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The Cock Inn

When the gluten-free menu is just as extensive as the regular menu, you know you've got something to crow about. Welcome to the Cock Inn.

THE LOWDOWN

The Cock Inn in Headley is not a pub you’re likely to forget in a hurry. Aside from its memorable name (go on then, snigger, you know you want to) there’s a lot more to talk about – from its pretty location in the Surrey Hills to the excellent menu that caters particularly well to diners with special dietary needs.

THE VIBE

The pub – part of the Red Mist family of pubs – underwent a major refub a few years ago, but the interiors have been keep deliberately traditional. Think bare timber floors, exposed brick open fire places, wooden beams and soft furnishings in mix of tartan and print.

There’s a long bar at its centre with different eating zones that flow into each other. A dining room at the back can be booked for a private functions catering up to 40 people, and there are various other nooks and crannies that give it a cosy feel.

As the days get warmer, you might be tempted by the fabulous courtyard which wraps around the front and side of the pub with great views out over the surrounding countryside. It’s a good-sized space, walled and fenced off from the carpark and road.

SCOFF & QUAFF

The menu here is a mix of pub classics such as battered haddock and ribeye steak and more adventurous offerings such as Confit Gressingham duck leg and courgette, chilli and ginger noodle salad. In line with any restaurant worth its organic sea salt these days, there’s a strong emphasis on local, seasonal produce and the quality of the ingredients shone through in the dishes. There’s also a separate gluten free menu which included many of those dishes that are often off limits for the coeliac or gluten intolerant among us, including home made pie and proper fish and chips with a real (gluten free) batter.

I went for the gin cured salmon with toasted rye bread and pickled cornichons while my friend chose the potted Gressingham duck rillette from the Gluten-free menu. We were both happy.

For mains, I went for the pan fried fillet of seabass which came on a crab, prawn and tomato bisque, with saffron potatoes and green beans. My friend – a coeliac – couldn’t resist the option of a pie, so rare is the opportunity to order a gluten-free version. And she wasn’t disappointed.

We shared a raspberry and coconut milk chia pudding, which was lovely. A decent coffee rounded off the meal and the feeling was very much, ‘when shall we come back again?’. Drinks wise, there’s a good wine list, a choice of local ales and cider as well as all the spirits you can think of.

KID-FRIENDLY?

Yep. It’s kid friendly and dog friendly, with a dedicated children’s menu. There are also treats available for your four legged friends.

OUT & ABOUT

The Cock Inn is in a very sweet spot for a weekend walk/lunch combo, with Headley Heath  just down the road. There are lots of different walks you can do – including a 13km round trip to Box Hill for those who are feeling particularly energetic. Epsom Downs Racecourse is also just a couple of miles away.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Relaxed foodies, Sunday lunchers, family walkers will all love it here.

Not for: There’s a lovely courtyard garden, but no real space for kids to run around. Although if you’ve just been walking at Headley Heath or Box Hill, this probably isn’t a problem. There are a few stairs to navigate to get to the front door, although there’s also a wheelchair lift, so access shouldn’t be a problem for pushchairs and wheelchairs, but it’s something worth knowing.

££: Mid-range I’d say with starters between £5.95 to £8.95; mains from £13.55 for fish and chips through to £24 for the Surrey Farm ribeye steak; sides all at £3 and desserts starting at £5.50 or £7.50 for cheeses.

The Cock Inn, Church Lane, Headley, Epsom KT18 6LE. Tel: 01372 377258. cockinnheadley.co.uk

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