CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

The Inn at West End GU24 9PW - restaurant review

PUBLISHED: 09:37 11 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:20 16 November 2016

The Inn at West End is a welcoming haven, especially in the winter with its game fare

The Inn at West End is a welcoming haven, especially in the winter with its game fare


Ranked as the best dining pub in Surrey by a certain national pub guide, The Inn at West End has a long-standing reputation for its top-quality food and drink offering (particularly its wine) and convivial atmosphere

The starter was light and delicate in preparation for the hearty mains to comeThe starter was light and delicate in preparation for the hearty mains to come

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2016


Need to know

The Inn at West End,

42 Guildford Road, West End GU24 9PW.

Tel: 01276 858652 Web:

What we ate


Cured and torched mackerel, dashi jelly, red meat radish, charcoal and yuzu mayonnaise, £7

Crab bon bon, brown meat emulsion, pickled samphire and sorrel oil, £8

Main courses:

Stone bass, smoked bacon and clam chowder, kale and string potato, £17

Duo of venison (seared loin and braised faggot), pomme purée, smoked plum, turnip and jus, £22


Camomile & White Chocolate Parfait, grilled peaches, granola and honey, £7

Selection of British cheeses, chutneys and biscuits, £9


Labradouro Tinto 2013, £21 a bottle


REVIEW: There’s nothing quite like eating out in the West End – and, while you may find a lack of neon lights and theatre glitz at the GU24 9PW version, this is a location with a story to tell.

Neighbours include Gordon’s School, where the patron is none other than Her Majesty The Queen, and Bisley, home to the National Shooting Centre. You may also ramble into the likes of Brian May and Brian Blessed in the surrounding countryside, but those are tales for another day...

Found in the middle of a triangle roughly made up of Woking, Camberley and Sunningdale on the Berkshire border, the reason we find ourselves in Surrey’s West End village (just to confuse things further, there’s another one near Esher…) is a visit to county pub royalty.

Recently named Surrey’s dining pub of the year by the 35th anniversary Good Pub Guide 2017 (where they were also named among the top 10 pubs for wine in the country – more on that later), The Inn at West End is celebrating a year of dramatic change, with new bedrooms added and a complete makeover, while still clearly retaining its very individual identity.

During the 16 years or so it’s been under the ownership of Gerry and Ann Price, The Inn has steadily built its reputation as a haven for those looking for top-end but ‘proper’ – as some would describe it – pub dining (in fact, it’s been named county pub of the year seven times since 2003!).

While it’s dog-friendly, reflecting its rural associations, it’s most definitely an adults-orientated place – so make sure to book in the babysitter if you’re thinking of a visit. It would be remiss of me, as a parent, not to say that I love a few establishments like this – it’s great to have a night off sometimes.

For those new to The Inn, the owners also happen to be experienced wine merchants. Indeed, their boutique shop is found right next door to the pub (and, for a corkage fee, any bottle bought in the shop can be consumed in the pub or restaurant). So they know their stuff, and the wine list is, unsurprisingly, highly rated.

On our visit, we feel inclined to opt for one of the unique offerings from their exclusive Labradouro range (a choice of red or white). Developed in partnership with Lavradores de Feitoria, a community of top growers from across the Douro Valley in Portugal, the red we go for is a tasty little number – we’ve had it before but it’s always worth checking the latest vintage, right? Fear not beer-drinkers, they do have a well-kept selection on tap too.

Changing seasons

Rewind a little though, as before we’re happily sampling their wine, we’re walking into this cosy haven from the noticeably changing seasons outside. We’ve visited The Inn a number of times over the years, and it always seems to have a certain bustle to it – I imagine it’s a second home to many. General manager Nicky Hutchens greets us and sweeps us through into the restaurant section of the pub, past a private dining area where the occupants are already well into their evening’s celebrations. It’s all crisp linen tables, walls dotted with the occasional rural-life scene and the atmosphere of chatter rather than lounge music. My take on it: it’s a place to eat with people you actually like… a place that encourages conversation, rather than smothering it in a blanket of distraction.

There’s a finesse to my first dish of cured and torched mackerel, dashi jelly, red meat radish, charcoal and yuzu mayonnaise. The main ingredient is well cared for, with splashes of excitement working hard to complement.

Sylviane’s crab bon bon with brown meat emulsion, pickled samphire and sorrel oil is one of those ‘pack-me-up-and-take-me-to-the-autumnal picnic’ dishes. Gorgeous, heart-warming and packed with flavour.

While the fish and crab don’t come from the local pond, of course, provenance is important here. Fruit and veg usually hails from Guildford’s Cheesman Brothers (who buy daily from New Covent Garden), Tenaker Farm Shop in Chobham and their own gardens, as well as swaps with growers from the local allotments. Meat that isn’t caught by gamekeepers is from Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards 2016 butcher of the year finalist George Arthur in Lightwater or Quality Meat from Windlesham.

It’s that game that has helped them make their name though, and there are few places better to eat it in the county than the Inn. Gerry is friends with the head keeper from Windsor Great Park, so you (and indeed the chefs!) never quite know what tasty morsels will make it onto the menu.

As such, I opt for the venison, which has travelled this route – from just a few miles down the road. Melt-in-the-mouth pink loin is served with a moreish braised faggot, pomme purée, smoked plum, turnip and jus. The smoking on the dish is just right to leave the flavours singing with background notes in harmony. The smoked plum comes as a slight surprise at first, masquerading as a faggot, but definitely adds a needed sweetness to the dish. Very pleasant indeed.

Sylviane’s stone bass, smoked bacon and clam chowder, kale and string potato is another wonderful plate – the clams offering an extra delicious little touch. The cooking here is very much a celebration of the best this island has to offer.

To finish, I opt for the camomile and white chocolate parfait with grilled peaches, granola and honey that would have been absolutely perfect with a touch less granola, but I’m nit-picking here – the parfait is sublime.

True to form, Sylviane puts the selection of British cheeses, chutneys and biscuits to the test – no complaints there.

Settling back with the last drops of that delicious red, there’s an overriding sense of The Inn feeling like an old friend – you may not have caught up face-to-face much recently, but when you come together it’s as if nothing has changed. Conversation is relaxed, laughter is easy and by the end of the evening, you wish it didn’t have to come to an end.


13 more surrey pubs...

...included in the Good Pub Guide’s inspected list

• The Bailiwick, Englefield Green

• The Blue Ball, Walton on the Hill

• The Flower Pot, Sunbury

• Marneys Inn, Esher

• The Mill at Elstead

• The Percy Arms, Chilworth

• The Pheasant, Buckland

• The Red Lion, Shamley Green

• The Refectory, Milford

• The Running Horses, Mickleham

• The Swan Inn, Chiddingfold

• The White Hart, Chipstead

• The White Hart, Chobham

For Surrey Life’s top pubs, for cosy or al fresco dining, explore

More from Surrey Life

Yesterday, 10:53

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Yesterday, 10:47

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Yesterday, 10:41

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Mon, 14:32

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Mon, 12:56

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Mon, 12:13

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (16, 17 and 18 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Friday, November 9, 2018

We round up 10 of the most beautiful photos of Surrey shared on Instagram this week…

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more
Friday, November 2, 2018

With the Christmas celebrations seemingly starting earlier every year, it all feels a little too ‘soon’ sometimes, but what if you want to look your best for Christmas & New year celebrations and are considering having cosmetic non-surgical procedures? The Bella Vou Pantiles Clinic offers surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments from a purpose-built private clinic in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Living in England’s most densely wooded county, it’s always a pleasure to witness Surrey donning its autumn finery. Here’s some of the best places to do just that - plus a few pub pit stops to enjoy on route!

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We are regularly reminded of the high cost of housing with statistics revealing that only one in three millennials will be able to afford their own home during their lifetime and that most will remain in the category known as Generation Rent

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Year 5 pupils at Reigate St Mary’s School (RSM) who designed and carried out a community project as part of a UK wide Make a Difference Challenge, have won the London area competition for their stunning scrapbook record of their project

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search