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.

Naturally Chinese Restaurant

Intrigued by Naturally Chinese Restaurant’s boasts of healthy Chinese food, my husband and our two kids visited for my second birthday dinner (I know, right).

Far beyond claims of no MSG, Naturally Chinese in Surbiton, set menus have been put together with the aid of nutritionists for feel good, detox and natural balance. There’s a huge number of vegetarian dishes as well as a large gluten free menu.

Naturally Chinese Restaurant exterior

Inside is huge. The back corner (pictured) is the most charming section of the restaurant. That big circular table in the corner under the huge light well is the prized place you want to sit, unfortunately our server wouldn’t let me sit there.

Naturally Chinese Restaurant interior

The menu is large and enticing, a mix of some standards and some more interesting sounding dishes. I would have liked more direction from our server in the way of recommendations but eventually we narrowed down our selections.

To start, Jman and daughter 1 shared the tasting platter with raw mixed vegetable salad, marinated chicken satay skewers, spare ribs in capital sauce, crispy prawn rolls, shredded chicken smoked with beechwood £17.80. I, of course, helped them eat it. One taste of the smoked chicken and it was impossible to resist going back for more.

Naturally Chinese Restaurant tasting platter

For starters, daughter two and I shared the Steamed dim sum platter crystal prawn dumplings, prawn and chive dumplings, spicy mixed vegetable dumplings, salmon dumplings with grounded peppercorns £11.20 (prepared on site). They were lovely and light with no shortage of flavour.

Naturally Chinese Restaurant steamed dim sum platter

In typical Chinese fashion, we shared several dishes for the main course.

I chose Chicken with shredded sweet peppers, spring onions and fresh chilli in satay sauce £7.90 This was absolutely delicious, the chicken was tender and moist and the flavours were great.

Naturally Chinese Restaurant chicken with shredded peppers in satay sauce

Jman chose a more traditional Crispy shredded beef £8.10. It might not have fit with my healthy Chinese restaurant choice but it sure was tasty.

Naturally Chinese Restaurant crispy shredded beef

Wanting vegetables for my family, I ordered Pak choy £6.40 stir fried in fresh garlic flakes. I was the only one that ate any. I love love pak choy and that’s exactly what it was.

Naturally Chinese Restaurant pak choy in garlic sauce

Lastly we had an order of Special fried rice £6.60 peass, shrimps and roast pork and chicken. Yep, very nice special fried rice with good quality ingredients.

Naturally Chinese Restaurant special fried rice

They did have some interesting sounding desserts but a birthday cake was waiting for me at home.

Overall I enjoyed the Natural Chinese Restaurant and would like to return for Dim Sum (they even run Dim Sum classes, if you want to make your own). It was definitely a cut above your bog standard Chinese.

59-63 Brighton Road, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 5LR
www.naturallychineserestaurant.co.uk/
Street parking

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

Henry’s Grill

As you may know, we are big fans of Henry’s Kitchen in Hampton Court, so we were very excited when brother Henry’s Grill opened on Esher High Street in November.

Henry's Grill exterior

It’s a large space featuring an open kitchen with a rotisserie charcoal grill. The décor is stylish urban, almost an industrial feel. Walls cladded in reclaimed wood cleverly remind you of the qualities of the food you are about to consume.

Henry's Grill interior seating area

Like Henry’s Kitchen, Henry’s Grill is a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (www.thesra.org), meaning Henry’s Grill takes eco and social issues seriously. Locally sourced food and materials, sustainably sourced fish, recycled and upcycled materials are used wherever possible, socially responsible in its treatment of staff, to name a few.

Dining here can make you feel good in supporting the ideals. Yet it would be entirely possible to eat here and not even be aware of their ethos, so don’t let it turn you off if you’re not that way inclined. The core of Henry’s Grill is great food – including lots of meat.

Every Tuesday is Brazilian Rodizio Grill night, offering unlimited servings of meat, carved from skewers right at your table.

Henry's Grill interior with kitchen

There’s live music on Fridays and Saturdays. In keeping with Henry’s ethos, young, local artists perform to diners, which often leads to impromptu dancing.

Service is excellent. Ann ate here with her family two weeks ago. When her daughter didn’t like her main, the waiter, passing by, picked up on it from the look on her face and then took it away and let her choose another one, something that’s hard to fathom in this day and age.

Henry's Grill bar

The menu is modern, with a big mix of cuisines. Italian, Moroccan, American, Mexican, Thai, Greek plus some classic British dishes make it difficult to choose. Of course this means Henry’s Grill is going to be a good bet no matter what you’re in the mood for.

Despite all the meat on offer, vegetarians are well represented with several dishes to choose from. I suspect even a gluten free vegetarian could find a thing or two.

Prices are reasonable, impressive given their ethos. Plus 50p from select items is donated to the local charity Shooting Star Chase.

We decided to share two starters. Always suckers for meze type dips, we went for the Hummus, tzatziki, aubergine caviar, guacamole, bread £5.45. The guacamole had some kick and was our favourite but all were tasty.

Henry's Grill bread and dips hommous, sour cream, guacamole and baba ganouche

Our second choice was the Falafel topped with goat’s cheese and caramelised onion £5.95. We’ve never come across falafels used as a base but what a great idea. Nice textures and not at all dry.

falafel with sweet onion chutney

For mains, Ann went for the Original burger, all burgers include lettuce, tomato, red onion & coleslaw in a brioche bun, served with chips £8.95. Actually she had this the first time she dined here but loved it so much she couldn’t resist having it again. And once again it didn’t disappoint. Good chunky chips, nice and crisp on the outside.

Henry's Grill burger on brioche bun

I chose one of my top five favourite lunches – Quesadilla toasted tortilla oozing with melted cheese, pico de gallo and one of the following delicious fillings: sweet potato & feta cheese or spicy chipolte chicken one course £7.50 Monday – Friday lunch and early evening menu.

Indecisive as always, they kindly offered to do half & half for me. I love sweet potato, initially I thought the feta with melted cheddar was weird but two bites in and I was sold. The chicken was juicy and tender and was very filling. A sucker for a quesadilla, I’d definitely order this again but still don’t think I could choose between the two.

The accompanying pico de gallo was stand out delicious. I would have been perfectly happy just slathering it on some toasted tortillas.

quesadilla chicken & sweet potato and feta

On to dessert. The dessert menu featured several tempting sounding offerings and we decided on sharing two. We managed to restrain ourselves from the chocolate fudge brownie, possibly by reasoning that carrot cake and apple pie sound like they count towards our five a day.

Apple Pie, a rustic Italian apple pie filled with apple pieces & crème patissiere. Served with vanilla ice cream £5.75. A satisfying tart of the European variety rather than the American kind. It was beautifully presented, as were all our dishes.

Henry's Grill apple pie

Carrot cake, a light carrot cake topped with delicious cream cheese & lemon icing $4.95. Mmm, this was moist and light as a feather with all the yummy flavour you’d expect in a carrot cake. Delicious.

carrot cake

We love everything about Henry’s Grill and genuinely hope it does very well in Esher. Go, support them and feel good about your eco and sustainable choice while enjoying a fabulous meal.

48 High Street, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9QY
www.henrysgrill.co.uk
Street or town car park.

We were guests of Henry’s Grill but this is no way biased our review.

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

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

Mezzet Dar

After Marie attended the Dar launch night on October 10th she couldn’t wait to return. The décor was charming and the menu enticing. Knowing the quality of food at sibling Mezzet, Dar showed promise to be a great new Surrey restaurant.

The Lebanese & Spanish married couple behind Mezzet and Dar come from two of the most renowned food nations on earth. Their first restaurant, Mezzet (our review), stayed true to his Lebanese heritage but new venture Dar is a fusion of the two, tapas style. To borrow from Ann’s American cousin, how awesome is that?

Mezzet Dar exterior

The interior is stylish with delightful finishing touches. We enjoyed sitting in the front room and watching the goings on in the street.

Front room interior at Dar

There’s a library room, which is a closed off space that would be perfect for evening or a private party. That’s actually Bridge Road in the old photo on the wall.

Library dining room at Dar

Bet you didn’t guess this photo is of the loo!

Beautiful Lady's Loo at Dar

They have an extensive cocktail list. Lynn & Marie tried the excellent virgin cocktails, shame we have kids to pick up from school so we couldn’t have non-virgin ones.

Service is very authentic, welcoming and efficient. The superb Chef and kitchen stall are Spanish, along with the waitstaff. The more intricate Lebanese dishes are made at Mezzet and brought to Dar, ensuring the highest quality of both cuisines on the menu.

virgin cocktails at Dar

The menu is all tapas or mezze small dishes. Which we love because we get to try so many different ones. Tapas isn’t know for being particularly vegetarian friendly, but the Lebanese influence means there are sereral non-meat dishes to choose from.

We started with highly addictive Brittle pistachios £3.00, tasty Cheese and olives £3.00 and Piquillo Hoummus £5.00 a blend of Piquillo peppers and a traditional Lebanese hoummus served with fresh bread. Beautiful texture and bursting with flavour, this is not your regular supermarket hoummus.

piquillo hoummus, olives & cheese, brittle pistachios at Dar

On to the mains:

Melon con jamon with a twist £6.50 melon on a bed of crispy Serrano ham with sweet pickled tomato . What stunning presentation. We though the twist would be standard menu speak but the flavours actually are surprising. Pickled tomatoes are a most unusual and genius addition to a classic dish.

Melon and ham at Dar

Moutabal and shanklish toasts £5.50 smoked aubergine puree with beetroot and walnuts crumbled goats cheese with za’atar spice and caramelised onions. Another exceptionally presented selection. Mmm, they may not be elegant to eat but they sure were tasty.

moutable and shanklish at Dar

Fouter saute £5.75 wild mushrooms served with a labneh quenelle. Lovely meaty mushrooms with a perfectly paired sauce.

fouter saute mushrooms at Dar

Vieiras con migas £8.95 pan fried scallops with chef’s soujuk crumbs and a parmentier sauce.
This is nothing short of heaven in a bowl. If there is any rivalry between the chefs at Mezzet and Dar, the scallops at Dar have the edge, which is no easy feat!

scallops at Dar

Broken harra £6.00 saute diced potatoes with spicy harra sauce, truffle oil and a quail egg. Bursting with flavour, including a good amount of heat.

broken harra potatoes at Dar

Though we’d thoroughly stuffed ourselves, one look at the dessert menu and we were sold. In a big way, we went for four of them!

Churros con chocolate £5.00 Spanish fried doughnuts with a cream chocolate. This caused a lot of giggles at our table. The popping candy doesn’t kick in immediately, allowing you to enjoy the flavours of the chocolate and the doughnuts. At first we kind of thought it didn’t do anything. And then we felt it dancing on our tongues. Great fun.

churros con chocolate at Dar

Torrija £4.50 Infused brioche bread, goldened in a pan and service with a fruit coulis. Nice, kind of like French toast but denser. It’s a bit heavy so save room if you plan to order this one.

Torrija at Dar

Baklava £4.50 a sweet layered pastry with almonds, pistachios and pine kernels. Made by the experts at Mezzet. It’s hard not to love properly made baklava.

Dar Baklava

Tarta de Santiago £4.50 Traditional Spanish almond cake served with vanilla ice cream. Exquisite. Impeccable. Ambrosial. Umm, apply any other ott adjectives you can think of. We hadn’t expected anything of this, almond cake sounds a bit meh, but it was seriously yummy. We fought over it and cannot wait to have it again.

Spanish Almond Cake at Dar

We LOVE Dar. Writing this is saliva inducing. It’s Marie’s birthday next week and of all the places in Surrey and London she’s choosing to go to Dar for her birthday dinner. That almond cake is going to make for a pretty perfect birthday celebration.

39 Bridge road, Hampton Court, East Molesey, KT8 9HA
www.mezzet.co.uk
Street parking or use overpriced car park at the train station.

We were guests of Mezzet Dar but this is no way biased our review.