The Duke of Wellington East Horsley

Sunday Lunch and my husband and I decided to check out the new Duke of Wellington in East Horsley.

Current (independent) owners took over about 9 months ago and completely revamped the interior and the menu.

The exterior of the building is full of character, an old flint coaching house with lots of interesting detailing, the establishment dates back to 1541.

The Duke of Wellington East Horsley exterior

Inside is fresh and ecclectic with a touch of whimsy. This is a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously and has successfully created an appealling space to be in.

There’s a nice mix of proper tables and comfy seating.

The Duke of Wellington fireplace seating

A fake cow head is mounted over one of the fireplaces, pineapple wall sconces grace the bar area and one dining section is wallpapered with vintage collectable coupons are just a few examples of the fun.

The Duke of Wellington seating area

Another section is a smart dining area.

The Duke of Wellington dining area

There’s a yet another cosy seating area tucked away behind the bar. You can tell I liked it – I took so many photos.

The Duke of Wellington comfy seating

A mark of quality – the menu is fairly small with daily specials. The only Iron Duke here is their smoker, imported from the US. As you’d expect in a place with its own smoker, the menu is fairly meat heavey, howwever they do have a yummy sounding Sweet potato and cauliflower Aloo Gobi for vegetarians.

Service is friendly and efficient.

I quite like the wine in lock up.

The Duke of Wellington locked up wine

The outdoor dining area is filled with picnic tables, including an intriguing small covered area that looks like it was once a hermit’s hut.

The Crown Chertsey outside dining area

My husband could not resist the call of meat, meat and more meat so opted for the three meat (rib-eye of beef, hogget & ham) roast served with roast potatoes, roast veg + Yorkshire pudding £15.95. We learned something new – hogget, it’s not a wee pig but in between lamb and mutton. He wasn’t as impressed with it as he was with the super yummy beef. The rest of the dish wasn’t half bad either.

The Crown Chertsey three meat roast

Nothing really jumped out and screamed ‘eat me,’ so went for a fall back of mine – the fishcake – smoked haddock fishcakes, leeks and savoy, peas, liquor £12.50. Oh man, am I so glad I chose this, it was insanely delicious. Full of interesting flavours and textures and not heavy. I would advise that the single fishcake (£8.50) is sufficient for lunch.

The Duke of Wellington fish cakes and peas

The Duke of Wellington is another great addition to the Surrey pub scene. I particularly love the uniqueness of the decor. It’s definitely worth a visit.

Guildford Rd, East Horsley, Surrey, KT24 6AA
www.dukeofw.com
Large car park
Dogs welcome inside to the left as you walk in

La Capanna

Valentine’s Day! Normally something we’d stay home for, but in the interest of the blog we braved the sea of couples at La Capanna in Cobham for their special Valentine’s Day set menu. It’s a cute old 16th century cottage that I’ve long wanted to see the inside of.

La Capanna exterior

The evening started out interestingly, we entered, gave our names and sat with several other couples in the front room bar area, waiting for our names to be called, wishing we had a drink in our hands.

Once called we were led down a hallway, emerging unexpectantly into a large old barn filled with character. Top tip, request to sit in this area.

La Capanna dining area

We carried on through the room into another newer, pleasant room where we were shown a table. La Capanna is the very definition of a Tardis, and on this night all the tables were full. I so wished to see a lone diner or a table of three or even a family with kids, alas it was all couples, and heterosexual ones at that. From our attempts at peering out into the dark, it seems they also have an outdoor garden seating area.

La Capanna seating area

Staff were formal and friendly. There were a few issues with our service (no doubt down to the busyness of the night) but nothing a lemoncello couldn’t make better.

The Valentine’s set menu was two options per course, in total four courses and a glass of prosecco £70.

To begin we had Canapes – lobster & mandarin marshmallow, rice cracker with goat curd mousse & balsamic jelly, pork croquetta with smoked apple puree. All were intriguing and enjoyable.

La Capanna canapes

For his starter, my husband opted for the Crispy chicken wings with saffron oil & pickled monkfish. The chicken wings were tasty but he wished he had more, the monkfish was good but less exciting in comparison.

La Capanna monkfish

For my starter I had the Beetroot & cured citrus salmon, tartare mousseline & toasted rye Mmm, beetroot and salmon, two of my top favourite things in one dish. Obviously I loved every bite.

La Capanna salmon

On to mains, which came quite quickly, he had the Braised fillet smoked shin of beef, flame grilled fillet with swede & horseradish mash. It was tender, closer to medium than rare but very enjoyable. The mash was also very good.

La Capanna beef shin

It’s almost like the set menu was a his and hers for Valentine’s Day. I chose the Braised fillet of cod in red wine jus, creamed lemon couscous & battered squid. I’m not a couscous fan and was a little aprehensive about the dish but I was worried for nothing – the couscous was citrony fabulous. The cod was perfectly cooked and the batter on the squid was nice, though the squid (another of my all time favourites) itself wasn’t as good as the rest of the dish.

La Capanna cod

For dessert we both opted for the Chocolate layered cake with turron ice cream over the cheese. I don’t normally go for a chocolate cake, I generally like something a bit fruitier, but I never go for cheese (the other choice). It was tasty, particularly the ice cream, which had great flavour and texture.

La Capanna chocolate cake

A few days after our meal, I got an email link for a survey of our experience at La Cappana, clearly they take their business seriously and the effort shows.

The feel here is more formal, the surroundings, service and food make it a proper dinnner out experience. La Capanna is a great choice for a special occassion meal in Surrey.

48 High Street, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 3EF
www.lacapanna.co.uk
Small 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.

The Crown Chertsey

The substantial Victorian building of The Crown in Chertsey (which is definitely not reflected in the image) has long been on my most wanted list, finally I found myself in Chertsey at a mealtime and got to venture inside for some lunch.

The Crown Chertsey exterior

The large restaurant area is very up to date yet with many great features like the brick wall and the roaring fire/sofa seating area.

The Crown Chertsey dining area

The pub area is equally up to date, with beautiful old windows and a trendly colour scheme I want in my kitchen.

We elected to sit in the pub area, as it was so sunny and inviting. We played a bit of musical chairs to find the most comfortable seating but once settled we easily could have spent the afternoon.

The Crown Chertsey interior bar seating area

Outside in back is a sheltered and covered sofa seating area, complete with television and blankets. I have to say, I’m not sure I’ve encountered another like it.

The Crown Chertsey outdoor seating area

Service was largely absent though perfectly adequate, they appeared at the bar to take our order and again to deliver our food.

The bar menu was more exciting than your standard fare, with perhaps the most interesting sandwich selection I’ve come across.

Susie and I were both wavering between the same two sandwiches and so elected to get them both and go halfsies.

Our first was the Open classic chicken club £7.95., which was a French club rather than an American club. Though messy to eat, it was delicious and substantial.

The Crown Chertsey club sandwich with egg

Our second choice was the Char grilled pita bread with feta, red onion, cucumber and red cabbage coleslaw £5.95. It was tasty but definitely needed that sauce for moisture. We’re not sure it alone would have been filling enough for lunch.

The Crown Chertsey feta pita

Having both sandwiches combined made for a perfect lunch that was full of flavour and textures, in delightful surroundings.

We really enjoyed The Crown, and if anyone there can tell me the Dulux number of the dark grey in the bar area…

7 London Street, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 8AP
www.crownchertsey.co.uk
Street parking
Dogs welcome in bar area

Toronto

Home to my native Canada for Christmas, I thought readers might find a guide to Canadian eating useful or perhaps even a little horrifying.

Pretzel at hockey game

Firstly, Canadians love donuts. And I mean love. Other countries have coffee shops, Canada has donut shops that sell coffee. Donuts (Doughnuts until recently) come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. There’s the traditional donut with a hole in the middle, there’s the holes and there’s other shapes like the Dutchie (below right.)

Tim Hortons Christmas donutTim Horton's dutchie donut

Another form of the donut is the Beavertail, which is basically a funnel cake that’s shaped like, you guessed it, a beaver’s tail (the beaver is Canada’s national animal, so it’s a very patriotic treat.) Pictured is cinnamon and sugar topping and oreo topping.

Beavertails cinnamonBeavertails oreo

Popular treats that are unique and ubiquitous to Canada are the Nanaimo (na-nigh-moe) bar and the buttertart. Both are super yummy. I once made my sister bring me a slab of frozen Nanaimo bars in her suitcase to give me a fix. The base is chocolate, graham crumbs and coconut. The yellow bit is custard powder, sugar and cream. The top is just chocolate. The three combine to create heaven in your mouth. And a sugar rush.

The buttertart has a runny filling made of butter, sugar and egg. Sometimes raisins are mixed in. Simple but delicious.

Nanaimo barsbuttertart

Now the bit that seems to gross a lot of non-Canadians out. Poutine. Mmmm. Medium-cut chips, gravy and cheese curds. Yes that’s curds, as in ‘eating her curds and whey.’ Curd has a mild flavour but sasitfyingly spongey texture. It’s appealing because it doesn’t fully melt the way other warmed cheeses do, so you get bit of stringyness and a bit of texture. A heart attack on a plate but well worth it.

Poutine with great cheese curdsHarvey's poutine

Another unique Canadian food is Peameal bacon, which is the best bacon ever. It’s a back bacon that’s rolled in cornmeal and served thick cut. The fat ends up being crispy and the meat succulent. Drool. It comes in sandwiches and with breakfasts.

An added bonus for you, here’s a Canadian breakfast. It’s a little larger than normal due to the Christmas factor but one thing that is common in Canadian breakfasts is the potatoes. (Scrabled eggs, chopped grilled potatoes, maple syrup baked beans, toasted bun, peameal bacon, streaky bacon, vegetable thing, orange slice and tomato juice.)

Peameal baconCanadian breakfast with peameal bacon

Probably more a North American thing than just a Canadian thing (at least have never come across it in the UK) is the hot sandwich. Usually either roast beef or roast chicken leftovers, warmed up and placed on white bread than slathered in gravy. A classic. (Have you noticed how most of the chips have the skin on? Mashed potatoes with skin on are also common.)

Hot beef sandwichSwiss Chalet hot chicken sandwich

Two more things Canadians love- macaroni and cheese and dill pickles. Both now available in deep fried form. Canadians like deep frying stuff. You may be getting the picture that Canadian diets aren’t the healthiest. It may be due to the large Scottish heritage???

Deep fried macaroni and cheeseHarveys deep fried dill pickles

A quick mention of three things – 1) cider is not alcoholic, 2) Canadians put white vinegar on chips, though seemingly only available in the UK as a cleaning product. It’s better than malt vinegar in that the flavour stays long after it’s exposed to air and 3) (not pictured) tomato juice often comes combined with clam juice, yes, really.

Canadian apple ciderCanadian vinegar

A few iconic Canadian restaurant chains any traveller to Canada should visit:

Tim Hortons – THE donut shop, now also part of the Canadian Identity. Founded by a hockey player, it was spoofed in Wayne’s World. The largest food chain in Canada, they sell more than 500 million donuts a year. Over the years they’ve expanded their menu and now also serve muffins, pastries, croissants, bagels and soup & sandwiches. There’s definitely something for everyone and no trip to Canada would be complete without a visit to Timmy’s.

Tim Hortons exteriorTim Horton's chocolate glazed donutsTim Hortons 12 pack donutsTim Hortons muffin

Harveys – Canadian burger chain featuring flame grilled patties. You direct them in how to top your burger, more pickles is a popular request.

Harveys exteriorHarveys burger toppings

Swiss Chalet – A sit down chicken rotisserie restaurant that’s everywhere and has been around for yonks. Known for their dipping sauce, which is often the craving of many a homesick Canadian.

Swiss Chalet exteriorSwiss Chalet sauce

Sunset Grill – Originally the most popular Toronto all day breakfast spot, it has now gone province wide. Enjoy delicious all day breakfasts (though most would argue it’s not quite as good as it used to be.) The pancakes and french toast are superb.

Sunset Grillfrench toast and strawberriesCanadian pancakesDSC_4554

And lastly, because I was there for Christmas I thought you might be interested in seeing what a Canadian Christmas dinner looks like. As much stuffing as you can fit on your plate, pickles, tomato juice, various vegetables and, of course, pumpkin pie. And no Christmas would be complete without egg nog. You buy it in the dairy section and it is not alcoholic until you add your own (along with nutmeg.)

Canadian Christmas dinnerCanadian eggnogChristmas stuffingPumpkin pie

I hope that sheds some light on eating in Canada, and that if you ever travel there you promise to eat lots of donuts and at least try the poutine.

(Canada is a big place, and there are some regional differences, I was in and around Toronto, Ontario.)

The Queen’s Head Weybridge

Probably the most popular pub in Weybridge, yet for some reason I’ve only been once before. Finding ourselves in the area, we popped in for a quick lunch.

The Queen’s Head is a part of a small chain of pubs, The White Brasserie Company, that has 5 locations, including another Surrey location in Chobham.

Queen's Head Weybridge exterior

Inside is made of of several small rooms, that are partitioned off from one another yet manage not to feel detached or claustrophic. ‘Nice pub’ decor with lovely touches like the open kitchen. And very classy, you get real linen here.

Staff are chilled out and helpful. Our Friday lunch was bustling (hence not very many indoor photos) yet we didn’t wait long for our food to arrive.

Queen's Head Weybridge interior

Not to big, not too small, the menu is interesting and widely appealing. The set menu changes monthly.

Short on time we both had sandwiches. Mr had the hot sausage and red onion marmalade baguette £5.95 An impressive size and amount of sides for the price. It was tasty and very enjoyable. He even commented how good the salad dressing was.

Queen's Head Weybridge sausage baguette

I had the melted goat’s cheese, beetroot and walnut baguette £5.95. A bit awkward to eat but yummy. The cheese was thoroughly warmI would have preferred a bit more of the beetroot flavour coming through. Nice chips, not too fat, not too skinny.

Queen's Head Weybridge goat's cheese, beetroot and walnut baguette

I’m now kicking myself, why haven’t I been coming here more often? Lovely pub, good food, good sounding evening menu. I think we’ll be back soon for the three course set menu, only £14.95 for weekday dining before 6.30.

The Queen’s Head, 1 Bridge Road, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 8XS
www.queensheadweybridge.com
Small car park or street parking
Dogs allowed in pub area

The Foresters

Winning Time & Leisure’s best pub three years running caught our attention. We visited independly owned The Foresters in Hampton Wick during a busy Sunday lunch to see what the fuss is about.

The Foresters Pub Hampton Wick external

Entrance is via the bar area. It's a one of a kind space – a padded bar draped with a Union flag, mis-matched distressed furniture in a non-shabby chic way and a penchant for using empty wine bottles as candlesticks plus, most joyously, the upbeat sounds of 1930s jazz. The Foresters is boho hipster in pub form.

The Foresters Pub Hampton Wick bar

A cosy sofa corner with a roaring fire would far too easily become a spot you never leave. We resisted the temptation and carried on to the restaurant area.

The Foresters Pub Hampton Wick cosy seating

More quirky decor in the dining area, with a tented ceiling and chandelier. Exposed brick is always nice. None of that lovely music though, probably a good thing considering how many people there were.

Staff were cheerful, which was impressive given all the running around they were doing.

The Foresters Pub Hampton Wick dining area

The Sunday lunch menu had, well, roasts though there were a nice amount of sides and a vegetarian choice.

Mr went for the Roast rib eye of beef with Yorkshire pudding, sweet braised red cabbage, chantenay carrot, sautéed green beans and horseradish cream – £14.30 It was very enjoyable though the Yorkshire pudding was a little crispy.

The Foresters Pub Hampton Wick roast beef

He opted for one of the sides, the Cauliflower Cheese £4.00. It was nice enough but he would have preferred sharper cheese.

The Foresters Pub Hampton Wick cauliflower cheese

I had the vegetarian option, Roast butternut with rocket and pumpkin seed salad, ‘Foresters’ spicy cous cous, sumac and rosewater yoghurt £13.50. The butternut squash was insanely good. I could happily eat it every day, lots of nice flavours and perfectly cooked.

I’m not sure how the cous cous goes with the squash. Without some Lamb Tagine to give it purpose there was never much chance I was going to eat it. The rosewater yoghurt did have a nice flavour though.

The Foresters Pub Hampton Wick butternut squash cous cous

The single biggest thing you always miss out on when ordering the vegetarian option at a Sunday roast is the Yorkshire Pudding. Not a problem at The Foresters, they do them on the side. Yorkshire pudding £ 0.70

The Foresters Pub Hampton Wick Yorkshire pudding

It’s not difficult to see why The Forester has won best pub three years straight. The food and staff are lovely and the surrounds are unique and comfortable. The people of Hampton Wick are lucky to have such a fine independent pub on their doorsteps.

45 High Street, Hampton Wick, Surrey, KT1 4DG
the-foresters.com
Street parking
Dogs welcome in the bar area