Riverside Restaurant

I love the view across the Thames from East Molesey, forget the beautiful bridge or the palace in the background, it’s the boats and the Cartlon Mitre building with the grand semi circle of windows jutting out over the Thames I adore. I’ve often wondered what it’s like on the other side of those windows and now I was about to find out.

Riverside Restaurant from across Thames

The Riverside Restaurant in the Carlton Mitre opposite Hampton Court Palace has a new chef and all new menu. I was excited to visit the restaurant for my birthday. The entrance is to the left of the main hotel entrance.

Riverside Restaurant entrance

We sat in the big circular room overhanging the river, it’s a room rich in wood and cosy lighting, plus one of the biggest rot iron chandeliers I’ve ever seen. A roaring fire and light music completes the atmosphere and make it a perfect setting for a grey winter’s ay.

Riverside Carlton Mitre interior

Outside a patio is tucked between the building, the hotel and the Thames. You could practically dip your toes in the water while you ate. This is one of the best riverside al fresco dining areas around, shame my visit was in November.

Riverside Carlton Mitre al fresco dining on Thames at Hampton Court Bridge

Downstairs is a brasserie with it’s own riverside patio if you are looking for more casual dining.

The restaurant also serves full afternoon tea, complete with divine homemade macaroons.

Riverside Restaurant macaroons

Service is friendly and sophisticated. The menu is modern English with a few twists. There’s lots of fish options and any dietary needs are catered for.

To begin we had Marinate olives with homemade bread, balsamic & aged olive oil £6.00. Our selection was (left to right) soda, Guinness and sun-dried tomato. One bite and we knew we were in trouble. The bread was outrageously good. Forget leaving room for more courses, we couldn’t stop eating it. The Guinness was my favourite, all malty goodness.

Riverside Carlton Mitre home made bread and olives

For starters, J man opted for the Soup of the day £5.95, which was Celeriac. He really enjoyed the soup once, it had a nice texture and flavour. Again was unable to resist eating the homemade bread.

Riverside Carlton Mitre celeraic soup

I started with the Beetroot marinated salmon, capers, watercress, lemon alioli, homemade brown bread £8.50. This is one of my dream dishes and it didn’t disappoint. I loved it, though to be truthful I didn’t dare taste the bread for fear of being unable to stop eating it. I gave it to Jman, who ate it, silly boy.

Riverside Carlton Mitre beetroot salmon starter

For mains Jman had the Whole roast plaice, samphire, brown shrimps, beluga lentils, anchovy & Chervil butter £15.00. I don’t know why he was surprised when it came with a head, it clearly says whole on the menu. Nevermind, once he got over it the fish was perfectly cooked, nice and moist and the accoutrements made it a tasty dish. Most important of all he was able to finish the whole dish after all the bread.

Whole place with samphire and brown shrimp Riverside restaurant

For my main I was intrigued to try the Duck ‘Shepherds’ Pie’, seasonal vegetables £13.50. Wow, I couldn’t believe the size of it when it arrived at the table. Even if I hadn’t stuffed myself with bread, olives and salmon there’s no way I could eat this American sized portion. You may think the dish looks big enough but it was packed full of duck, no mash filler here. The price per pound of food is a steal. As for the food itself, the duck was tender and delicious and the steamed vegetables were lovely.

Riverside Carlton Mitre duck shepherd's pie

It was my birthday and I wasn’t about to let a little issue like being thoroughly stuffed get between me and dessert. Still, I had to concede something and we opted to share a Riverside Fumble, peaches, vanilla custard & marscapone, granola crumble, £6.50. What a perfect way to end the meal, it was light and refreshing, a real palate cleanser and exactly my kind of treat.

Riverside Carlton Mitre peach fool

We throughly enjoyed our meal at the Riverside Restaurant. It’s a great option for both cosy winter indoor and sunny summer al fresco dining in Surrey.

Riverside Restaurant, Carlton Mitre Hotel, Hampton Court Road, Hampton Court, East Molesey, KT8 9BN
www.carlton.nl/mitre/restaurants-en.html
Small car park, can double park if you leave your keys with the concierge, also a few pay and display spots alternatively use the car park at Hampton Court station.

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

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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

Ye Olde Swan

Continuing with my quest of discovering Surrey’s oldest pubs, Jman and I decided the check out 13th century Ye Olde Swan in Thames Ditton.

It’s located right on the River Thames and before you go trying all those doors, the entrance is on the river side.

It’s part of The Old English Inns group, a very large chain made up of historic pubs and inns.

Ye Olde Swan exterior

Inside is a rambling place that seems to go on and on. There are at least four dining rooms, each with a good sized capacity. We chose to sit in the bar area, with nice old flag stone flooring and a great ancient fireplace (tucked away in the corner and so entirely missable.)

Ye Olde Swan bar

Choice seats are near the entrance, only a handful beside a wall of windows overlooking the river. This is a popular pub and you’d do well to nab one.

Ye Olde Swan best tables

The farthest room has a cosy vibe despite being a good size probably because of the exposed bricks and light coloured beams.

Ye Olde Swan downstairs dining room

There’s an upstairs dining area which is opened when the other areas are full. It’s not as characterful as the rest of the pub.

Not Sure I get a deeper sense of age from Ye Olde Swan, it’s old but somehow I was expecting older.

Ye Olde Swan upstairs seating

Outside is the really exciting bit. A large patio sits alongside the river with a mix of comfortable seats and picnic tables. Interestingly, they haven’t tried to cram as many tables as possible into the space so there’s a good feeling of space around each table. The only drawback is there’s an island offshore so the river isn’t very wide here.

Ye Olde Swan riverside patio

The menu is a fairly comprehensive chain pub assortment that’s guaranteed to have something for everyone plus daily specials.

We waited nearly 40 minutes for our food. When we asked where our food was the barman said ‘everyone came at once’, imagine that, being lunchtime and all. This pub has a very large seating capacity, it needs a kitchen to match. My tip is to get here early or come out of busy mealtime hours.

Jman decided on the ‘sharer’ Nachos covered with melted Barber’s 1833 vintage reserve cheddar, sour cream and chives, pico de gallo salsa and pomegranate seeds topped with hickory smoked beef brisket £7.99. Naturally he wasn’t interested in sharing any with me. He really enjoyed them, a nice mix of flavours and the pomegranate seeds were a snazzy addition.

Ye Olde Swan beef nachos

I had the daily special, scallops and bacon £5.99. I wish they’d had a fuller description of them, as they were quite impressive and surprised me when they arrived. They were on some sort of nicely textured pea puree and topped with crispy bacon and some sort of tasty green stuff. I loved this and in no way expected this sort of quality, especially for that price. My kudos to the chef.

Ye Olde Swan scallops

I had a side of sweet potato fries £2.49 to go with my scallops. I chose to eat all the scallops first since they are best freshly cooked. They had some sort of coating on them, which really caught the oil and I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get the taste out of my mouth.

Ye Olde Swan sweet potato fries

Ye Olde Swan is a solid pub and a particularly good spot for lounging by the river in the beautiful weather we’ve been having. And if scallops are on the specials menu order them!

Summer Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 0QQ
www.oldenglishinns.co.uk/our-locations/the-ye-olde-swan-thames-ditton
Small car park
Dogs welcome in hard floor areas

Busaba Eathai

The revamped Kingston-Upon-Thames riverfront is filled with restaurants that each offer superb views of beautiful Kingston Bridge.

We happened to be in the area and decided to lunch in Basuba Eathai, as we know the London restaurants are consistantly good and were eager to try Basuba’s first Surrey location.

Busaba Kingston-upon-Thames exterior

It would be amazing to dine on the patio on a warm, sunny day, alas it was a drab, cold day in November so we headed inside.

Busaba Kingston-upon-Thames  al fresco seating by river

A lovely bowl of floating flowers and candles greet you at the door, a nice cue to relax and enjoy your Busaba time.

Busaba Kingston-upon-Thames  floating candles, flowers

The dark wood interior is reminiscent of South East Asia. As in so many restaurants these days, the kitchen is open to the seating area. It’s a large space but the pillars section it nicely. There’s different choices of seating, from huge square 12 seaters to cosy tables with comfy chairs.

Service is very quick and attentive.

Busaba Kingston-upon-Thames  dining room

The menu is surprisingly large and has something for everyone, including lots of options for vegetarians.

We ordered a noodle dish each as well as a few dishes to share.

We shared the Thai calamari ginger and peppercorn £6.50. It was insanely delicious, really different flavours to what you normally expect in a calamari but not at all over powering. It was certainly the stand out dish of our lunch. Shame Marie didn’t manage to take a decent photo of it!

Busaba Kingston-upon-Thames  thai calamari

Another sharing dish, Phad pad French bean, broccoli, courgette, baby corn, cashew and pine nut £6.50. The veggies were fresh tasting and perfectly cooked, with lots of flavour, an enjoyable way to get your five a day.

Busaba Kingston-upon-Thames  thai vegetables

We also shared a Coconut rice £3.30, nice coconut taste and cute presentation.

You can see the real reason we were in Kingston…

Busaba Kingston-upon-Thames  rice

For individual dishes, Lynn and Clare both went for the Pad Thai rice roodle, prawn, dried shrimp, tofu, egg, peanut, beansprout and lime £8.40. Mmm, it was super yummy with great textures, exactly how you want Pad Thai to be.

Busaba Kingston-upon-Thames  pad thai

Marie decided to try the Pad Kwetio sen yahi noodle, smoked chicken, prawn and shitake mushroom £8.60 The waiter said it was the spiciest dish on the menu, Marie likes spice but not the spiciest, so she asked for less spice. In the end it didn’t have much spice but was tasty regardless.

Busaba Kingston-upon-Thames  Thai noodles

It’s wonderful to get Thai food in a proper, sylish space instead of an old pub or a blah takeaway. We’re very happy Busaba has come to Surrey.

4 Riverside Walk, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 1QN
www.busaba.com

The Old Plough Stoke D’Abernon

We went out for a Sunday lunch and got stuck in traffic. Unable to turn around because we’d find ourselves in even heavier traffic, we found ourselves at The Old Plough in Stoke D’Abernon.

The Old Plough is a sister pub to our beloved The Red Lion in Horsell. They belong to a small group of five pubs located around Surrey (plus one in Twickenham.)

The Old Plough Cobham exterior

Inside there are restaurant and bar areas. Both are nicely decorated and manage to project a relaxed vibe despite being packed.

The dining room is one large space rather than several little rooms.

The Old Plough Cobham interior

The garden and patio areas are lovely. Seating areas are spaciously set and there’s plenty of greenery. The patio circles a large tree, which create a unique setting. There are tables & chairs with backs on the patio and picnic tables in the garden area.

The Old Plough Cobham garden

They even have an actual old plough.

Service is friendly and very efficient. There are plenty of staff, which means short wait times to place your order and for your food to arrive.

There are some harmonies between the five locations, however specials are unique and are changed twice daily by each location’s chef.

The Old Plough Cobham the actual old plough

The Sunday set menu is a good deal, at two courses for £17.95 (including roasts.) However, it wasn’t clear that the roasts can be ordered on their own. My husband, not feeling hungry enough for two courses instead opted for a sandwich, but it turns out you can indeed order the roasts individually.

He chose the ‘Crispy bacon, brie, tomato & rocket served on granary with a small bowl of home cut chips £7.25.’ The sandwich was very nice and the chips were fine. He was looking longingly as roasts were brought out to other tables, particularly as they had the biggest Yorkshire puddings around.

The Old Plough Cobham bacon brie tomato sandwich

I had, from memory as unfortunately I can’t find my notes for the exact description, a piri piri chicken with a flavoured mayo and by the looks of it some rocket. It came “Served on ciabatta with a small bowl of home cut chips £7.50 The chicken was perfectly cooked but I was expecting some bite from the piri piri. It was enjoyable but not as good as my sandwich at The Red Lion (you’ll note I went for the chips this time!)

The Old Plough Cobham piri piri chicken ciabatta and chips

The Old Plough has undergone a few transformations over the past 10 years, finally it seems to have owners that have realised its potential.

Station Road, Stoke D’Abernon, Surrey, KT11 3BN
www.oldploughcobham.co.uk
Car park
Dogs welcome in the garden and in the bar area.

The Weir

Just as I got home from my feast at Roz Ana, my husband said he wanted to make the most of the beautiful weather and take his father out to dinner along the river. I am incapable of saying no to a meal out, so even in my sated state I found myself at The Weir.

We decided on The Weir as we know from past experience that we could go a little later (nearly 7) and still get a table.

The Weir Walton-on-Thames exterior

The pub is tucked away at the end of the lane behind Xcel Leisure Centre The patio is alongside the Thames towpath at Sunbury Weir. It’s lovely to sit and watch the boats go up and down the river, some docking directly at The Weir for a pint. We’ve even seen herons here.

All tables are picnic tables. There are ample umbrellas, as well as shade from the trees at one end of the patio.

The Weir Walton-on-Thames riverside

The Weir is a traditional pub. Meaning order at the bar, make sure you know your table number.

The menu is a classic pub menu with some unexpected additions (like salmon florentine.) There’s also baguettes, jackets and a good selection of children’s/light bites.

The Weir Walton-on-Thames internal bar

Inside is made up of different rooms, all with traditional decor. Interesting old photos of Sunbury lock and weir grace the walls.

The Weir Walton-on-Thames internal seating area

I’ve just realised I’m actually in this photo.

The Weir Walton-on-Thames internal seating area far room

My husband went for the 8oz handmade Weir burger char-grilled 100% Scottish beef served with chips & salad, with cheese £10.50. The chips were triple cooked and very tasty. He enjoyed the burger. His favourite thing about the Weir is the selection of ales and ciders on draught.

The Weir Walton-on-Thames cheese burger

Daughter #1 opted for the Lasange homemade lasagne served with side salad £8.95 (from the adult menu.) She wasn’t keen on the top, she felt it too stodgy.

The Weir Walton-on-Thames lasagna lasagne

FIL opted for the sausage & Mash handmade free range pork sausages & creamy mash served with gravy £10.50 He ate it, which I take it means he liked it.

The Weir Walton-on-Thames sausage and mash

Daughter #2, as usual, had the Children’s sausage & mash served with chips & peas or beans £5.50. She thought the sausages were good but that it had too much gravy. (Don’t know why the beans aren’t in the pic but she definitely had them.)

The Weir Walton-on-Thames kid's sausage and mash

Still happily full from my Roz Ana meal, I could only contemplate a side salad £3.50. It had a good amount of non-lettuce bits, as far as side salads go and was a decent size. Lots of red peppers and cucumbers (I’d asked for no tomatoes.)

The Weir Walton-on-Thames side salad

The Weir is a good traditional pub with a superb location and terrace. It’s a great option to wile away a sunny afternoon.

Menu 3
Food 3
Decor/Ambiance 5
Service 3
Value 3
Total 17/25

Waterside Drive, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, KT12 2JB
www.weirhotel.co.uk
Pub car park
Dog friendly inside and out

The Cricketers Downside

Lunch #2 with my Father-in-Law, this time with his sister as well. I knew they would love the Olde Worlde charm of The Cricketers in Downside, near Cobham.

I used to go here regularly when I first moved to the area, but eventually the food and high prices drove me away. New owners took over 3 or 4 year ago and rectified all that was wrong and I’ve finally come back to judge how well they’ve done.

The Cricketers Downside Cobham exterior

It’s easy to overuse the phrase ‘oozes charm’ but in this case the words truly are suiting. Roaring fires, nooks & crannies and low beamed ceilings are the perfect setting in drab weather. It’s cute and cosy and any other superlative you can think of.

There’s what used to be the more formal dining area, that’s now another room of the pub.

The Cricketers Downside Cobham interior dining area

The small size of the various rooms make it difficult to convey the charm of the bar area in a photograph.

The Cricketers Downside Cobham interior bar area

A large outdoor seating area is practically on the green, giving a great feeling of openness.

This happens to be at the ‘real’ front of the pub, meaning even outdoors you still get to enjoy The Cricketers’ charm (see image #1.)

The Cricketers Downside Cobham exterior patio terrace

As mentioned in our Surrey Eats For Kids article, The Cricketers is a wonderful spot for kids to run and play on the green while you enjoy the terrace.

If it’s how it used to be, I suspect the patio gets quite packed on beautiful sunny days so you’re best to come early to get a table.

The Cricketers Downside Cobham exterior patio terrace view

Service is cheerful and efficient.

All of the food is prepared fresh onsite. Though part of a group of six pubs, the menu varies with each location. With dishes like New York Strip and Caesars with anchovies and an assortment of burgers, the influence of the local American community is evident on The Cricketers menu. Not to fear, pub classics haven’t been left off but have been made up to date.

FIL opted for the ‘beef & horseradish sandwich £7.’ The beef was thick cut and pink in the middle. It looked delectable but he thought they were a little too generous with the horseradish for his liking.

The Cricketers Downside Cobham roast beef sandwich with chips

AIL went retro with the ‘prawn & avocado salad with cos lettuce and grapefruit £11.95.’ After getting a little extra dressing she loved it and ate every last bite.

The Cricketers Downside Cobham prawn avocado salad

I went for the ‘super healthy salad, feta, broccoli, butternut squash, avocado, spinach, carrots, toasted seeds and nuts with an orange and yogurt dressing £10.95.’ I love salads and this was salad heaven. Filling and substantial with lovely flavours and a good amount of every ingredient.

The Cricketers Downside Cobham healthy carot squash spinach seeds nuts broccoli avocado salad

The new owners really have done a fabulous job at reviving The Cricketers. The menu is up to date and the food well prepared. Once again The Cricketers will become a favourite stop for my overseas guests.

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

The Cricketers, Downside Common, Downside, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 3NX
www.thecricketersdownside.co.uk
Plenty of parking, there’s even a carwash in the lot.
Dog friendly inside and out.