Aubrey Allen, British Asparagus season, Charred purple sprouting broccoli, Clonakilty black pudding, Cornish lamb cutlets, Jimmy Butlers pork sausages, John Taylor, Ray Brenner, Shere Drop, Spring arrives at The Richard Onslow - Cranleigh, The Richard Onslow Cranleigh, The Richard Onslow's Spring menu, West View Farm, www.surreyKitchen.com
The Richard Onslow’s new spring menu is packed with seasonal favourites including Cornish lamb cutlets, charred purple sprouting broccoli, maple syrup glazed ham hock and iced rhubarb and custard parfait.
SurreyK were lucky enough to chat to owner John Taylor and head chef Ray Brenner to learn more about the foodie pub that has quickly gained itself a reputation for delivering the best seasonal dishes for miles around. The focus on seasonal ingredients means the pub’s team can buy the best produce when it’s at its best price. This way they’re able to keep prices sensible even though they are buying top quality ingredients.
Head Chef Ray Brenner joined The Richard Onslow after working at its sister pub The Chequers in Hampshire where he was named craft guild of chefs best pub restaurant chef last year. Ray said he is very lucky to work with the Peach group of pubs because they understand the importance of buying the best ingredients.
Modern and elegantly dressed, The Richard Onslow still retains the period features of the historic building making corners of the pub intimate and cosy. It’s been a pub for over a hundred years and you can see it in the snug welcoming architecture.
The Richard Onslow is open all day, serving breakfast from 7am on weekdays and 7.30am at weekends. Customers can pop in on their way to work for a Flat White or a Cinnamon & Caramel Latte, enjoy a breakfast of Jimmy Butlers Pork Sausages or American style pancakes served with seasonal fruit and natural yogurt.
I had the devon crab, avocado and lobster mayonnaise to start. The creamy buttery texture of the crab meat and mild nutty accompaniment of avocado made it the ideal starter ahead my main of Cornish lamb cutlets. My husband loves crab but it’s not top of my list however this starter was something to savour.
The other half chose Croquets of Clonakilty black pudding served with apple and cider chutney and a baby leaf salad. We went to Clonakilty in Ireland, for our holiday last October (What a glamorous life we lead!!), so hubby was keen to get stuck in to the black pudding croquets!
Ray explained the reason this dish is so special is that Clonakilty black pudding is made from beef blood not pig’s. Beef blood makes the meat richer and gives a depth of flavour that pig’s blood doesn’t. Clonakilty black pudding has a reputation for being the best back pudding you can buy. Hubby was certainly convinced!
The Richard Onslow uses Award winning butcher Aubrey Allen also famous for being the Queen’s butcher. The Cornish Lamb Cutlets served with Broad Bean Houmous, Parmentier Potatoes and Tomato and Mint Salsa were outstanding. Ray uses Cornish lamb because of the granite in the area, which makes the grass sparse meaning the sheep have to work for their food. This makes a huge difference to the quality of the meat as well as giving the lamb a rich, herby flavour. Therefore he can serve a simple dish of lamb cutlets with broad bean houmous and potatoes and it’s stunning because the meat is doing all the work as opposed to the other ingredients in the dish trying to bolster average meat.
Ray believes Aubrey Allen is one of the best butchers around because Neil (head butcher) is always trying to find new cuts of meat – which is almost impossible to do. Neil has reinvented the wheel slightly with the maple cured gammon rib eye, which had our mouth’s watering – and we put on our list to order on our next visit!mm
Ray explained to us that he pays close attention to what is trending in America and Europe when he begins planning a new menu. The real challenge for him is to then try and siphon out something from this that works for a British gastro pub. Blackened vedge is trending at the moment so he chose to include a Charred Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Broad Bean and Chickpea Salad on his spring menu. The Richard Onslow uses local vedge supplier West View Farm.
The other half chose Aubrey Allen’s 28 day 6oz rump steak, served with spring onion mashed potato, roasted cherry tomatoes and Cropwell Bishop Blue Cheese sauce from the specials menu. The Richard Onslow is quickly gaining a reputation for serving some of the best steaks around and we couldn’t agree more.
The menu outlined that Aubrey Allen’s steaks are selected from the best British grass-fed beef herds and dry aged for 28 days for superb flavour and tenderness. It was cooked crisp and intense on the outside and perfectly medium rare to our liking, the rump steak literally melted in the mouth.
The Richard Onslow is worth a visit just to sample the Cromwell Bishop Blue Cheese sauce, which I can say _hands down_ is the best I have ever sampled. Ray explained that starting with a roux based sauce before you add the cheese is what makes all the difference and stops the sauce from being too heavy. Hubby was V.Happy!
For dessert I had the Sticky Toffee Pudding served with Vanilla Ice Cream, a favourite of mine. Hubby complained that taking good photos of sticky toffee pudding is super tough, especially in low light, but it’s one of my favourites, so I told him he’d just have to manage!
The other half had the Lemon Posset served with Raspberries and Pistachio Tuile. The tart yet wonderfully creamy lemon posset makes the perfect refreshing spring dessert.
Drink wise we had a Bellini and a pint of the excellent Shere Drop to start, then a bottle of the house merlot which was very good for a house red. The Onslow also takes its gin very seriously and has a great selection. Sadly we were driving so we had to pass on the gin. The pub has a small number of exclusive rooms for overnight stays. We should’ve booked one, then we could’ve done the spirit selection justice – we know for next time!
The foodie pub is also offering an exciting series of Spring events. On Thursday 7th April you can ‘Meet the Butcher’ – join John and Ray for the night trying unusual cuts of steaks, each paired with a complimentary glass of red wine and a talk from the award-winning butcher Aubrey Allen.
Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th April – ‘Best of England Weekend’. The Onslow is celebrating all things English with a weekend of fabulous English specials, Gin tasting, Charcuterie talks and tasting with David from Capreolus, Morris Dancers and a truly English Bake-off. Rubbish double entendres banned though!
Saturday 28th to Monday 30th May – ‘Beer Festival Weekend’. Make the most of the long weekend and enjoy some classic pub grub with a super selection of beers.
To celebrate British Asparagus season The Richard Onslow will be serving spears of asparagus with hollandaise sauce, grated egg and parmesan as a really simple but delicious starter. SurreyK will definitely be popping back for this one!
Check out Ross’s 360 degree googlesphere (works on computers only – macs or PCs – for mobile users, search for the Richard Onslow on the street view app and you can access it from there. I know! I know! Annoying! – Take it as read, a stiff letter of complaint to the powers that be of the internet has been sent).
Overall The Richard Onslow is an outstanding pub and restaurant. It’s not the cheapest place to eat but it is tremendous value. You would pay twice as much for the same food in a London restaurant. The food here is some of the best we’ve ever has had.
Get down there and check it out for yourself!