The Winterton Arms
We sure get around on Muddy. In the nicest way, of course. But it means we stumble across many a lovely pub.
This gorgeous old pub is just outside Chiddingfold, on the road to Godalming. It looks a little like it should have gingerbread for a roof and candy sticks for window frames (or is it just me?). Inside it’s been recently refurbed to make the most of the space. It’s a bit like a tardis inside, with three separate eating areas. It’s been recently taken over by the team behind The White Hart at Witley, just a few miles down the road. I haven’t been to the White Hart (yet!!) but my sources tell me it’s a smashing pub.
This pub has a distinctly relaxed vibe about it and quite a cosy feel. The manager, Simon Head, is super friendly and will make you feel welcome. The decor is what I’d call modern rustic. The pub’s character and quaint charm is intact, and there’s a touch of quirk with splashes of pop art on the walls.
SCOFF & QUAFF
The food is a notch above classic pub grub. There’s a strong meat focus, with two sections – Burgers and Barbecue – dominating the menu. That’s not to say vegetarians and fish lovers have been ignored though. I’m not a huge fan of meat and was happy to find there was still plenty of choice. The menu is tweaked weekly, depending on what’s in season and available, and there are daily specials. Simon says they’ve tried to created a menu that’s not run of the mill. And with options like hot smoked Pichana steak, pork shoulder steak with Romesco sauce and apple kimchi, and trailer trash #rehash (that’s deep friend mac and cheese to me and you), it’s safe to say they’ve achieved that.
I went for the grilled halibut with pepperonata, olives and basil, with a side order of beetroot, fennel, celeriac and garlic aioli slaw. The fish was nicely cooked, and the slaw was crunchy and delish. It’s quite different to the usual coleslaw you’d get in a pub, but different is what this kitchen is striving for. And that’s a good thing.
I hadn’t planned on ordering pud, but what can I say there was a lemon and lime cheesecake roulade with a gin and tonic sorbet on the menu, and it just had to be done. This will suit those with a sweet tooth, it may have been slightly too much for me… although that didn’t stop me eating the lot. I loved the sorbet, which was light and citrusy and cheesecake is an old favourite.
Kids, dogs… they’re all welcome (dogs in the bar). And if there weather’s fine, there’s a fairly large garden too. Simon says there are plans to build some children’s play equipment, so watch out for that.
OUT & ABOUT
The National Trust’s Winkworth Arboretum is only a few miles away and lovely for pretty much the the whole year. Ramster Gardens, is also not far away, and is worth a visit. It’s a beautiful woodland garden of 25 acres, with a stunning collection of Rhododendrons and Azaleas. It’s not open all year round, so it’s worth checking the website before you go.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: A family lunch, groups of friends, couples, and gin-lovers. There are more than 750 combinations of gin and tonic available! Dogs are welcome in the bar area and there are water bowls and doggie toys provided too.
Not for: The white table cloth brigade, this pub feels relaxed and informal.
The damage: Perfectly reasonable for a pub lunch. It’s £6 to £8 for starters, with mains from £9 to £16. There’s also a set lunch menu that offer’s two courses for £15 or three for £18, as well as sandwiches (steak and grilled onions, £7; fish finger bun and dill mayonnaise £5). Desserts are around £7.