The Grumpy Mole, Brockham, Surrey RH3 7JS - restaurant review
PUBLISHED: 01:26 06 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:52 20 February 2013
What better way to test the party potential of one Surrey diner than a low-key Surrey Life lunch? Matthew Williams was joined by a few familiar faces to feast on the food and cheer of The Grumpy Mole in Brockham
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2011
Reviewed: The Grumpy Mole, Brockham, Surrey RH3 7JS: 01737 845101
What better way to test the party potential of one Surrey diner than a low-key Surrey Life lunch?Matthew Williams was joined by a few familiar faces to feast on the food and cheer of The Grumpy Mole in Brockham
Food and drink 7
What we ate...
The Grumpy Mole Pies, 14.95
Homemade Fragrant Red Thai Chicken Curry, 13.95
Mushroom, Brie, Hazelnut & Cranberry Wellington (V), 13.95
Chefs Own Venison Wellington, 15.95
Olde English Bangers n Mash, 9.95
REVIEW: Sitting at our table overlooking the recently named Surrey village of the years green, our waitress approaches apologetically: Weve had a call from one of your party and, well, theyve gone to Tadworth instead
An unexpected entre, as while The Grumpy Mole restaurant is indeed an established name in that particular village, BBC newsreader Nicholas Owen, BBC Surreys Nick Wallis, my esteemed editor Caroline Harrap and I were all at its newer sister pub in Brockham.
A few frantic phone exchanges later and photographer extraordinaire Andy Newbold was back in his car making the mad dash down the A25. Well blame it on the Sat Nav
What better way to test the party potential of a restaurant than with our motley arrangement the only thing missing was party hats, but with Andy and his camera in tow perhaps that was for the best.
So it was that lunch was taken over by stories about how to cope with announcing the death of a famous foreign dignitary sans information (Im sure he was the one who right?); pull off a musically accompanied talk sans musician (just tell them to put their finest grand piano on stage and lean on it every now and then); and survive the nerves that inevitably arise with an unscheduled career extension into comedy (the younger Nick has taken to stand-up after being thrown in at the deep end for Comic Relief earlier this year).
Anyway, back to the matter in hand, and even prior to the silly (sorry, festive) season kicking in, The Grumpy Mole is the kind of pub/restaurant for which the word cosy was created log fires, fairy lights etc. With separate bar/casual and restaurant/linen sections, it aptly caters for most situations. Just over a year old, it still had a lot to live up to in order to match its more experienced sister pub in Tadworth, which received a glowing Surrey Life magazine review when we visited back in 2008.
While the wine list offers a broad selection of whites and reds, by the bottle and glass, both the younger Nick and I were admittedly slightly disappointed by the limited range of real ale the restaurant has the feel of somewhere youd expect a wider choice, including a few local tipples.
On the menu
As for food, I can only speak for myself, but my Chefs Own Venison Wellington, with its tender steak in red wine jus was absolutely delicious (and there were certainly no complaints from the rest of the group, save perhaps the suggestion that there could have been a few more vegetarian dishes on the menu).
It being lunch, we didnt explore the desserts but there were plenty of
winter warmers that caught my eye for next time: classic French apple tart, warm sticky toffee pudding and bread and butter pudding, all with custard, naturally.
Looking ahead to the office party or family event, The Grumpy Mole proved to be the kind of restaurant where its possible to have a relatively noisy and fun lunch without over-awing other diners it was very busy for a midweek village lunchtime.
So, sadly no tales of highly spirited editors dancing on tables, drunk on festive cheer, to bribe extra holiday with (although one incumbent did blog about the Betchworth pub hed just enjoyed...), but our restrained revelry couldnt have hoped for a better host.
3 other Surrey pub/restaurants
The Inn @ West End
42 Guildford Road, West End GU24 9PW: 01276 858 652
A regular Surrey Dining Pub of the Year according to the Good Pub Guide, Gerry and Ann Price are part of the reason the definition between pub and fine dining restaurant has become so blurred.
Bell Lane, Fetcham KT22 9ND: 01372 372624
Set in the village of Fetcham, The Bell is an original British pub graced by a stylish restaurant featured in the Good Food Guide.
The Three Horseshoes
Dye House Road, Thursley GU8 6QD: 01252 703268
The newly crowned Surrey Dining Pub of the Year, this community-owned country pub is run by Savoy-trained chef David Alders and Sandra Proni.