Cock a doodle do

There's plenty to crow about at the Cock Inn at Headley (hey, you at the back, no laughing)

As pubs go, The Cock Inn in Headley is not a pub you’re likely to forget in a hurry. And I’m not referring only to its, um, suggestive name.

The name – no doubt about it – will raise a snigger. Go on you dirty lot, get it over with. But there’s a lot more to get you talking about it too, from it’s pretty rural location in the Surrey hills to the good solid pub grub they serve up.

The Cock Inn is in a very sweet spot for a weekend walk/lunch combo, with Headley Heath  just down the road. The day we went, we packed the pooch and the kids into the jalopy and booked a later lunch at The Cock Inn so we could work up an appetite with a walk on the heathland. There are lots of different walks you can do – including a 13km round trip to Box Hill for those who are feeling particularly energetic.

For us Surrey Muddys though, an hour following the footpaths – and getting a tiny bit lost – was enough. And pretty soon the bluebells will be out in all their glory on the heath – so that would be a great time to visit – but even without a carpet of blue flowers, it’s a lovely spot, and a haven for dog walkers.

Back at The Cock Inn, dogs are made very welcome (there’s even a bowl of treats by the bar). The waiting staff were particularly lovely to our pooch (who, it’s got to be said, wasn’t the most well-behaved mutt the day we went.)

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

Inside, the pub has been divided into different eating zones with the long bar at its centre. There’s a dining room at the back, which can be booked for a private functions, catering up to 40 people, and various other nooks and crannies that give it a cosy feel. I really like the interior design, with its mix of wooden tables, papered feature walls, period features and simple furnishings.

Two years ago, the pub was taken over by new owners, given a spruce up an a grand re-opening (and this month to celebrate their second birthday they’re offering £10 off if you spend £40 with this voucher.)

Food wise, the kitchen offers the usual pub favourites (beef burger, ale and mushroom pie, fish and chips). When I visited a couple of weeks ago, we ate from the winter menu, but they’ve moved onto the spring menu.

And if it’s just drinky poos your after, there’s a good wine list, a choice of local ales and cider as well as all the spirits you can think of.

But let’s move back to the food. I went for the roasted sweet potato, spinach and goat’s cheese arancini fritters, which was on the winter menu and looks to have been replaced by a warm poached tarragon chicken salad on the spring menu. For a lighter wintery lunch, it was a good choice.

Mr Muddy went for the fish and chips, and Master Muddy 12, chose the beef burger. No one spoke much after the food came (unless you count the misbehaving pooch), so you can take that as a sign the food was good.


There’s also a children’s menu, which Miss Ten ordered from, and as you can see from picture below the meals are a good size for kids. At £6.95, I reckon it’s pretty good value.

We shared a couple of puddings: an almond and raspberry crème brûlée and a chocolate brownie – and all were lovely.

The Sunday menu looks good, with a choice of roast dinners (beef, chicken or pork), burgers (beef or chickpea and mushroom) amongst other tempting options (I quite like the sound of the roasted hake with crayfish, pea, green bean and Parmesan risotto).

When the bluebells come out, you’ll probably find me there one Sunday afternoon after I’ve been to Headley Heath. That’ll be me in the corner with the large glass of Sauv and a fluffy white dog at my feet.

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, 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 entrees between £5.95 to £8.95; mains from £13.95 for fish and chips through to £21.50 for 8oz Cattleman sirloin steak; sides all at £3 and desserts starting at £5.95 or £7.50 for cheeses.

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

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