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Review: Brunch at The Drumming Snipe

The most lip-smackingly indulgent meal of the day - best enjoyed long and luxuriously with cocktails or fizz. Throw in some oysters and you've nailed my best brunch fantasy right there. Shall we?

THE LOWDOWN

Nestled in a lovely leafy part of Surrey in the village of Mayford, just a couple of miles out of Woking in the direction of Guildford The Drumming Snipe is in the Brucan Pubs stable, and fast gaining a reputation for top notch gastropubs. Owned and run by friends Jamie Dobbin and James Lyon Shaw who met while working in the kitchens of London’s celeb haunt The Ivy, this boutique pub group also includes the Michelin-rated Greene Oak in Windsor and The Greyhound in Finchampstead and very soon The Star in Witley.

The two J’s have a pretty glossy background having, between them, worked at some of London’s best hotels and trendiest restaurants. You can spot some of that Ivy DNA (indulgent fuss-free classics, quality ingredients and seasonality) in their eateries – and we are here for it!

THE VIBE

Relaxed and welcoming, we arrived at The Drumming Snipe on super sunny Saturday morning – and this handsome white-washed Victorian pub was a picture of summer with gazillions of hanging baskets bursting with blooms. It’s a pretty picture which pretty much sets the tone. Outside there’s a lovely enclosed garden and terrace, screened by a tall hedgerow from the neighbouring houses and featuring two converted horseboxes. There’s a heated marquee – permanently in situ – which offers year-round alfresco dining. It’s heated in the winter and offers the perfect respite from the sun on hot days.

Inside, the interiors are smart and stylish with, timber panelling daubed in a palette of Farrow and Ball, exposed red brick walls and distinctive eye-catching lighting. There are fireplaces, too, that no doubt create a cosy vibe in the winter months. It’s well laid-out with zoned areas – so whilst it’s roomy it doesn’t feel gargantuan.

For special occasions, there’s a private dining space inside, with doors that lead out to the garden.

SCOFF & QUAFF

Right then. We’ve already established that brunch should be about the indulgence – it’s not the perfunctory breaking of the fast, nor is it a bite to eat at midday. And the brunch menu here reflects that with literally something for all tastes and moods. Although, if you’re the indecisive type, it could blow your mind as you navigate the sections: Morning Libations, Brunch (with the option to upgrade to a bottomless brunch), Hoagies, Starters, Mains and Sides. And there’s also a separate menu for pudding.

Settled at a table on the terrace outside – it took all of a nanosecond for me to spot oysters on the starters menu. Naturally, I also ordered a glass of Prosecco because I’m certain it’s written in rule book somewhere, that oysters must be enjoyed with fizz. So that was me sorted. And sorted I was. The oysters – served simply over ice with lemon, Tabasco and vinaigrette on the side – were large, juicy, incredibly tasty… and divine.

Mr M chose the potted mackerel on toast, and since he didn’t offer me a taste, I’m assuming this too was pretty darned good!

The mains offers up dishes like courgette, broad bean and pea tart with goat’s cheese; Fowey Bay mussels with white wine, garlic and cream; day boat fish and chips and an asparagus, wild nettle, spring onion and barley risotto – among other delights.

But it’s the brunch menu that’s caught my eye, and most specifically the Portobello mushrooms with spinach and poached eggs – and so it’s here I settle. Mr M chose the crushed avocado and smoked bacon with chilli on toasted sourdough.

I was – momentarily – struck with a knot of envy when the crushed avo turned up, this too being another of my faves. But it swiftly passed because the poached eggs were as close to perfection as you can get, the oozing yolks combining perfectly with the spinach and mushrooms.

Tempting though it was I declined a pud – and yes, it’s a rarity, I know.

KID FRIENDLY?

No need to leave the nippers at home – the relaxed vibe mean you’ll feel comfortable bringing the kids, and the Little Snipes breakfast menu (croissants, eggs on toast, mini sausages and eggs) and Little Acorns menu (freshly made fish fingers, chicken nuggets or sausages with chips and peas) means there’s food they’ll love to eat . The kitchen is also happy to prepare half-size portions of any meal on the main menu – for the kiddos seeking something more sophisticated than sausages.

OUT & ABOUT

Fancy working up an appetite before brunch? Whitmoor Common is a four minute drive from The Drumming Snipe where there are walking trails of varied lengths.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: This is a foodie pub for sure – and as well as the Brunch menu there’s also a Breakfast menu (available before midday), and an A La Carte menu. Anyone who loves food will find something to their satisfaction here. Whether you’re enjoying a breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, you cannot go wrong here – the food is delicious.

Not for: If it’s frills, foams and deconstructed dishes you hanker for, The Drumming Snipe is not where you’ll find them.

The damage: Saturday Brunch ranges in price from £9-14; Starters are from £7.50 -£14; Mains are from £14-19 and the Hoagies are 9.50. Puddings from £7-13. The Bottomless Brunch is an additional £20pp for unlimited Prosecco or Libations for two hours or £30 for Champers, based on ordering at least two dishes from the menu.

The Drumming Snipe, Guildford Road, Mayford, Woking, GU22 9QT

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