Sunday, 20 June 2010

18th June 2010 - Little Dudley House, Dorking

The first proper outing of the Old Horses for some time - Paul, Chris and Lyn painting Dorking red. Well, maybe a deep pink.

Starters: Crab cakes; Ham hock terrine with pear chutney and Mussels with aeoli.

Mains: Sea bream x 2 and Smoked haddock risotto, plus an extra portion of 'Hand Cut Thrice Cooked Chips'.

Desserts: Ice cream and sorbet x 3 (various combinations of Cassis and Apple sorbets and Horlicks, Caramel Ripple, Strawberry  and Vanilla ice creams).

Drinks: Caipirinhas x 3; water.

Cost: £112.75 (inc discretionary 10% service charge).

Everything about this evening was practically perfect. We were greeted at the door and offered the choice of going straight to our table or having a drink at the bar. The building is a delightful mix of the old and the new - though Paul and I were not convinced by the white leather pouffes.

The caipirinhas were excellent - tart and refreshing, with a whole (though cut up) lime in each. And at just the right point, halfway through the drink, we were escorted up to our table. Again, a choice. Did we want to be in the main room or in the Glass Room. We chose the main room - principally because it was a little cool and cloudy. We'll save the Glass Room for a warm, bright day, I think.

Basically, every mouthful of food was excellent. It was well presented and perfectly cooked. The crab cakes were wonderful, the mussels were excellent (Paul tells me - not my thing) and the thrice cooked chips were crisp and delicious. Best of all, the sorbets and ice creams (which were an unplanned indulgence) were just that - indulgent, mouth-watering and a reason in themselves for a return visit.

For us, this restaurant was a real treat. A lovely building, friendly staff who gave excellent service, wonderful food and even enjoyable background music.

Our rating: FIVE STARS

DELAYED ENTRY 3rd June - Cook-Ri, Epsom

(01372 727444 -

Paul and I (Chris) went for dinner with our friends Alison, Abby and Gemma. It was a little strange - we were the only group in the restaurant. Still, it has only opened fairly recently.

I can't now remember every dish we tried, but some things did stand out.

We were given a complimentary starter - a water puri. It was a small, dish-shaped pastry shell, with pulses and a very liquid sauce inside. The waiter told us to put it all in our mouth and bite. It was a close fit, even for a big mouth like me. But, what a sensation! Crunch, wet, cool, spicy, delicious...

Paul had a duck starter called Haas Ko Choyla, which was very tasty. I had a lamb main course called Himali Masu, which was delicious and tender. We all tried a bit of everything, and it was extremely good.

The service was discreet yet friendly and warm. This restaurant deserves to prosper - go and try it!

Our rating: FOUR STARS

DELAYED ENTRY May 2010 - Singtong Neeyom Thai Restaurant, Halesworth, Sufflok

We spotted this restaurant on our 2009 trip to Southwold, but too late to try it out. So we were keen to go this year. And we were really glad that we did.

We were greeted by a charming man, the husband of the chef. The chef, Piek, is a skilled Thai cook, producing wonderful, truly authentic Thai food. Eating here was almost exactly like eating in a good restaurant in Thailand itself (and we've eaten in quite a few there).

Piek surprised us by telling us that, when she first came to the UK, she worked for a while in Epsom - our home town!

Sadly, we can't now remember precisely which dishes we ordered, but we can say that we really enjoyed them.

Our rating: FIVE STARS

DELAYED ENTRY March 2010 - New Zealand (Various)

On 11th March this year, Paul and I (Chris) celebrated 25 years together. Such a big anniversary seemed to deserve a big holiday to go with it, so we decided to re-visit New Zealand - something we'd talked about for YEARS. On the way we spent three nights in Hong Kong, but we didn't have any extraordinary meals there.

The first noteworthy meal was at Lumberjack's in Owaka ( Paul had chicken in a plum and curry sauce (MUCH nicer than we thought from the description) and I had a rib-eye steak with a stout and garlic sauce. Actually, it was good enough that we happily went back the next night - although, to be honest, the choice is a bit limited in Owaka - when I had venison in a blueberry and red wine sauce, and Paul had lamb. We drank Monteith's beer. All very nice - well cooked and with friendly, efficient service.

Later, in Hokitika, we visited the Priya, an Indian restaurant on Revell Street. We had a mixed starter, followed by Lamb Rogan Josh and Kudai Chicken, with Cobra beer. Delicious food, good service and nice background music.

On our actual anniversary, we were in Arthur's Pass Village, being entertained by the world's only Alpine parrot, the Kea ( It seemed appropriate to eat at a cafe/bar called the Wobbly Kea ( The food was good though not extraordinary of itself (lamb shanks/rib-eye steak) - but they did very good garlic bread and the chips were nice too.

The most entertaining eatery was Sophie's Cafe in Christchurch. We went there for our last meal in New Zealand - brunch, before we headed for the airport. They serve a fine cooked breakfast and delicious milkshakes - so delicious, in fact, that I had to have two: vanilla and caramel. The walls of the cafe are covered with photos of Sophie (and sometimes her partner, Hudson) with celebrity customers. (Many I didn't recognise, so I guess the celebrities in New Zealand, but what do I know?)

I'm not going to bother rating them all, but we had excellent food in New Zealand.

DELAYED ENTRY February 2010 - Blubeckers (various)

During January and February, the Blubeckers chain ran a promotion using scratch cards. Each card entitled the bearer to a discount on the food element of your meal. According to one of the waitresses we spoke to, the discount could be up to 100%, though we rarely did better than 20% - still, that was enough to encourage us to pay them four visits in February.

We went to:-
Gomshall Mill, Guildford
Hampton Court
The Refectory, Godalming

The food was, with only one exception (suitably rectified by the manager), very good. The service was more variable but generally fine. The woman who served us at the Hampton Court restaurant was very competent.

Our favourite of the four restaurants we used was the Refectory at Godalming. A lovely building with bags of character and charm.

Our rating overall: FOUR STARS


For personal reasons, not only have we not been dining out quite as much as usual but there hasn’t been the will to keep the blog up to date. Things are improving now and so I thought it would be good to mention a few things that have happened since the last post. Things probably won't be quite so detailed for these posts.