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

The Foley

We gave the kids several options of places to go for a half term lunch. Unanimously they chose The Foley in Claygate.

The Foley external

It’s a huge space with several dining areas, one enjoying a huge double sided fireplace. We sat in the largest room, which enjoys lots of light and a nice take on contemporary pub decor.

The Foley dining room

The separate bar area is charming, with a photo over the mantelpiece of the Queen pulling a pint. Best of all it has a few regulars that are a real treat. Marie enjoyed meeting 93 year old cravat wearing Len, a fine gentleman that’s a pleasure to chat with.

The Foley bar

There’s a multi-level garden area. Not much of a view, being wedged between the building, car park and hedge but still manages to be a pleasent space.

The Foley al fresco seating area

Blankets are in the entrance way for your use, what a great way to extend the al fresco season. You can also see that they are quite welcoming of four legged friends.

Service is friendly and quite jovial.

The Foley complimentary blankets

The menu is a pretty extensive gastro-pub menu, although we would have liked a few more lighter lunches & salads.

There was a menu item that ticked three of Marie’s must order boxes (butternut squash, beetroot and goat’s cheese) so she had an easy time choosing the Roast butternut & candy beetroot salad, rosary ash goat’s cheese crostini, rocket, basil, pesto, sun dried tomato, toasted pine nuts. £12.00

It wasn’t exactly what she’d expected, given it doesn’t look anything like a salad, but it was tasty.

The Foley butternut squash and goat cheese stack

Lynn had the same, but opted for the Add Smoked Trout £4. It wasn’t quite enough for lunch both ended up eating a lot of triple cooked chips off the chldren’s plates.

The Foley butternut squash & smoked trout stack

Child one went for a buger. Surrey farmed Aberdeen Angus topside beef burger, Young’s ale caramelised onion, butlers cheddar, rosebary salted hand cut triple cooked chips.£12.00 She gobbled the burger up and really enjoyed it. And us adults can say with confidence that these are some seriously yummy chips.

The Foley cheeseburger and triple cooked chips

Marie has lost the details for the soup! How did this happen? For shame, it shant happen again.

Child two says it was yummy.

The Foley soup of the day

Child #3 had a favourite of hers, Steak, Young’s ale & mushroom pie with puff pastry, mash, buttered seasonal greens £13.00 It was really good but the pie had a few too many onions in it. The greens were really nice.

The Foley steak and ale pie

Last but not least, child 4 opted for a sausage and mash, but substituted chips for mash.
Thyme & caramelised shallot pork sausages, whipped ptato, cristply onion & port jus £12.00 Reports were that it was very nice, especially those fabulous chips.

The Foley sausage and chips

And on to desserts, that are becoming increasingly difficult to resist.

Chocolate brownie, Jude’s vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate sauce £6.00 They sure don’t scrimp on portion size, could easily share with two or more. It’s very rich, this is one for chocolate lovers.

The Foley brownie

We also shared a dessert of the day, sticky toffee pudding, once more Marie has failed and lost the details. Again it was a big portion that could easily be shared. It was seriously sweet but the ice cream took the edge off.

The Foley sticky toffee pudding

The Foley is a very good contemporary gastropub. Decor, menu and food are all well thought out to bring you an enjoyable experience that will make you want to return again and again.

106 Hare Lane, Claygate, Surrey, KT10 0LZ
www.thefoley.co.uk
Car park
Dogs welcome in the garden and bar area.

Grill & Go

I was wandering in the Peacocks Centre food court. My daughter had rebelled against me and demanded a Sub, leaving me to sort myself out. Dejected, my spirits lifted when I saw the new Grill & Go.

Grill & Go opened in the summer. It’s the first Grill & Go location but the owner has hopes of franchising. It sells chicken. More specifically, 100% pure chicken breasts that have never been frozen. Chicken is grilled for maximum healthiness.

Grill & Go storefront

You can have your chicken on three types of bread – bun, pitta or wrap. Or no bread, in the form of chicken strips.

Marinade is where choice comes in. Choose from Mexican, sweet chilli, bbq, Cajun, tikka & chargrilled (plain?) Chicken is marinated for at least 24 hours.

I had the meal, which is £5.79 chicken + bread + salad or fries + drink. With the bbq marinade and pitta bread. I wasn’t feeling particularly healthy so ordered fries instead of the salad.

Grill & Go

It was nice enough. The sauce was tasty and it was a fat piece of chicken. The fries were pretty standard, I didn’t get to eat very many. Poetic justice saw my daughter drop her sub on the floor and she ended up eating my fries.

Grill & Go chicken pita

My favourite thing about the Grill & Go? Their poster that says, and I quote, “One customer has already said: ‘This has got to be Woking’s best chicken burger.’”

Peacocks Place Centre Foodcourt Unit 9 GU21 6GH
Three massive car parks to choose from (pay)

Chocolate Teapot

Hurry! You have one week to enjoy the utterly charming Chocolate Teapot in Esher before it closes on November 9.

Step over the threhold into the golden days. Although only opened approximately 4 1/2 years ago, the Chocolate Teapot is pure vintage charm.

Chocolate Teapot Tearoom Esher exterior

Tables are set with proper china, cute teapots adorn the shelves and Lace adorns the tables and windows. Music from another era completes the set, the smooth sound of big band played at a perfect volume.

Chocolate Teapot Tearoom Esher seating area

The owner, dressed as a traditional tea lady, provide lovely service with a smile.

No finishing touch is forgotten in creating this delightful time trip. I challenge anyone to visit here and not instantly relax.

Chocolate Teapot Tearoom Esher interior

The menu is a mix of hearty breakfasts (served until midday), light lunches and afternoon teas. Good news – they do takeaway so you can grab some before catching your morning train. There’s no excuses not to visit this week.

Delicious regular tea, so smooth and velvety it didn’t need any milk or sugar.

Chocolate Teapot Tearoom Esher tea

We both opted for The Chocolate Teapot Afternoon Tea Choose from cheese, ham, egg or tuna mayonnaise, prawn Marie Rose or coronation chicken with scones, jam and cream, a choice of homemade cake together with a pot of traditional tea £9.75

For our crustless sandwiches we chose tuna mayonnaise and egg mayonnaise. Dainty with good bread and a tasty filling.

Two adorable little scones each left us wanting more of them.

All cakes are made on site. Best chocolate cake ever, no exageration! Light and fluffy yet very moist and full of rich chocolatey taste. Carrot cake was equally moist with delicate flavours and delicious icing. I bet they didn’t have cake this good all those years ago.

If you’re looking for cake this is the place you’re hoping to find. Get them while you can!

Chocolate Teapot Tearoom Esher afternoon tea

Unfortunately The Chocolate Teapot is set to close next Sunday.

The owner’s Facebook message cites “…it is well known that parking is an issue, particularly in the week and, though we have tried many ways to find parking solutions, this has not been possible. As many of you know, we have struggled to maintain the property due to damp and so we need to close to have this replaced. Many of you also know that I am due to be a grandma in December. All things considered, I feel it’s time to take a break and so we will be closing the tearoom on Sunday 9th November 2014…”

We can only hope it isn’t a forever closure. In the meantime, get it while you can.

4 Station Rd, Esher KT10 8DY
Tricky parking (contributing to their looming closure, try the station lot.)

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.

Liebster Award

Gary Lum from yummylummy.com has very kindly nominationed us for a Liebster Award. I had to go research what that was. A Liebster Award is an award nominated to and from bloggers, to share things about ourselves and show support for fellow bloggers. If you’re unfamiliar with Yummy Lummy, it’s a recipe and restaurant review blogged based in Australia that features excellent photography.

Gary’s ten questions and my (on behave of the Ladies’) ten answers:

What’s the best meal you’ve ever cooked? My lasagna, made in North American fashion with cottage cheese and none of that nasty Bechamel sauce. It takes me hours to make but is always a hit.

What’s your favourite meal? Fajitas

What food makes you remember your childhood? Blueberries, and the endless hours spent picking wild ones. When in the region of northern Georgian Bay, we would drive along until a good potential spot was sighted – a high rocky bit with a clearing. Then, armed with the biggest bowls we had, we would find our way up the hill to inevitably to a clearing full of blueberry bushes. Every time I eat the cultivated store bought variety I think of how blueberries are supposed to taste.

What is your dream meal? A tasting menu featuring scallops, beetroot, balsamic vinegar, calamari, wild mushrooms, butternut squash, red peppers and venison.

What recipe are you planning that you’re excited about? Getting in my car and driving to a new restaurant.

Share something unique/weird about you in the context of food. I’ve eaten a termite, on safari in South Africa. It was straight from the nest and tasted of grass.

Name one food person who you admire and why? Mary Berry, I wish she were my grandma.

What is your favourite kitchen appliance and why? Microwave, because I always forget to take the meat out of the freezer to thaw ahead of time.

Name one technique or strategy that is working well for your blog right now. Twitter

Name one food related app or tool that you can’t live without. (For example, Instagram, Adobe Photoshop Express) A fork.

My nominees are:

fabfood4all.co.uk

inher30s.com

londonunveiled.com

theswfoodblog.wordpress.com

thechicmommy.com

deltiologydeity.wordpress.com

torontopubs.wordpress.com

shirleeandjaneeatsurrey.com

surreyedit.com

upanddowninsurreyandlondon.com

My nominees: Should you choose to accept, this is what you have to do next:

– link back and recognise the blogger who nominated you
– answer the 10 questions given by the nominator
– nominate 10 other bloggers for the award
– create 10 questions for nominees to answer
– notify your nominees

My ten questions are:

With a two course meal, would you rather have a starter or a dessert?
What’s the craziest restaurant experience you’ve had?
Do you recognise the superiority of pumpkin pie as a dessert?
If you could only eat one type of animal for the rest of your life, which would it be?
My friends were recently guests of honour at a dinner in Bangkok where they given shark fin soup, how would you have reacted?
Name a food you hated as a child but love now.
What is your favourite type of (world) cuisine?
Of all the places you’ve travelled, where would you least like to return?
How much time do you spend writing a blog post?
Name one technique or strategy that is working well for your blog right now.

Thank you all for participating!