Red Lion Shepperton

In another Sunday lunch outing with just my husband (no kids!) we headed over the river to test out the completely revamped Red Lion in Shepperton.

Red Lion Shepperton exterior

It’s not often you’re greeted by a beautiful display of fresh flowers upon entering a pub. That was the first clue we were in for a treat.

the Red Lion shepperton fresh flower display

New, enthusiastic owners have completely redone The Red Lion, from top to bottom.

The result is possibly the most current pub in Surrey. Fresh, stylish and modern but with original features and loads of character. It also manages to maintain a true casual feel.

The new version opened its doors on September 1st.

Red Lion Shepperton fireplace interior

The indoor pub area was perhaps my favourite room. It had such a great vibe and was unique and fresh feeling – not your standard stylish gastropub.

Red Lion Shepperton interior

On busier days they open the ‘snug,’ which is a room in the ‘other’ building, alongside the front patio. It’s bright but cosy and a calm space to relax in.

Red Lion Shepperton snug

The restaurant “room,” though nice enough, was my least favourite area of the pub (something’s got to be last place.) If I were to eat in the restaurant section I would specifically request a table at the front of the pub, in the restaurant area beside the bar (near the big fireplace pictured above.)

Red Lion Shepperton restaurant

A restaurant al fresco dining area (full table service) is nicely enclosed from the road.

Red Lion Shepperton al fresco restaurant seating

There’s an eyecatching outdoor pub seating area, though there’s no backs on seats.

Red Lion Shepperton outside seating

There’s a riverside garden along the Thames (across the road from the pub.) At the moment it’s the only part of the pub that hasn’t been redone however they have big plans for the space. In spring they are going to deck the entire area to create seating for 60, along with building a pagoda with an outdoor kitchen.

Red Lion Shepperton riverside dining area

The menu is changed daily. This means that the food is both interesting and fresh. It also means a smaller selection, which is generally fine though vegetarians may struggle.

Our service was very helpful and friendly.

We enjoyed our window seat.

Red Lion Shepperton river view

We didn’t feel like an entire appetiser each but were lured by the sound of the ‘cauliflower soup, with mushrooms & brioche £5.75‘ They suggested splitting the portion between us and served it to us in two cups.

It ended up being the perfect size. It was super yummy, the taste was enhanced perfectly by the mushrooms.

Red Lion Shepperton cauliflower soup

My husband had the ‘salt beef stovie with spinach, fried egg & mustard sauce £11.50.’ It was very tasty with a good mix of flavours and nice textures. It was a good lunch sized portion but he was glad he’d had the soup.

Red Lion Shepperton stovie

I had the beetroot & onion tart, caramelised goat cheese, apple & walnut salad £7.55. Technically a starter, there are a few ingredients I find impossible to pass up – beetroot and goat cheese are two of them – even if they are on the wrong course.

The pastry was so flakey it actually made a crunchy sound when cutting through. Everything about it was delicious. With the 1/2 soup, it was filling for me for lunch.

Red Lion Shepperton beetroot and goat cheese tart

Our food was fabulous and the ambiance was fabulous.

Move over Surrey pubs, there’s a new lion in town. If this sets the new standard for Surrey pubs we’re very excited indeed.

Russell Rd, Shepperton, Surrey, TW17 9HX
Small car park.
Dogs welcome outside and in the bar area.

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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

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.

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

Thames Court

Friday offered us some gorgeous weather so we headed to the popular Thames Court patio in Shepperton. Located on the tow path at the top of Shepperton Lock. Large car park.

The river at this point is very wide, almost giving the feeling of sitting on a lake. Which means lots of sun and a great feeling of openness – an excellent place to be on a sunny day.

Don’t be put off by the road, it’s very, very quiet.

Thames Court exterior

The patio is large, but the demand is larger. It can be a wait to get a table but there are benches to scout from. Lots more benches (with backs) are located further down if you only want to come for a drink.

The patio furniture is stylish and comfortable (no picnic tables here.)

Though the patio is busy, the vibe is very chilled out. Some people bring games and seem to stay for lunch and dinner. The staff never make you feel rushed to leave.

Thames Court exterior

Service is prompt but the queue at the bar to order food can be long and slow. The best strategy is to go early or at the lull between lunch and dinner.

On busy days food can take a while to arrive but on this visit it was with us almost immediately.

Ann had the bacon and brie melt, described as ‘melted Cornish brie, bacon and confit tomato in a crusty brown cob, served with seasoned chips.’ The sandwich was tasty enough on a nice bun. The chips were pretty standard pub chips, no seasoning detected.

Thames Court

Not much chance of eating healthy here, Marie compromised with BBQ chicken burger (soooo healthy.) ‘Grilled chicken breast topped with smoked cheddar, sweetcure bacon and BBQ sauce in a crusty cob, served with seasoned chips.’ Undercooked bacon and overcooked chicken but otherwise good.

Thames Court

Thames Court is popular for a reason. The location is fabulous and the prices very reasonable given the location. A visit to the patio, provided you get here early and get a table, is a highly recommended way to spend a summer afternoon.

Menu 3
Food 3
Decor/Ambiance 4
Service 2
Value 4
Total 16/25

Towpath, Shepperton, Surrey TW17 9LJ www.vintageinn.co.uk/thethamescourtshepperton
Dogs welcomed in the bar and garden

Thames Court Vintage Inn on Urbanspoon

Jolly Farmer Weybridge

Located in a residential area just off the Queen’s Road, the Jolly Farmer is a little end of terrace cottage. It’s teensy, with only 42 seats inside.

DSC_0782

Parking can be tricky as the council has gone double yellow crazy to punish the parents at nearby Manby Lodge Infant School. Which reminds us, don’t try to go during school pick up, traffic is a nightmare. You can usually get a parking spot at the cricket green a short walk away.

A traditional pub, you get the impression the décor hasn’t been changed in decades. There’s lots of stuff on the walls, beams in the ceiling and the tables are well worn. Unfortunately we couldn’t take a very good interior photo as so many people would have been clearly visible in it.

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On nice days there are some tables out front and lots of seating in the large, secluded back garden. It’s always a treat to find an outdoor dining area that isn’t alongside a busy road. (Unfortunately it was bucketing down when we visited.)

The ambiance is traditional pubby. It’s a bit cosy, but very jovial. We had a good laugh when the man at the table next to ours answered his mobile and said “I’m up a roof and can’t talk, call me back in an hour” then gave us a cheeky smile.

Plagued with problems in recent years, a husband and wife team have taken over the kitchen and put the Jolly Farmer back on track. They took over 9 months ago and run the kitchen as a separate business from the bar. The pub is once again becoming popular for lunch and a pleasant reawakening is replacing the old ghost town lunchtime atmosphere. These days people are even eating at the bar.

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It’s good home cooked food. The lunch menu offers up a staple of sandwiches and jacket potatoes plus an extensive specials menu.

Lunch is served everyday. Curry and chilli is served every evening. The Sunday roast is popular and is served until the food runs out – booking is recommended, especially when it isn’t warm enough to sit in the garden.

DSC_0793

Lynn had a roast chicken sandwich on granary bread from the regular menu. It came with a salad and coleslaw garnish. The chicken was succulent and overall it was an above average pub sandwich.

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Marie had the beer battered haddock from the specials board. It came with chips and peas. The batter was crisp and flavourful and the fish was really nice. Marie doesn’t normally eat fish and chips, it’s a wonder she ordered it. But she liked it and was happy with her choice.

You won’t be overwhelmed with lunching here, but it’s a solid choice for a local Weybridge pub lunch that won’t disappoint.

Service by the kitchen is good but the bar staff is a little green.

Dogs are welcome.

Menu 3
Food 3
Decor/Ambiance 3
Service 2
Value 3
Total 14/25

 
41 Princes Rd, Weybridge KT13 9BN
https://www.facebook.com/jolly.farmer.370?fref=ts
Dog friendly, inside and out

More info at All About Weybridge Jolly Farmer