Baker Street Coffee House

Kids on sleepovers meant Sunday brunch for me, yippee. I was able to try out a place that’s long been on my list, Baker Street Coffee House in Weybridge.

Baker street coffee house exterior

The pavement tables are in a suntrap, making it a nice spot in boarderline weather. Inside the decor is simple, unpretentious and clean.

They have lots of free newspapers to browse.

Baker street coffee house seating area

Being a coffee house, they serve artisan coffee. As you may know, I don’t drink coffee so unfortunately can’t give a verdict.

Interestingly, Baker Street serves cocktails in the evening.

Service is efficient, which is good considering the bustle when we were there.

Baker stree coffee house counter and menu board

The menu is big enough to have some of the rarer choices without being a silly size. Lunch choices also look good, with sandwiches, paninis, jacket potatoes and some salads.

One problem with brunching here, they have scrumptious looking homemade cakes on display and it’s too early in the day to eat them, unless you want to breakfast Italian style. You can even pre-order whole cakes to “takeaway.”

Baker street coffee house cakes

My husband kept it simple and with a Bacon sandwich (add fried egg 50p) £3.95. The bread wasn’t the most exciting, but it was tasty and satisfying.

Baker street coffee house bacon and egg sandwich

I had my favourite brunch choice, Eggs Hemingway – toasted English muffin, smoked salmon, poached eggs and homemade Hollandaise sacue £7.50. It did not disappoint Holladaise sauce was thick and rich, could have been watered down a slight but but overall was good. A big portion (a larger than normal muffin), it was very filling, I was still full at dinnertime.

Baker street coffee house eggs Hemingway

A good brunch spot can be hard to find. Baker Street Coffee House may not have a plush interior, but the food is good. It makes for a nice, chilled breakfast spot.

34 Baker Street, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 8AU
bakerstreetcoffeehouse.co.uk
Street parking or town car park.

The Clink

Prison might not be the first place you consider going for lunch but it’s actually an option. The Clink restaurant first opened to the public in 2009, within the walls of HMP Highdown in Sutton. Anyone can apply to go, you simply fill in the form on their website.

The Clink is a marvelously named charity that trains prisoners in cooking, baking, waitering, industrial cleaning, recycling and horticulture, so the prisoners have a skill when they’re released.

The Clink Restaurant logo

Much of the produce used is grown on site, where is it maintained and harvested by prisoners training in horticulture.

They work 40 hours a week in an environment simulating a 4-5 star hotel and gain City & Guild NVQ qualifications. Prisoners trained at The Clink are mentored for 6-12 months after their release.

And what a difference it’s making. For graduates of The Clink, the reoffending rate is under 14% and is falling with each year the charity has been running. In 2012 (the most recent year there are statistics for), only 1 of the 88 prisoners released has reoffended. National average reoffending rates of prisoners is a tragic 47%.

The Clink restaurant prisoner training

When you drive into the prison area there’s lots of high fences and barbed wire. Follow signs to The Clink reception at the conference centre (right at the roundabout.) All electronics and liquids must be left in a locker. No cameras allowed, which hurt me deeply (all images courtesy of The Clink Charity.) Swap your photo ID for a lanyard and you’re ready to go.

Which is a strange, daunting feeling for a person that has never been in a prison before. We went through several locked doors and finally into the restaurant, where we were instantly back in our comfort zone.

The Clink High Down dining area

Despite only serving breakfast and lunch, it’s a very evening décor. Copper stonework lines one wall, substantial tables with comfortable seats nicely fill the room with a view into the kitchen. It’s a calm environment, perhaps thanks to the chromotherapy lighting. A glass wall is frosted with poetry written by prisoners.

There are some signs that remind you where you are. Plastic cutlery, glass tables (no hiding anything) and only soft drinks available.

There’s a display cabinet of the awards they have won, and there are plenty, including most recently the Surrey Life Food and Drinks Award ‘best local menu 2015′.

You can’t help but feeling you’re in a positive place that a) makes a difference and b) is a nice place to eat.

The Clink Restaurant table close up

We were met and seated by our waiter, who was professional and unobtrusive (and not at all intimidating.)

On our visit, they were serving the Christmas three course set menu £24.95. It was not adventurous sounding but each dish was very well executed and had elements that really made it stand out.

Firstly, I have to say that all our plates were beautifully presented, even John Torode would be pleased.

The Clink Restaurant food presentation

For starters Bella had the ‘Citrus cured salmon gravlax, compressed cucumber and lemon mayonnaise.’ It was a dense filet, more enjoyable than your standard smoked salmon. Compressed cucumber was interesting, a hint of vinegar and a nice complement to the salmon.

I, obviously, chose the ‘Goats’ cheese and red onion tartlet with pesto dressing and micro herbs.’ It wasn’t huge but had lots of yummy layers of flavours and textures.

All main courses are ‘served with saute Brussel sprouts and chestnuts, spiced red cabbage, maple syrup glazed parsnips and crisp roast potatoes.’

Bella had the ‘Roast English beef and Yorkshire pudding.’ What a treat, it was pink, beautifully cooked. The onion chutney had a grabbing spice and made the dish. It must be their signature as you can purchase jars of it. Everything was superb save perhaps the Yorkshire pudding, which could have been more moist.

The Clink Restaurant roast beef

I went for the ‘Traditional roast free-range Norfolk Bronze Turkey.’ It was tender and moist, which is pretty impressive for turkey. The roast potatoes were top notch, extra crispy outside and an inside that disolved on my tongue. I even ate the Brussel sprouts, for the first time ever. The parsnips were excellent. Everything was excellent.

Our mains were good sizes and easily comparable (perhaps even better) to any Surrey gastropub Sunday roast I’ve had.

For dessert Bella had a ‘Selection of local cheese with celery, grapes, fruit chutney and biscuits.’ It was impressively presented on a marble slab with all the trimmings. Heavenly.

I, despite eating my daughter’s HE version all week, chose the ‘Lemon cheesecake with spiced berry compote.’ Delicious, with an unidentifiable spice that was intriguing and added a nice depth of flavour. Could have used some more compote. I won’t comment on if it was better than my daughter’s.

The Clink Restaurant dessert

They also sell merchandise, naturally I bought a mug. The amazing onion chutney is also for sale. Items can also be ordered via their website.

There are now also The Clink restaurants in HMP Brixton and HMP Cardiff with hopes of opening 7 more plus they’ve just launched an event catering service, based out of Highdown.

It’s an interesting experience, a positive experience and excellent food. Go!

HMP High Down, High Down Lane, Sutton, Surrey, United Kingdom, SM2 5PJ
theclinkrestaurant.com
Plenty of parking

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.)