Eat out: Inn on the Pond, Nutfield
A quintessential English pub in the Surrey countryside overlooking the local cricket pitch and watery marshes - food is homemade and comforting, and there's lots of it. Great for walkers and cyclist.
THE LOWDOWN / LOCATION
Tucked away down country lanes and adjacent to the Nutfield cricket pitch is a gloriously English pub overlooking a quaint little pond. This is a quintessential English pub if ever there was one – with a fabulous outdoor space in the summer months overlooking the cricket green, the pond and the Nutfield Marshes. And when the days and eves get chilly, head inside the cosy Grade II-listed pub – built in the mid 1600s – with low beams, wood-burning stoves and white-washed original brick walls.
It’s rustic and authentic – and oozing character and charm. In the warmer months, it’s all about the garden. If you’re lucky you’ll bag yourself a table overlooking the marshes and the cricket pitch – but it gets busy and the outside tables can’t be booked. The pub is popular with walkers (and dogs are more than welcome here) as well as cyclists. It’s right on the National Cycle Route 21 and there are also plenty of lovely walks in the Nutfield Marshes conservation area.
When it gets cooler, marquees are set up outside, perfect if you don’t want to bring pooch and his muddy paws inside. Inside, it’s all about the warm welcome and real ales. Frills and froth-free, there’s a homespun, rustic vibe – think woodburning stove crackling in the original inglenook fireplace, oak beams twinkling with fairy lights and a buzzy warm atmosphere.
The bar is to left as you walk in, and the original pub dining room is to the right. A later addition is at the back of the pub – a bright, more open dining room that’s popular with families and larger groups.
SCOFF & QUAFF
Proper pub grub is increasingly hard to find these days, but after a long walk on an inclement day, it’s just the ticket. Lasagne? Homemade pie? Fish and chips? Now you’re talking. There’s also an impressive selection of gluten free and vegan meals on offer. Food is fresh and home-cooked and generous in it portion sizes.
I popped in for a midweek girly lunch – just as the last vestiges of summer were fading. We nabbed a table outside, ordered a couple of vinos and perused the menu. As well as the all-day menu, there’s a separate gluten free menu, vegan menu, lunch menu (available from 12noon-4pm, offering baguettes, breakfasts and Ploughman’s platters) and a pizza menu.
I skipped starters, and instead went straight in for the vegan mushroom lasagne which comes served with garlic bread and a side salad. My friend chose the fish and chips. I couldn’t fault the lasagne – it was wholesome, homespun and also rather filling. My friend said her fish was well cooked with gorgeous crispy and golden batter, and the triple cooked chips were great.
You’d think after all that, we might skip pudding. You’d think! But no, they were just too tempting – and so Eton mess it was for me and a cheese cake with honeycomb and salted caramel for my friend. I can’t fault the Eton mess – it was everything it’s supposed to be, creamy, crunchy an filled with berries – but my god, the cheesecake was seriously to die for.
Absolutely – this is a great pub for families. There’s plenty of space outside to run of excess energy in small people, and the menus should suit even the fussiest of eaters.
OUT & ABOUT
Your spoiled for choice. The Nutfield Marshes are great for walks and wildlife spotting, and it’s great for cycling too. Or you may just like to sit back with a pint and enjoy the cricket.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Relaxed families, casual drop inners, Sunday lunchers. Cyclists, walkers.
Not for: Those looking for super-trendy interiors or a posh gastro experience.
The damage: Excellent value. Starters are around £6-£7; mains are £12-£15 or £20 for a sirloin steak; desserts are around £6.
Inn on the Pond, Nutfield Marsh Rd, Redhill RH1 4EU. Tel: 01737 643000