A little fun experiment with Restaurant reviewing….comments gratefully received!
When I first came to the Cricketers 40 or so years ago, you would walk in and approach a small hatch. You would knock on it and the barman/owner would open it, peer at you, ask you what you wanted, serve it, take your money and close the hatch. Even in those quasi mediaeval times it seemed a strange way to go about getting a drink !
Some years later it became a proper pub…and some years later still it was taken over by a husband and wife team who turned it largely into the success it has been ever since.
Brian died rather early and his wife, whose name escapes me, ran the place with a rod of iron, but the place thrived, and as Cobham was dragged, with actually very little resistance, into the upscale place it is today – given a further hefty if rather irrelevant shove by the arrival of a few Chelsea footballers some years ago – the Cricketers, at least to my mind has been ‘the‘ pub in Cobham, largely because of it’s unique location next to one of the largest ‘Village Greens’ in Surrey, which makes you feel you are more in the middle of rural Gloucestershire than 20 miles or so from central London. Dogs running around, children chasing each other and playing on the swings and even the odd horse-rider stopping by for a drink is surely the ‘stuff’ good country pub are made of ! The old adage Location, location, location couldn’t be truer here!
I have been there numerous times now. The place has been tarted up nicely, both inside and out. Astroturf has replaced lawn outside ( really not such a stupid idea!) and trendy grey mock-rattan tables and chairs give it the air more of a country club than a country pub ! The beer is served in smart glasses by smart bar-staff – my Peroni came in a lovely Peroni engraved glass, the wine in oversized rather sleek glasses (gone are the days when a ‘glug of wine would serve as a serving….all is now ‘measured’ carefully) and the ‘nibbles’…packets of crisps? Heaven forbid (though I think they may still be under the counter somewhere!) ..no, these days it’s dinky little packets of nuts.. cashews, almonds, ..here you can even order a packet of jelly beans with your pint ! You really feel in the lap of luxury…somewhere a bit special….and if you are offended or chippy about this sort of thing, mourning the loss of the great british spit n’ sawdust pub etc…..don’t bother coming…you will be offended and you will be chippy…it’s that sort of place!
Last night we had a full blown meal here. We started by ordering a single portion of brussels pate to share. Some mistake so I thought as what arrived was a Kilner jar of wonderful, smooth pate and 4 pieces of toast. Surely this is for a party of 4…I even checked but no, it was a single portion ! It was great…homemade? I don’t know, but it didn’t really matter.
The 4 pieces of breads were 4 different flavours…Olive bread, garlic bread, nut bread and another I couldn’t pinpoint. It all came served on a wooden board with a couple of Cornichons and a a few chopped chillies ! Knowing what was coming next we even gave some to BB, whom I was exercising with my left hand throwing balls etc…whilst eating dinner with my right !
I am afraid Caroline and I ordered the same main course. We for a few days now both had talked about how we fancied a nice old fashioned pie, and since one was one the menu well…we ordereded one each ! It was chicken and Leek pie with some (I think) stilton cheese! The crust was huge and crispy all the way through – not soggy underneath like so often – and the inside, or filling as I think it’s called, was wonderful. Lots of chicken, lots of thick sauce, lots of leek and lots of the other ingredient which I have forgotten. One improvement would have been the addition of some fresh tarragon – chicken goes so incredibly well with Tarragon – but all in all it was fine.
It came with some good mashed potatoes and a few vegetables. The only thing that really was not up to scratch was the gravy. I suspect some powder was used in it’s making.
I put my hands up when it came to pudding. But Caroline being the slight thing she is, always has room for one!
It was the good British standby Sticky toffee pudding. Purely in the line of research I had a tea-spoonful. The sponge was light, and the gooey toffee rolling down the sides into a pool at the bottom of the plate was wonderful and very toffee’ee!. It came with a side of ice-cream which made the whole thing huge and extremely unhealthy
So the Cricketers has come full circle. It is now the smartest pub in Cobham (though the refurbishment of the Old Plough by the station is going to be spectacular – I have an inside line there) but no pub will ever compete with it’s location right on Downside Green. Cheap it ain’t by any means – our meal for 2 with shared (but copious) starter, 2 mains and one pud, 2 pints and 2 glasses of wine came to over £60!! – but if you aren’t in a hurry, it’s a nice evening to sit outside and you have a bit of spare wad, I can’t think of anywhere in Cobham and the surrounding area to spend an evening…..at least until the Medicine Garden just down the road gets its act together and starts it’s long promised conservatory restaurant !
Previous dinner posts from Peter
- Another culinary highlight ... but of a different kind. - May 17th, 2013
- A saturday evening in .... - April 20th, 2013
- Fish pie followed by Peter's Tiramisu ! - March 19th, 2013
- Borough Market, London - March 2nd, 2013
- “There were Angels dining at the Ritz .... and the motor was parked in Berkeley Square” - January 26th, 2013