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The Grumpy Mole, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 5RX - restaurant review

PUBLISHED: 19:30 06 December 2010 | UPDATED: 11:38 28 February 2013

The Grumpy Mole

The Grumpy Mole

You'd get a little grumpy living underground all year too. Fortunately, The Grumpy Mole in Tadworth is located on terra firma rather than under it and restaurant critic JOHN HUGHES was all smiles as he tucked into his latest meal

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2008

Restaurant reviewed: The Grumpy Mole, The Inn on the Green, Dorking Road, Tadworth, Surrey KT20 5RX: 01737 353529

You'd get a little grumpy living underground all year too. Fortunately, The Grumpy Mole in Tadworth is located on terra firma rather than under it and restaurant critic JOHN HUGHES was all smiles as he tucked into his latest meal

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Food & wine 8/10
Venue 8/10
Service 9/10

What we ate...

Mushrooms "Norbury Blue", 5.95
Salmon and Dill Fishcakes, 5.50

Succulent Tiger Prawns, 11.50
8 oz Scotch Sirloin Steak, 13.95 "On the stone"

Double Chocolate and Cream Roulade, 4.95

Rioja Oak Aged Luis Canas 14.95 per bottle

Our review: On two separate occasions within the space of a week, I was confronted with virtually the same question: "Have you tried The Grumpy Mole at Tadworth? It's wonderful."

Needless to say, I was soon on the trail of this curiously named restaurant and discovered that I knew its location - at The Inn on the Green - but hadn't appreciated that last May the restaurant of this traditional old inn had become The Grumpy Mole. I soon had a table booked for Saturday lunch and discovered that there is nothing remotely grumpy about the place - in fact, the very opposite applies.

Pub meets restaurant...

The Inn on the Green tries hard to maintain its identity as both pub and restaurant, and an internal stone wall defines the border between the two. But it's a struggle, such is the popularity of the food, and effectively The Grumpy Mole takes over at prime dining times - in fact, some customers ask specifically for tables in the bar area. The menu is English and European, with a broad selection of dishes, and there is also a separate lunchtime bar menu.

Tantalising aromas...

For the starter, my guest chose Mushrooms 'Norbury Blue', pan-fried with Isle of Wight garlic and butter, topped with creamy blue cheese and served with salad garnish and crusty bread. The tantalising aroma of the garlic floated over to me as I sat opposite enjoying Salmon and Dill Fishcakes, a blend of Pacific salmon fillet and rosti potato in a creamy dill sauce "enrobed" in a crispy coating - very fine too served with a side dish of lemon mayonnaise.

The garlic level across the table increased even more with the presentation of Tiger Prawns with "tails on" and pan-fried in garlic with a timbale of rice, again served with salad and crusty bread.

Meanwhile, I simply had to try what is attracting diners to The Grumpy Mole in droves, their "on the stone" dishes, served sizzling to the table on a slab of piping hot stone that continues to cook the meat or fish to your liking. In my case, I chose an eight ounce Scotch beef sirloin steak with French fries, a side salad and a selection of relishes. When served, the steak was probably medium rare, but the stone remained sizzling hot throughout the meal and by the end it was well done. That suited me - however, if you like your beef anything less than well done it's advisable to ask for a side plate and remove it at an appropriate time. The meat was fine quality, and supplied locally by Scoulers of Bookham. I loved this style of presentation - original, simple yet highly effective. I was also told that it's ideal for fish as the stone keeps the flesh moist as it cooks; worth bearing in mind for my next visit.

Between us, we struggled to do justice to a single portion of double chocolate and cream roulade with chocolate sauce and clotted cream; but by then we were very content. This was helped along by a glass of oak aged Rioja from the Luis Canas vineyards, a lovely soft and smoky wine, and an ideal complement to my main course. The wine list at The Grumpy Mole is not extensive, but what they do present is well chosen.

Not a frown in sight...

So, all in all, a very enjoyable and reasonably priced dining experience and it is no wonder The Grumpy Mole is hugely popular. Plans are afoot to add a terrace to the existing building to cater for the demand. As for the service - not a grumpy face in sight; nothing but smiles and attentive waitresses with that uncanny ability to leave you be or pop up just when you need them.

3 other animal named restaurants in Surrey

The Minnow
104 Thames Street, Weybridge
Tel: 01932 831672
A pub with fabulous food, in a great location and with a large outdoor patio that makes it an ideal stop off on those warmer days...

215-217 High Street, Guildford
Tel: 01483 300237
Giraffes are the tallest of any living creature in the world, and with this restaurant's focus on healthy and ethical eating, you can walk tall, too, after eating a meal there...

13/19 The Square, Old Market, Richmond
020 8948 5965
A seafood themed restaurant that also offers fresh produce to take home with you and even cookery lessons...

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