Strada Cobham

I’d eaten at Strada in Cobham a few years ago yet wasn’t drawn back for a second visit. When they invited me to come for dinner I admit, I was a bit dubious. But big changes have happened.

Strada Cobham exterior

The hedgefund owners have sold to a passionate individual (Hugh Osmond, who famously floated Pizza Express). Upon taking over he said “The menu will be seriously up-dated. The quality of ingredients and food will be dramatically improved. And there will be a major investment in the premises, giving a very different ambience.” (more about the takeover) As part of the revamp, 43 of the 83 locations have been closed.

New improved Strada has wisely changed to using smaller, higher quality suppliers who make regular deliveries. Fresh fish arrives daily and beef is now raised on their own farm in Halifax. Everything is now prepared fresh to order

Strada Cobham internal

The interior hasn’t changed yet but the interior was never the issue. Décor is reminiscent of Mad Men, with lots of nods to mid century modern ideals. The space is huge – 140 covers – but broken into smaller areas that keep noise to an ideal level, not too loud and not too quiet.

It will be interesting to see what the “very different ambience” will be but it’s not know yet when Cobham will get the refurb. Regardless, it’s a easy space to spend time in.

Strada Cobham dining area

Having already undergone a menu overhaul, another new, smaller a la carte menu is expected in October. There’s also a set menu that changes monthly. It’s Italian, offering pastas and pizzas along with a good assortment of meat and fish dishes.

Service is friendly and efficient.

We started with yummy warm Garlic flatbread with rosemary £4.95 and some plump olives.

Strada Cobham rosemary garlic flatbread

We moved on to the mammoth Antipasti for two £12.95 Prosciutto di Para, Salami Napoli, speck, tomato bruschetta, rocket, buffalo mozzarella, artichokes and tapenade with a few additions for us to try-

crispy calamari (always a treat and this was no exception) and a Prosciutto Involtini Prosciutto di Parma, rocket, mozzarella and sticky balsamic (front corner). I’d never had a cold Involtini but I loved it, as a non tomato eater it was such a treat! It’s currently available on the set menu, and I highly recommend it as a starter.

The antipasti platter itself was feast, full of fresh tasting goodies and more than enough for two people.

Strada Cobham antipasta for two

For our next course the lovely, passionate manager brought us an assortment of dishes to sample:

(Front) Risotto Primavera (vegetarian & gluten free) £11.75 creamy risotto rice with peas, green & soya beans, courgette, mint, lemon and Grana Padano Creamy isn’t how I would describe this risotto, it was nice and light and not at all stodgy. The veg was lightly steamed tasting. Even Jman enjoyed it, and he likes neither rice nor vegetables.

(Left) Orecchiette Pugliese £11.45 “little ear” pasta with Luganega sausage, pancetta, chilli, tenderstem broccoli and Gran Padano Not only is cute little adorable shapes, it’s tasty too. A nice amount of heat and, again, a sense of freshness of ingredients.

(Right) Tagliatelle Bolognese £10.75 fresh tagliatelle tossed in a rich ragu sauce with Grana Padano and extra virgin olive oil It’s nice to get a more traditional tagliatelle over the spaghetti noodle in this perfectly good version of the spag bol.

(Rear) Rigatoni Carbonara £11.95 crispy pancetta, black pepper and lemon in a rich Grana Padano sauce This was utterly divine. We both loved it the most of the four dishes and this is what I will have on my next visit.

Strada Cobham pasta and risotto

We were getting nicely full by this point but were enjoying the food so didn’t let that stop us from having another course (yes, I’m sacrificing my waistline for you.)

Jman opted for the 8oz sirloin Steak £17.95 with peppercorn sauce and fries which was tender and juicy, just the way a steak should be. It’s very good value for the quality of the steak.

Strada Cobham sirloin steak

I had the Sea Bass to test out the new, freshly delivered fish on the menu. Sea Bass £13.95 fresh sea bass, pan-fried and served on basil mashed potatoes, black olive, tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. (I went with rosemary potatoes instead of mashed.) What can I say, it passed. Fresh tasting, perfectly cooked and, again, was good value.

Strada Cobham seabass

We shared the Rosemary Potatoes £3.75. These, like the rest of our food, were really nice, good flavours and a generous portion.

Strada Cobham rosemary potatoes

At this point we were getting really full so decided to share one dessert. We were recommended the Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake £5.75, baked lemon, marscapone and crushed amaretti biscuits. Wow. And wow again. This was glorious. Possibly the best cheesecake I’ve had in the UK, and it comes from Cardiff. Who would have thought. The supplier is a small Italian family business and my goodness I hope they start selling at supermarkets. If you’re looking for an afternoon coffee and sweet in Cobham this is what you’re looking for.

Strada Cobham lemon ricotta cheesecake

Strada has really seemed to turn a corner. Take freshly prepared food with good quality ingredients plus enthusiastic staff and you really can’t go wrong. I’m a convert and look forward to seeing the new menu and interior.

13-15 Between Street, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1AA
www.strada.co.uk/italian-restaurant/cobham
Town car park

Strada also has Surrey locations in Kingston and Richmond

We were guests of Strada Cobham but this is no way biased our review.

News update

As you may have noticed, I haven’t done a new review in a while. I’ve been utterly buried with too much going on, including a major house extension that I’ve been project managing. But that hasn’t stopped me from eating out, in fact I’ve been eating out more the past few months because I haven’t had a kitchen.

Sadly, apple switch iphotos to photos and somehow I’ve lost all those new review pics. I thought I’d briefly summarise a couple of them (the two I can remember), as well as bring you some news from a couple of places I’ve already done.


 
Okeechobees Cafe
1 Esher Road, Hersham, Surrey, KT12 4JZ
okeechobees.co.uk

Okeechobee Cafe Hersham

Giving Hersham a much needed independent cafe, the Okeechobees does a perfect job of it. Would you believe I’ve been three times already and sadly every food photo is lost. But trust me, the inside is beautiful, the food is great and the owners are lovely. Best of all it is totally dog friendly, with dogs very welcomed inside and out.  I will definitely be back soon to do a proper review.

 


Oisi

41 Old Woking Rd, West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 6LG
www.oisi.co.uk

OIsi West Byfleet

The most heartbreaking of all my photos, Oisi is an oddly situated Japanese restaurant tucked away under a printer ink shop in West Byfleet. Once you get down in the basement the atmosphere is quiet and serene. Service is friendly with a traditional far east feel. Food is delicious and outstandingly presented, if only I’d tweeted some straight away, alas you’ll have to experience it for yourself.

 


The Cricketers

Downside Common, Cobham, KT11 3NX
www.cricketerscobham.com

The Cricketers Downside Cobham olde worlde fireplaceThe Cricketers Downside Cobham sunday roast beefThe Cricketers Downside Cobham toulouse sausage and mashThe Cricketers Downside Cobham pea and goat cheese vegetarian dish

The Cricketers has completed the change of ownership to the White Brasserie group, a group that combines traditional French brasserie with a traditional English pub twist. We visited on a Sunday and had a traditional roast beef along with Toulouse sausage & mash and a lovely pea & goat cheese vegetarian option. The food was tasty and the vibe was thankfully still olde worlde.

original post here

 


Stephan Langton

Friday Street, Abinger Common, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6JR
www.stephanlangton.pub

DSC_0085sweet potato and goat cheese cakeStephan Landon cumberland sausageStephan Landon child's salmon

The fabled pub at the end of the world, the Stephan Langton was taken over by enthusiastic new owners this spring. They’ve freshened the inside, added some more tables outside and have plans for a much needed proper garden seating area. The food is lovingly prepared on site and all ingredients are locally sourced. Even the three bought in items – beer, ice cream & bread come from the local area. (Beer from the Tillingbourne Brewery in Shere.)

original post here

1907 Restaurant Bar & Grill

Another wedding anniversary – our second under the blog. This time I was keen to try out the 1907 Restaurant, Bar & Grill at Brooklands Hotel in the Brooklands area of Weybridge.

Opened in 2010, it’s located beside Mercedes Benz World and Brooklands museum. Perhaps appropriately, it features large windows overlooking the car park that did indeed hold a large number of Mercedes cars.

1907 Restaurant bar & grill entrance

Inside is smart and stylish with large areas for the restaurant and bar. I love being greeted with fresh flowers, it automatically puts me in a good mood. The atmosphere was buzzing the Saturday night we were there and made for an almost exciting vibe.

1907 Restaurant bar & grill dining area

The large bar area tastefully decorated with nods to the period of Brooklands’ heyday, including some big old shiny propellors down the middle of the seating.

1907 Restaurant bar & grill bar area

The menu had something for everyone, with some nice sounding embellishments in each dish.

Service was near perfection. Our waiter was everything you could hope for – helpful, friendly, relaxed and professional. He definitely added immensely to our experience, plus he picked me a really fab wine.

To start Jman had the Seasonal soup freshly prepared vegetarian soup £6.95, that came with a show of pouring it into the bowl at the table. You may be aware of my note taking ability, so I don’t know what type it was but it was do know it was delicious with layers of flavours and a delightful cheese straw.

1907 Restaurant bar & grill soup

I obviously chose the Pan fried scallops & glazed pork belly puree of cauliflower & golden raisin £10.95. I wasn’t convinced by the pork belly, too well done for my tastes, but the scallops were super tasty, the puree and raisin added to the dish.

scallops and pork belly 1904 bar and grill

For his main Jman made the manly man choice of 225g 28 day aged sirloin steak, crispy chips, roast tomato, grill flat mushroom, red onion marmalade plus choice of sauce (he picked hollandaise) £34.00 . The steak might not look like much in the photo but it was seared perfectly and nice and juicy on the inside. The sauce was good, as were all the accompaniments.

1907 Restaurant bar & grill steak and chips

For my main I went for the Pan roast loin of cod fennel & baby spinach, potato rosti, capers & lemon £18.95. OMG that was one huge piece of fish, incredibly generous on their part but there was just no way I could manage to eat it all even if I hadn’t just finished a starter course. The fish was nicely cooked, though the fennel was a little overpowering, more in texture than taste.

1907 Restaurant bar & grill cod & potato latka

We shared dessert because, though full of cod, I wasn’t quite ready to leave. We opted to share Mille Feuille salty crunchy peanut butter & parline cream, orange & chilli compote £7.00. There was a bit of a delay but our exceptional server brought us some sorbet while we waited. Well this arrived it sure didn’t last long. For two people that were supposedly full we inhaled it and all its peanut butter goodness. Yum.

1907 Restaurant bar & grill mille feuille

I really enjoyed the 1907 Restaurant at Brooklands Hotel. Lots of atmosphere and some great food made for a perfect place to celebrate a wedding anniversary.

Brooklands Hotel, Brooklands Drive, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 0SL
www.1907restaurant.co.uk
Car park

Four Horseshoes

I got a hot tip from a mum at school about the Four Horseshoes in Chobham. A quick look at their website (a good precursor in both visual delightfulness and vibe) and it didn’t take me long to get myself down there.

It’s positioned on a triangle of green on the fringe of Chobham. True to its name, horses do indeed pitch up from the nearby equestrian centre and an application for hitching posts has even been made – talk about retro.

There’s a lovely large outdoor seating in front alongside the green as well as small enclosed patio seating are to the rear of the pub.

four horseshoes exterior

Four Horseshoes was taken over by a passionate independent owner in 2013. He clearly thought long and hard about what he’d want his venture to be and has successfully created a whimsical, welcoming pub.

Main dining areas are bright with well spaced tables. There’s oodles of delightful finishing touches, from the birdie lampshade to decorative coat hangers, not to mention the sumptuous toilets.

four horseshoes dining area

The bar seating area is cosier and complete with doggy water bowls.

four horseshoes bar seating

Crowning glory of all is a bar that looks like it’s made from disused kitchen units.

four horseshoes super cool unique bar

All food is made fresh to order and everything is prepared on site, save the bread and ice cream. Service is efficient and smiley.

The menus is predominantly pub classics with twists and flourishes that make them up to date and enticing. They have a nice two/three course lunch menu but would benefit from offering some lighter lunch bites.

Ann went for The Shoes ale battered hake, pea puree, triple cooked chips, tarter £12.50. It was tasty with skin on chips, yay! All chips should have their skins left on!

Fish and chips four horseshoes

Suffering from a deficit of green vegetables, I was in a serious salad mood. As there was only one (the horror!) salad on the menu my decision was easy. I had the Roasted sweet potato, goats cheese, pine nut, chilli balsamic, leaves £10.50. There was lots going on, including a some heat. I did quite enjoy it and it was filling, however I would have liked a more exciting dressing.

sweet potato salad four horseshoes

Ann has suffered from a sweet tooth lately and fell prey to the Sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce, rum & raisin ice cream £6.50. Naturally we shared it. Mmm, it was yummy with lots of ooey gooey toffee sauce.

sticky toffee pudding four horseshoes

The Four Horseshoes is a crackerjack of a pub, another in the growing group of next wave Surrey eating spots.

13-15 Burrow Hill Green, Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8QP
www.fourhorseshoeschobham.co.uk
Car park
Dogs welcomed in the bar area

Albert Arms

Albert Arms is another one of those places I kind of knew it existed but didn’t really know much about it and didn’t clock that it was an option for dining out. When they invited me for lunch I was most intrigued, I hadn’t even realised they did food.

Better still, it’s an independent pub that has been in the same family for 40 years. There’s even a boutique hotel in the mews, who knew?

albert arm's esher exterior

You enter into a roomy space with a unique horseshoe shaped bar (a nod to nearby Sandown racecourse?). This is a pub that takes its beer very seriously. They’ve just won pub of the year for their area by the Campaign for Real Ale and this year they have pledged to served 200 guest ales.

The bar area is popular and gets very busy at peak times. But enough about that, we were here for the food.

albert arm's esher bar

There’s a sophisticated feeling dining area to the rear of the bar. It’s a Goldilocks size with lots of windows that create a nice, bright space. There were a good number of people in for lunch, which created a buzzy atmosphere.

albert arm's esher dining area

On the way to the roof terrace we discovered the location for our next mum’s night Christmas party, a private room that will hold all 50 of us.

albert arm's esher private room

There’s a cosy rooftop terrace that’s shielded from traffic noise by the front section of the building. It seems to be an afternoon sun trap.

Most impressive of all, meat is sourced weekly from their own farm in Somerset that raises rare breeds – Longhorn cattle, Gloucester Old Spot pigs and Black Leg chicken. The cattle live in a forest and dine on herbs and flowers, meat is then aged for at least 35 days which promises to give a completely unique flavour to their beef.

The Albert Arms clearly takes their steak very seriously and offers nine cuts of beef on their menu, along with several different types of sauce. Not that you need a sauce for steak this good.

albert arm's esher outdoor roof terrace

In addition to the steaks, the menu features more meats and several fish dishes, this is a carnivore’s paradise. There’s also a specials menu that changes frequently. Everything is cooked fresh to order and they will cater to any dietary needs.

Prices on the regular menu aren’t cheap but are in line with what you would expect to pay for this style and quality of food.

The Sunday Roast menu has a larger than average selection for a very good price – one course is £9.95. It also promises to be very child friendly with ‘table wide’ colouring competitions.

For starters, Bridget opted for the colourful Tricolore Tower £7.00 avocado, tomato and mozzarella with basil dressing. It was very fresh tasting with a lovely dressing.

albert arm's esher tricolore salad

I decided to order from the lunch menu, which is £7.00 for one course or £9.50 for two. For my starter I chose the Egg Florentine poached egg on a bed of spinach topped with parmesan shave. Wow, this was a Popeye portion of spinach and I certainly felt healthier for eating it all.

albert arm's esher egg florentine

We obviously couldn’t come to the Albert Arms and not have a steak. For her main Bridget had the 8oz fillet/tenderloin £23 with a Blue Cheese cream, stilton and parsley sauce £2.50 (The sauce comes served in a little jug.) The meat was incredibly tender, melt on your tongue yum. It’s amazing that a low fat fillet cut can be so flavourful.

albert arm's esher steak with blue cheese sauce

Steaks come served with a choice of potatoes but they were happy to substitute for a side salad. And what a big side salad it was, Bridget could only manage half of it.

albert arm's esher salad

For my lunch special main I selected the Baked cod fillet in Marinara sauce, sauce contains capers, black olives & cherry tomatoes. The fish was perfectly cooked and the sauce was just plain tasty. I loved every bite, and there were quite a few of those as it was a generous portion for a lunch serving.

albert arm's esher black cod

My lunch main also came with a choice of potato, naturally I went for the triple cooked chips. They were very good but I didn’t manage to get very far down the bucket. It sure was a whole lot of food for £9.50. I think this is one of the best value lunch menus around.

albert arm's esher chips

Despite my best intentions to be good to my waist and not order dessert, I couldn’t resist the tart of the week – chocolate and peach £5.00. Peaches, like scallops and beetroot, are another weakness of mine. This tart was yummy, more chocolate than peach but not too sweet.

albert arm's esher chocolate and peach tart

If you’re in the mood for steak, The Albert Arms is the place you’re looking for. Yet it offers much more, including great value lunch and Sunday roast menus. I am so glad I learned about it, my first visit most definitely won’t be my last.

82 High St, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9QS
www.albertarms.com
Town car park

We were guests of Albert Arms but this is no way biased our review.

Ye Olde Swan

Continuing with my quest of discovering Surrey’s oldest pubs, Jman and I decided the check out 13th century Ye Olde Swan in Thames Ditton.

It’s located right on the River Thames and before you go trying all those doors, the entrance is on the river side.

It’s part of The Old English Inns group, a very large chain made up of historic pubs and inns.

Ye Olde Swan exterior

Inside is a rambling place that seems to go on and on. There are at least four dining rooms, each with a good sized capacity. We chose to sit in the bar area, with nice old flag stone flooring and a great ancient fireplace (tucked away in the corner and so entirely missable.)

Ye Olde Swan bar

Choice seats are near the entrance, only a handful beside a wall of windows overlooking the river. This is a popular pub and you’d do well to nab one.

Ye Olde Swan best tables

The farthest room has a cosy vibe despite being a good size probably because of the exposed bricks and light coloured beams.

Ye Olde Swan downstairs dining room

There’s an upstairs dining area which is opened when the other areas are full. It’s not as characterful as the rest of the pub.

Not Sure I get a deeper sense of age from Ye Olde Swan, it’s old but somehow I was expecting older.

Ye Olde Swan upstairs seating

Outside is the really exciting bit. A large patio sits alongside the river with a mix of comfortable seats and picnic tables. Interestingly, they haven’t tried to cram as many tables as possible into the space so there’s a good feeling of space around each table. The only drawback is there’s an island offshore so the river isn’t very wide here.

Ye Olde Swan riverside patio

The menu is a fairly comprehensive chain pub assortment that’s guaranteed to have something for everyone plus daily specials.

We waited nearly 40 minutes for our food. When we asked where our food was the barman said ‘everyone came at once’, imagine that, being lunchtime and all. This pub has a very large seating capacity, it needs a kitchen to match. My tip is to get here early or come out of busy mealtime hours.

Jman decided on the ‘sharer’ Nachos covered with melted Barber’s 1833 vintage reserve cheddar, sour cream and chives, pico de gallo salsa and pomegranate seeds topped with hickory smoked beef brisket £7.99. Naturally he wasn’t interested in sharing any with me. He really enjoyed them, a nice mix of flavours and the pomegranate seeds were a snazzy addition.

Ye Olde Swan beef nachos

I had the daily special, scallops and bacon £5.99. I wish they’d had a fuller description of them, as they were quite impressive and surprised me when they arrived. They were on some sort of nicely textured pea puree and topped with crispy bacon and some sort of tasty green stuff. I loved this and in no way expected this sort of quality, especially for that price. My kudos to the chef.

Ye Olde Swan scallops

I had a side of sweet potato fries £2.49 to go with my scallops. I chose to eat all the scallops first since they are best freshly cooked. They had some sort of coating on them, which really caught the oil and I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get the taste out of my mouth.

Ye Olde Swan sweet potato fries

Ye Olde Swan is a solid pub and a particularly good spot for lounging by the river in the beautiful weather we’ve been having. And if scallops are on the specials menu order them!

Summer Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 0QQ
www.oldenglishinns.co.uk/our-locations/the-ye-olde-swan-thames-ditton
Small car park
Dogs welcome in hard floor areas

The Alexander

When I picked my Canadian friend up from the airport it was only natural that the first thing she wanted to do was go to a pub. (Particularly since she writes a Toronto pub blog.) I chose to take her to The Alexander in Oatlands (Weybridge.)

The Alexander Weybridge exterior

Outside there’s a nice big outdoor space that doesn’t open up to a road (just the parking lot.)

Inside the pub runs in a relatively skinny chevron from the car park entrance, with windows running along one side or the other, there’s no dark, dank pub qualities here.

The Alexander Weybridge bar

Decor is a kind of updated take on shabby chic pub, up to date colours and a bit of whimsy coupled with all the nice big windows make for a cordial dining spot.

The menu changes daily, I like the ‘on this day’ and famous birthdays for each day. It has some nice sounding dishes, however as we were there for lunch we didn’t want a full big meal and there weren’t really any light lunch type items save for lentil soup. Lentils are my anti-beetroots. I will never, ever order anything with lentils.

The Alexander Weybridge seating area

Service was fine.

My friend, fresh off the plane from Canada and barely on breakfast time opted for the Great British cheeseboard with white graps, pear chutney & biscuits £8.50. As you can see it was nicely presented and a pretty good size, it made for a nice little lunch.

The Alexander Weybridge English cheese plate

I opted for the potato skins with sweet chilli and sour cream dips £5.50 from the bar snacks menu. Foolishly, for some reason (I think from a combination of the price and wishful thinking) I thought I was ordering North American style potato skins, like these, that can be passable as a lunch. Instead they were literally just the skins. They were very tasty and nicely presented but I’m not sure about the value for money.

The Alexander potato skins

I do like the interior of The Alexander and expect it is quite a nice spot for dinner or a Sunday lunch, however I’m not surprised we were the only ones in at lunchtime – they need a light lunch menu. The food we did have was good quality and nicely presented. I think it is worth a try when going out for a full meal.

139 Oatlands Drive, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 9LA
www.thealexanderweybridge.co.uk
Car park
Dogs welcome