100 day aged grade A beef, Cod and Brie Fishcake, Crab & Celeriac Remoulade, Gastropub Staines, salmon, Smithfield Market, Staines Upon Thames Dining, Sticky Toffee Pudding, The Retreat Staines Upon Thames, Tom Hixon, www.surreyKitchen.com
Helping us banish the January blues, Surrey K were lucky enough to be invited to visit The Retreat a new Gastropub in Staines. It has been totally refurbished and has been up and running since 2nd December 2016. On entering the pub I was immediately impressed by the fresh contemporary interior design. The Retreat is aiming to be the epitome of what you’d expect in a good English gastropub.
Before refurbishment The Retreat was previously called The Anglers Retreat. The team have been clever in the design placing a partition between the bar and restaurant areas of the pub so that noise doesn’t spill over and disturb customers who are trying to enjoy a quiet meal. It was important to the management team to keep the old customers happy who wanted to continue to enjoy The Retreat as a quality beer led pub with sport in the bar area as well as expanding the gastropub part of the business.
There is a drink to please everyone at The Retreat, from a speciality gin menu, to wines, a cocktail menu, four real ales and a good selection of craft beers. My husband and I opted for Hendrix gin served with Fever Tree tonic water. The Hendrix gin was perfectly matched with cucumber to fully appreciate the infusion of rose petal and cucumber in this gin.
To start I chose Smoked Salmon, Crab & Celeriac Remoulade and my husband chose the Cod & Brie Fishcake, Pea Puree, Poached Egg & Hollandaise. The quality of the smoked salmon served was outstanding and the crab and celeriac remoulade was the perfect seafood twist. I would highly recommend this starter if you choose to visit. My husband said his fishcake was fresh and light and delicious with the pea puree, poached egg and hollandaise sauce.
For mains I decided to explore the steak menu as I had heard high praise about the quality of the meat sourced by The Retreat. 100 day aged Australian grass and grain fed grade A beef from Tom Hixon in Smithfield Market is brought in as a whole topside and then cut within the kitchen to the size required. I opted for the 8oz 100 day aged Sirloin with Blue Cheese sauce and a side of sweet potato fries. Rich and succulent it was a steak to remember. The retreat is worth a visit just for the steak menu alone plus there is a range of burgers to test the taste buds too.
My husband made a much healthier choice opting for the Superfood Salad with Goats Cheese, Quinoa, Kale, Avocado, Almond & Ginger Dressing. The salad was enormous. Not necessarily an option for the lighter appetite. The Quinoa was cooked al dente and the zingy ginger and almond dressing cut across the creamy goats cheese perfectly.
If steaks and salads are not your thing then there is an extensive pizza menu too. This is made even more fun by the duel fuelled wood-fired oven in the dining area, where you can watch your freshly made pizza cook. Choose from Margherita, Milano, Hot, Portobello, BBQ and Iman. The fresh pizza menu appeared popular with children during our visit leaving adult diners to enjoy their food in peace.
I went for the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert and Ross opted for the Lemon, Mango and Raspberry Sorbet. Sticky Toffee Pudding is probably my favourite dessert so I’m not an easy customer to please. Perfectly light in texture with a crumb structure that stood up when baked but collapsed in the mouth to a dense, sweet sticky, soft texture. The rich toffee sauce soaked into the moist pudding lending yet another delicious dimension to this tempting dessert. I will definitely be heading back for more Sticky Toffee Pudding. After managing to wrestle the dessert spoon out of my husband’s hand I can safely say that the sorbet is a delicious choice for anyone looking for a healthier choice of dessert.
The only thing that was sad about our visit to The Retreat was that due to the freezing January weather we couldn’t make use of the newly landscaped garden which will host events during the spring and summer months.
All in all the refurbishment has been well worth it. A friendly gastro pub offering fresh food of a high standard, table service, speciality gin, 4 real ales, craft beer and wines from around the world. A great addition to Staines Upon Thames.