Dorking. Public car park on A24 (outside Frascati’s restaurant) or rustic lane parking in front.

It isn’t immediately obvious where the pub is – when you turn off of the A24 keep left when the lane forks and the pub is on your right (look up!)

Please note that the pub is reached via steep steps and that the garden is terraced with small steps in several places.

King William IV

Opened in 1790, the King Billy has loads of character. The interior is smallish but cute with two fireplaces and a fresh cut flower on each table. It feels fresh without being another sterile white wall pub.

For indoor weather you’d be wise to reserve a table, ideally beside the big window in front to enjoy the beautiful views over the Mole Valley.

We should also mention that it has a particularly nice women’s loo, for any toilet tourists out there.

King William IV

The garden is the big draw to visit here. It’s nicely maintained and made up of small terraces with gorgeous views over the Mole Valley. Between the tiered seating and the table spacing you have great feeling of space and openness, even at full capacity.

Remarkably, while busy, the pub is not heaving with people like some lesser pubs in more prominent areas. When we arrived at noon we had our choice of tables, the outside didn’t fill up until after one. It seems this truly is a hidden gem.

Several walking paths run very near (and even alongside) the pub. The clientele seems to predominantly be ramblers and dog walkers.

King William IV

Service is very friendly, informal and plentiful.

There is a weekend bbq in the garden, weather permitting.

King William IV bbq

The menu sounds super yummy (nachos with beef slow cooked for 10 hours or slow roast shoulder of lamb, also cooked for 10 hours.) However the smell of the bbq was a bigger sell than words on a page could ever be.

Ann had the marinated steak baguette. The onions were soooo good.

King William IV bbq steak sandwich

Marie had the marinated chicken burger. It was perfectly cooked and super tasty.

King William IV bbq chicken burger

We opted to share a dessert, the “King William IV Teardrop,” apparently their signature dish. We don’t know why the king was crying but his tears sure are tasty.

Made completely on site, a chocolate case in the shape of a teardrop is filled with summer berries and Chantilly cream then topped with chocolate sauce and a raspberry coulis. Decadent is the only word for this treat.

(Sorry about the poor photo, we were in a rush to eat it!)

King William IV Teardrop dessert

The King William IV is a remarkably pleasant pub. Enjoying the views and the food in their garden is a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon.

We don’t know where to draw the line between pub and gastropub. We’ve ranked the King William based on it being a pub. It’s very nice whatever it is!

Menu 4
Food 4
Decor/Ambiance 5
Service 3
Value 4
Total 20/25

King William IV Byttom Hill Mickleham Surrey RH5 6EL www.thekingwilliamiv.com
Dogs welcomed in the garden

The French Tarte

We love The French Table so when Ann’s car needed an MOT in Surbiton we decided to lunch at its baby sister, The French Tarte. It’s snuggled up against big sister on the elegant Maple Road in Surbiton. Street pay parking.

Opened by the owners of The French Table in 2011, The French Tarte is a stylish cafe that bakes its bread, pastries and cakes on site every morning.

The pavement in front is broad with mature trees and provides a pleasant setting for some outdoor tables.

The French Tarte

Once we drooled our way past the display case full of goodies that greets you at the door, we took a seat at one of the marble topped tables. It’s a fairly basic interior but pleasant nonetheless.

The French Tarte

When we visited there was a nice amount of buzz, without it being overly loud or crowded.

Service is good. As a bonus we had a real live French waitress.

The menu features many interesting twists on the standard fare. In true European style, each menu item has two prices, to stay or take away.

Marie opted for a baguette with tuna, sweetcorn and wasabi nuts. It arrived cutely wrapped in a bow. The bread was lovely but the wasabi was difficult to detect. She got halfway through before remembering they were there. Overall at £3.55 (for the eat in price) it was worth every penny.

The French Tarte tuna baguette

Ann had the quiche of the day, vegetable and blue cheese. She wasn’t sure if that’s a garnish or a salad. It either needed more greens or a smaller plate. It tasted good, only a hint of blue cheese.

The French Tarte quiche

The treats on display were too tempting for our willpower. Everything looked so yummy we struggled to choose. In the end we elected to share an eclair and an apple & apricot tarte. Delicious! They really hit the spot as we were still a bit peckish after our mains.

The French tarte tea

If you’re in the neighbourhood The French Tarte is a great spot for breakfast, lunch or an afternoon treat. The residents of Surbiton (and now also Teddington) are lucky to have such a nice local cafe.

Menu 4
Food 4
Decor/Ambiance 3
Service 3
Value 5
Total 19/25

83 Maple Rd, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 4AW
www.thefrenchtarte.co.uk

Square Meal

The Mute Swan

Our first blog post! We may be new to blogging but we are by no means new to lunching.

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For our first review we chose The Mute Swan in Hampton Court. Located opposite the entrance to Hampton Court Palace, with pay and display parking out front.

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Upon entering we were immediately drawn to the spiral staircase. We settled on a table upstairs and loved the airy space with views over Hampton Court Palace and the River Thames.

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Staff were knowledgeable and polite.  There was no need to ask someone to come take our drinks or food orders. Our waiter was familiar with the menu and able to make recommendations. The drinks arrived almost immediately and there was a nice amount of time between ordering and the food arriving.

Lynn and Ann opted for the Pan fried king scallops with pea purée, crispy parma ham and caper and herb dressing from the starters menu with a tomato, rocket and parmesan salad and chunky chips for side dishes. In our excitement over the beauty of the scallops’ presentation, we completely forgot to take a photo of them. Instead they were quickly devoured. Along with a side bowl of some of the best chunky chips we have ever tasted – super light and fluffy inside and crispy on the outside.

Heavily influenced by the bright blue Mr Clucky’s Chicken Van we passed on the way to the restaurant, Marie’s menu selection was not as wise. She opted for the roast chicken and tarragon mayonnaise on granary bread, which wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t special.  Although the radishes in the accompanying salad were a delightful addition.

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Then we looked at the dessert menu. Mmm mmm mmm. We could not resist, we wanted it all. After much indecision we opted for two lemon and passion fruit meringue pies with warm berry compote and one hot waffle with caramelised banana, toffee sauce and salted caramel ice cream (they were happy to do substitutions.)  And this time we remembered to take photos.

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Sadly our meal came to an end. The décor and ambiance were so lovely we could have quite happily sat there all day.

The Mute Swan surpassed our expectations, it is definitely the best place to eat near Hampton Court Palace. We would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone, for dinner or lunch.  In fact Ann has already reserved to go back on Easter Sunday.

Menu 4
Food 4
Decor/Ambiance 5
Service 4
Value 4
Total 21/25

3 Palace Gate, Hampton Court, KT8 9BN www.brunningandprice.co.uk/muteswan