The Surrey Oaks Newdigate
I’ve been aware of the Surrey Oaks for a long time and I’d even been in there once before. The occasion being, I picked up a good friend from Gatwick Airport and they were desperate for real ale. (Due to living abroad, not the needing ‘beer for breakfast’ type of person!). The Surrey Oaks has a reputation of being a very good real ale pub. And certainly, this would appear to be borne out by the number of awards on the walls.
As usual on these reviews, we were not paid to do it, we paid for our own food and drink out of our own pockets and the staff had no idea we were reviewing! Therefore, I feel our review is exactly as you would experience when visiting the pub.
But sadly, your intrepid reporter doesn’t actually like beer. Therefore I can’t wax lyrical about the nutty flavour of one particular beer against the other. Indeed, if this had been a wine pub I would have happily sat and compared the difference between a Rioja Reserva and Gran Reserva from the same bodega.
But beer to me is a bit like not having a shower for two days, I’m scratching my head. So you’ll just have to believe the hundreds of people that come here for the beer! A solid 4 out of 5 on TripAdvisor. However, thanks to my expanding waistline I’m eminently qualified to talk about the food.
I’d class the Surrey Oaks Newdigate as good, honest, solid food and a sensible price. Also, I think the chefs and the management here have pitched it just right. This is traditional pub food. I went for the steak and kidney pudding which led me down memory lane as well as led me to undo my belt after eating it.
But the most pleasant surprise for me here was the home-made black pudding Scotch egg. It’s a starter which blew me away. As you can see in the photos below, it comes with a bit of rabbit food and some home-made piccalilli. I found this to be so good it was a repeat performance like The Plough at Coldharbour, I had the scotch egg for dessert as well!
Maybe this goes some way to explaining my expanding waistline? The fact that I sandwiched steak and kidney pudding between two homemade Scotch eggs. After that, I was extremely full and feeling fat. I kept a wary eye on the door just in case Greenpeace came into the pub, saw me for the whale that I am, rubbed me with lanolin and tried to roll me back into the sea.
As you can see above, my long-suffering other half and designated driver also accompanied me to the Surrey Oaks Newdigate. Tam went for the soup of the day as a starter and one of the specials board offerings, vegetable enchiladas. Delicious and spicy were the comments from her. And I’ve never been one to question her choices, especially as I was one of them…
The pub hosts a real ale festival during the summer and apparently, it’s well worth visiting if you are a real ale fan. But as I mentioned before, this pub does a lot of real ales and takes them very seriously!
It was CAMRA Surrey Pub of the Year 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018; Regional Pub of the Year 2006, 2014 and 2018. Yes, they do take their ale very seriously and it’s probably best not to ask what all the fuss is about! Also, the wine list is nothing to sniff about either.
Also, there is obviously a house Rioja. And I enjoyed two glasses of it. Also, with my final Scotch egg, I had a nice smoky Glenfiddich single malt. This is why, for me, life is better now. Not so long ago I went to a pub and asked for a glass of Rioja. They said;
‘ What is that?’
‘A type of wine’ I said.
‘ Well, we have two types of wine here, red and white’
I promise I am not making this up! Nostalgia is all well and good but now you have a choice other than Liebfraumilch and Blue Nun! And speaking of the olden days…
The building is old, some of it dating from the 16th century. And, as is the case with these old buildings, it has since been added to and expanded to over the years. Apparently, it became a pub in the 1850s, so quite new compared to some of the others on my Historic Pubs of Surrey list. But this one does fit the criteria for that list and it certainly the first specific real ale pub included in my Historic pubs of Surrey.
The beer garden is surprisingly spacious and taking into account the wonderful English summers that we get, it also has a good size covered area outside. I really liked this space for its outdoor fireplace and Chesterfields as well as good seating areas to make the most of a British summer in all its glory!
But as you can see behind, it also has plenty of grass for on the odd occasions when the sun does come out!
Click on the Google map below for directions to it. It is just outside Newdigate and below Dorking on the Sussex/ Surrey border.
Surrey RH5 5DZ
Surrey Oaks Newdigate – Conclusions
Indeed, the only small niggle I had with the Surrey Oaks Newdigate, was the lack of a door between the kitchen and the restaurant area. Even though they are doing their best with the extractor fans the smell of the deep fat fryer was quite imposing in the room we were in. However, don’t let this put you off, it is still well worth a visit. It’s the type of pub I remember from the heady days of my youth when anything was possible because you didn’t know your limits. But, as a reminder of my middle age, the Surrey Oaks menu and portion sizes showed me my limits in a very real and satisfying way.
More in my Historic Pubs in Surrey series
If you are looking for some Sussex pubs, click the link if you are looking for some Historic Pubs of Sussex
All prices correct at time of publishing.
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