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The Cricketers, Cobham

This gorgeous 17th-century inn just out of Cobham has a cosy bar and a bright and airy brasserie offering quality gastopub grub with a Gallic twist.

THE LOWDOWN / LOCATION

A gorgeous 17th century inn overlooking pretty Downside Common, about two miles (or five minutes’ drive) outside Cobham. It’s part of Raymond Blanc’s White Brasserie Company, having been brought into the fold a couple of years back, and suitable spruced up before a reopening.

Location-wise you’re in a sweet spot just a few miles from Cobham but in a pretty rural position overlooking the traditional triangular village green – which was once, I’m guessing, where the village eleven came up against other village teams with the ole bat and ball.

THE VIBE

Think country chic: log fireplaces, beamed ceilings, comfy armchairs and cosy nooks. I went on for a Friday lunch date with Mr Muddy, and with snow blanketing the ground outside it was the perfect spot to cosy up for an afternoon.

It was super warm, cosy and welcoming, with an open fires roaring in the inglenook fireplace. And despite the cold and particularly wintery weather, it was still bustling with people. In the summer, there’s a large outdoor area overlooking the green – the perfect spot, I’d say, to soak up some summer rays and sip on an icy G&T. If you’re on foot, or even horseback, there’s a place to tether your beast (I mean the pony, not the hubby). Water and treats are offered free of charge for horses and dogs alike.

SCOFF & QUAFF

Seasonal French-American cuisine is the order of the day as you might expect from a kitchen that’s part of the Raymond Blanc family. The open kitchen adds a touch of the theatrics to the main brasserie dining room at the back.

We start with a potted Cornish crab for him and the winter salad mezze for me – oh how righteous, I hear you jeer, but believe me, check out the portion size. If I wasn’t such an oinker, I could have eaten this alone for lunch.

But oinker I am, so off I ventured into mains – a fillet steak with chunky chips and a side of greens. I was nursing a minor hangover, and this was the perfect antidote. Also perfectly cooked. And perfectly divine. Mr M went for the Malabar fish curry, which was also lip-smackingly gorgeous.

Onto puds, and they were no less fab – a chocolate delice pour moi and a lemon posset for him. And while Mr M, a known chocoholic, did cast some obviously longing glances in the direction of my delice, he also seemed pretty content with his own choice.

KID-FRIENDLY?

Outside, there’s plenty of space for kids to run off some steam, but food-wise kids are also well catered to with the Henri le Worm menu – giving them a choice of a main with a side dish and pudding for £6.95. Older children will want to order from the Pub Grub menu, featuring half portions at half the price on selected main courses.

OUT & ABOUT

You’re close to RHS Wisley and Painshill, the stunning 18th-century landscaped garden. The well-heeled town of Cobham is nearby, with a variety of upmarket independent shops. Pop into Pip and Gray on Church Street for a gorgeous selection of women’s wear and quirky gifts.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: I can’t think who wouldn’t like this pub. Families will feel comfortable, couples, groups of friends, girly get-togethers, special occasions.

Not for: This is a classic village pub – albeit one with that has bags of style and character. If you’re after a more urban experience, I’d steer clear. You’re out in the countryside here.

The damage:  Starters are from £6.50-£8.70, mains start at £12-£20, with steaks around £23-£25. Puddings are £5.25-£8. 

The Cricketers, Downside Common, Downside, Cobham KT11 3NX. Tel: 01932 862105 cricketerscobham.com

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Surrey