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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Three Horseshoes

On our way home from Star Wars at the Staines Vue, we popped into the Three Horseshoes in Laleham for some lunch. The pub has been on my want to visit list for some time. It’s Pearmain Pub, which is a group that burst onto the scene in Surrey over the past few years. (See Red Lion Horsell and The Old Plough.)

Three Horseshoes Laleham pub exterior

We arrived after 2pm and the pub was packed. We were lucky enough to find one available table in the bar area – the restaurant was full. Granted it was the Saturday after New Year’s but still you would be wise to make a reservation.

Three Horseshoes Laleham bar area

From outside it looks like a smallish house converted into a pub. Inside is a rambling series of rooms, some belonging to the bar and some to the restaurant. The rooms are stylishly decorated. The bar area we sat in was filled with fun a4 size retro posters relating to nearby Shepperton Studios.

Because the rooms are small, the noise level is not too loud but as they spill into one another you still get the buzzy vibe. You’d be hard pressed to find a better atmosphere, even in other Pearmain Pubs.

Three Horseshoes Laleham interior dining area

There’s a large outdoor patio.

Service is friendly, helpful and knowledgable.

Three Horseshoes Laleham outdoor patio

The menu is well thought out with something for everyone. All food is prepared fresh onsite.

We started with Olives £2.25 from bar snacks menu.

Three Horseshoes Laleham olives

We ordered a side of Calamari £4.75 from bar snacks menu. The calamari itself was divine. Well spiced, crispy coating on fat rings of squid. The dip was a little blah, I think it was just mayonnaise.

Three Horseshoes Laleham calamari

For his lunch, my father in law had the Beetroot houmous, avocado, carrot, sunblushed tomatoes & feta cheese on granary bread with wild mushroom soup £7.50. It was a lot of food for lunch, a large sandwich plus the side of soup but everything was really tasty. The wild mushroom soup of the day was particularly memorable.

Three Horseshoes Laleham vegetable and feta sandwich with mushroom soup

Jman went for the Crispy bacon, brie, fresh tomato salsa & spinach on granary with home cut chips £7.50. The chips were lovely, the salsa fresh and the sandwich very good. Probably more than good, he’s raved about this pub ever since. He also appreciated the notable selection of ales and he definitely wants to return here.

Three Horseshoes Laleham bacon and brie sandwich with chips

After an indulgent holiday season, I opted for Feta cheese, soya beans, butternut squash, broccoli, avocado, spinach & blueberry salad with garlic, lemon & yoghurt dressing, soy toasted seeds & nuts £9.95. I felt healthy just eating it, finally a day in getting all my five. Filled with many different ingredients, it was nice and varied though a shaper dressing wouldn’t have gone amiss but overall I enjoyed it.

Three Horseshoes Laleham superfood salad

I don’t think you can go wrong with the Three Horseshoes in Lalelam. It offers superb food in a wonderful atmosphere, and would be suitable for both a casual lunch and a stylish dinner with friends.

25 Shepperton Road, Laleham, Staines, Middlesex, TW18 1SE
threehorseshoeslaleham.co.uk
Car park (behind building, look for signs to the right of the pub)
Dogs welcome on the patio

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

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

Shepperton Wine Bar & Grill

I’ve been to check out the revamped, renamed Blubeckers in Shepperton for lunch. Ownership has stayed the same but the concept has altered.

Gone is the unmemorable old Blubeckers and what’s emerged is a fresh new dining and wining spot.

Shepperton Wine Bar & Grill exterior

The feel is certainly much nicer than it was. Presumably the wine bar element is to make it a little more upscale. White washed walls actually work in this space, as the building has tons of character without any help. Black & white photos on the wall are interesting.

It’s actually a sister pub of our first review, The Mute Swan though it isn’t obvious.

Shepperton Wine Bar & Grill dining area

We did find it a little perplexing that the desireable front room with the fireplace and the window wasn’t set for lunch.

Shepperton Wine Bar & Grill fireplace

A cute bar greets you at the door. Unfortunately they don’t have draught due to the cost of installing it with the thick concrete floor.

Service is youthful and enthusiastic.

Shepperton Wine Bar & Grill bar no draft

The menu is impressive, not too big, not too small. Think American classics with interesting twists and flavourings. Polenta even makes a few appearances. It’s easy to find more than one thing you desire.

He had the ‘crispy cod in beer batter with chips and crushed minted pease £11.75.’ It was very good, nice crispy batter. Unusual, tasty warm tartar sauce was the highlight of the dish (underneath the fish.)

Shepperton Wine Bar & Grill fish & chips

I had the ‘portobello mushroom burger, grilled portobello mushrooms stuffed with halloumi, lettuce, red onion, gherkin, chipotle mayonnaise and brioche £10 and corn salsa.’ with ‘polenta chips £3.‘ This was possibly the tastiest veggie burger I’ve had. Lovely textures and flavours with a bit of heat and a super yummy bun.

The chips were different with good spicing that certainly look good on the plate. Next time I’d prefer a mix of these and regular chips.

The corn salsa is cold (it’s an alternative to coleslaw.) It’s nice enough but there was far too much of it for me to finish.

Shepperton Wine Bar & Grill vegetarian burger

They have some pretty tempting desserts but we were far to full. With titles like ‘caramelised lemon tart’ and ‘red velvet cheesecake’ we will definitely have to go back to try one. Or two.

The Shepperton Wine Bar & Grill is another great new addition to the Surrey food scene. They’ve done a good job updating the feel while still preserving the character of the building. Though part of a chain, it definitely feels and tastes unique.

Church Square, Shepperton, Middlesex, TW17 9JY
www.homecountiespubs.co.uk/sheppertonwinebar
Car park in square opposite

The Crown & Cushion

I’ve decided I want to find Surrey’s oldest pub. The Crown & Cushion in Minley seems like a good candidate. At least a good place to start my search, with a family Sunday lunch.

Crown & Cushion front

The pub was built in 1512 and became an alehouse is 1596.

Crown & Cushion pub from 1512

As you would expect, there’s low ceilings, beams, open fires and, of course, rumours of ghosts. It’s teensy and very cute. A more modern atribute, there’s free wifi .

Crown & Cushion bar area

Rambling, laid back outdoor seating is on both ‘sides’ of the pub. The parking lot side is stuffed with flowers, and the backside overlooks a cricket green. There is a bit of noise, as the pub is on a busy road, but it’s not too bad.

Crown & Cushion al fresco dining area

Meade Hall located right beside the main pub and is quite cool. It’s an amalgamation of two 16th century barns – including timbers from the Spanish Armada. It is a huge medieval banquet hall and is largely used for events. I think it would be a perfect venue for a party. It’s old, it’s dim and there’s loads of flickering candles. I wish we had been there the previoius Sunday.

On Sundays Meade Hall is open to regular diners. Meade Hall will also be open to regular diners daily during some renovation work in the main building this autumn.

Crown & Cushion Meade Hall entrance

The atmosphere in Meade Hall is perfect for a rainy day or winter. We happened to be there the day the weather changed. It was beautiful outside, at long last. Yet through one of those weird reasons of momentum we ate inside, in the dark Meade Hall. Don’t get me wrong, we liked it, it’s just that after weeks of bad weather, we really should have sat outside.

Crown & Cushion Meade Hall interior

It was busy went we went, outside was bustling and both buildings had plenty of full tables, including a party of 14. As a result there was a bit of a wait for our food, which was understandable but it’s good policy to inform people of the time when the order is placed.

S went for the roast topside of beef, Yorkshire puding, roast potatoes & parsnips, homemade gravy, horseradish sauce served with fresh vegetables £12.95. That’s a familiar looking plate. It was a solid roast and as a nice touch, this one came with a cauliflower cheese (in the little white pot.)

Crown & Cushion Sunday roast

My daughters also went for the roast beef, kid sized £6.50. They reported that it was very good, and finished the plate clean.

Crown & Cushion Sunday children's roast

I had the roasted vegetables &goat’s cheese salad with honey & walnuts £10.95. When it initially came there weren’t a whole lot of roasted vegetables in it, but the friendly server quickly got me a little dish of them. It was tasty, the honey and cheese went well together.

Crown & Cushion goat cheese salad

The Crown and Cushion has lots of charm, as you would expect from a 502 year old building that’s been a pub 420 years. Now, to find out if there are pubs in Surrey that are even older…

The Crown and Cushion is a part of a small Surrey chain of pubs, Baron Pubs. They have four other pubs, in Thorpe, Leatherhead, Horsell and Warlingham.

The Crown and Cushion, Minley Road, Minley, Blackwater, Surrey, GU17 9UA
http://www.baronspubs.com/crownandcushion/
Car park
Dogs welcome on the patio

The Plough Effingham

A sunny Saturday and my family and I set out to yet another pub for an afternoon meal. This time we visited The Plough in Effingham, which is located on a quiet lane in the Surrey Hills countryside.

The Plough Effingham exterior

The pub was refurbished in 2013. Inside is homely and there’s an instant feeling comfort when you enter. Friendly staff make you feel welcomed and are not overbearing.

The Plough Effingham interior

Large windows let in lots of light. There’s no background music. Everything is spotlessly clean – no signs of grim. There’s simply nothing offending about this pub.

There’s a corner filled with books & board games. We placed ourselves at it and decided on a game of Scrabble.

The Plough Effingham interior bar

The Plough offers two choices for al fresco dining. In front there are several tables & chairs with backs. In back there’s a pretty garden with flowers and fruit trees and spaciously set picnic tables (no backs.)

The Plough Effingham garden

Fresh, home made food is what The Plough prides itself on. The menu changes monthly to offer seasonal products. There’s also daily specials for both mains and puddings.

Both my husband and I zeroed in on the same sandwich, Chicken, roast red pepper & smoked paprika mayonnaise £6.45. He had his on Ciabatta.

The Plough Effingham ciabatta sandwich

I had mine on fresh brown bread. It was delicious. As a tomato hater it’s so nice to get veg I like on a sandwich. I felt it the perfect size, but his wasn’t quite enough to fill him.

The Plough Effingham sandwich

Daughter #2 had the kid’s Bangers & mash £6.95 The gravy boat nearly made her squeal with delight. She especially loved pouring the gravy out the cow’s mouth, while making sounds that weren’t very appetising.

My husband helped her finish the sausages and was very impressed with them, they had beautiful texture and taste.

The Plough Effingham sausage and mash

Daughter #1, having helped herself to lunch at home without asking, only had a Side of Chips £2.95.

The Plough Effingham chips

We finished our meals but not our Scrabble game – a perfect excuse to order dessert! Plus we were quite content and didn’t want to leave The Plough.

We decided on three desserts, with an extra plate. The idea was for everyone to sample a bit of each.

First was the Bread and butter pudding with vanilla ice cream £5.65. This is The Plough’s most popular dessert and with good reason. I don’t generally like bread & butter pudding but this one really was yummy.

The Plough Effingham bread and butter pudding

Next, my weakness, Sticky toffee pudding, ice cream and toffee sauce £5.65. I was hesitant at the pie shape rather than the standard mess in a bowl, but this pudding was divine. Definitely dessert perfection.

The Plough Effingham sticky toffee pudding

The third choice was the Chocolate cookie & mousse stack with caramel sauce £5.65. I didn’t actually manage to try any of it (I was too busy stuffing my face with the sticky toffee pudding so I didn’t have to give as much away – is that so wrong?) The report was this dessert was also yummy, though not as good as the Bread & Butter pudding.

The Plough Effingham cookie mouse dessert

At long last we had to drag ourselves away from The Plough. The food here was wonderful and good value. The ambiance so comfortable we didn’t want to leave. It was the perfect place for our family meal.

PS/ my husband won the Scrabble, but only because I keep setting him up for the triples in order to selflessly open the board.

Orestan Lane, Effingham, Surrey, KT24 5SW
theplougheffingham.co.uk
Large car park.
Dogs welcome in the garden.