Muddy eats: Spring Tavern, Ewell

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If you read Muddy regularly you’ll know that I spend a lot of time reviewing pubs and have the waistband to prove it (just watch that baby strrrrrrretch). There are some places that immediately blow my mind, and I know that people will travel for miles and miles to get there – maybe the pub has a whopper garden, is in a stunning position, or the food is vastly superior.

But not every pub wants to be shimmying its tassels at customers, and there are plenty of pubs worth mentioning that have a more gentle allure. I’d put The Spring Tavern into that territory. It’s an elegant pub that is popular with the locals.

Inside the atmosphere is warm and contemporary after a relatively recent refurb. The furnishings play it safe with basic wooden tables and rattan chairs, crisp white wood work and inoffensive art dotting the walls. Nothing to sweatily instagram to your cool designer friends, but attractive enough in that classy gastopub way.

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I went with a girlfriend for an early dinner on a Saturday a couple of months ago – so forgive me if the details are a bit fuzzy. We had cocktails in the bar area to start with, and then moved across to the restaurant for a casual dinner.

The food here kind of does what it says on the tin. It’s homely, but tasty. No Michelin awards peaking around the corners but it’s a seasonal menu with the usual gastropub fare: fish and chips, burgers and spit-roast chicken. But there are also some more exotic dishes. I ordered the monkfish from the specials menu, which was probably pushing the gastro end of what I’d order at a pub, but it was elegantly put together. My friend ordered the king prawn, crab and chorizo linguini. The monkfish was cooked well enough, and my friend enjoyed her linguini.

A special shout out goes to the staff who, when my friend splashed a little of the tomato sauce on her white top, brought out a cloth and a small glass of wine for dabbing the stain. (And it worked!)

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On a Sunday, there’s an impressive roasts menu that includes beef, pork, chicken, lamb and nut roast… or if you’re especially hungry you can order the trio of roasts: beef, pork and chicken with Bramley apple butter, crackling and lemon and thyme stuffing wrapped in bacon. There’s also a lunch menu offering lighter bites, sharing plates and pizza.

This is the kind of pub that you know you can rely on. It may not be the first place you think of if you’re planning a dinner for a super-special occasion, but the staff are friendly, the food is good, and there is a pleasantly buzzing atmosphere.

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THE MUDDY VERDICT:

Good for: Groups of friends, meet-ups with the girls, relaxed family gatherings. The vibe in the pub is relaxed.

Not for: True romantics will struggle to get in the mood for love here.

££: Starters £4.95-£10.50; mains £12.95 to the £20 mark; £4.95-£6.50.

Spring Tavern, 1 London Rd, Ewell, Epsom, KT17 2AY. Tel: 020 8786 0121. springtavern.co.uk

 

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