bakewell tart, Chase pink grapefruit, gin, National Trust -Hatchlands Park, New Spring Menu, Nic Baba, Peach pubs, slow roasted pork, spring vegetable risotto, The Duke of Wellington East Horsley, Vietnamese raw vegetable and rice noodle salad
As the days lengthen and the sunshine returns Surrey K is setting aside comfort food, the heartier dishes of winter and looking ahead to the lighter, fresher tastes of spring. When invited to sample the brand new spring menu at The Duke of Wellington pub in East Horsley we jumped at the chance to share ideas and gain inspiration for our own Spring cooking.
Head chef Nic Baba has used the freshest seasonal produce to create his exciting new spring menu. This includes the earliest (and best) Wye Valley asparagus, day-boat fish fresh from Brixham, Yorkshire rhubarb and superb farmhouse cheeses like Rosary goats cheese.
I was tempted by the prawn cocktail, guacamole and tomato salsa to start. The spicy and smoky taste of the salsa is perfectly complimented by the creamy avocado making this no ordinary prawn cocktail! With golden and crisp tacos this starter will be even more delicious eaten outside in the pub’s glorious garden with a glass of something chilled.
My husband opted for the Vietnamese raw vegetable salad. With lots of crunchy fresh vegetables and rice noodles tossed together with lime and fresh chilli dressing this is a mega healthy and refreshing starter. An incredible dish that is made even more delicious by the addition of cashew nuts.
For main course I chose the spring vegetable risotto with seeded gran moravia crisp because the head chef had opted to use carnaroli rice which makes a higher grade of risotto. I wasn’t disappointed. With its higher starch content and firmer texture than arborio rice the carnaroli risotto was wonderfully creamy and full of the sweetness of spring onions and fresh peas.
Like other Peach Pubs, The Duke of Wellington sources most of its meat from Aubrey Allen, the queen’s butchers. Keen to sample some of the butchers high quality produce my husband chose the Slow roasted pork, chorizo and savoy cabbage for main course. Succulently moist this was some of the best slow roasted pork we had ever tasted. The smoky peppery chorizo added a spanish twist to the dish which perfectly paired with the sweet apple sauce and cider jus. As far as my husband and myself were concerned a star dish of Nic Babbas new Spring menu.
The Duke of Wellington like other Peach Pubs specialises in gin, and if like me, you love gin I urge you to try the Chase Pink Grapefruit. Floral and zesty, the gins tartness is followed by a kick of pink grapefruit. Served with Fentimans Pink Grapefruit tonic this is a spring cocktail you will not forget.
Keen to try the Yorkshire rhubarb I chose the Rhubarb and brandy snap fool for desert. Good crunchy biscuits are essential companions for fools. Perfectly crisp and delicately flavoured with brandy Nice brandy snaps are to die for. I didn’t think I would ever get so excited over a biscuit. The rhubarb is tart and the fool deliciously creamy. I predict this dessert will be a favourite this Spring.
My husband opted for the special of the day for dessert, Bakewell tart. With crisp buttery pastry, raspberry jam and a soft nutty sponge topped with roast almonds this classic is a real Spring treat. What surprised me the most was just how deliciously light the Bakewell tart actually was. Served with Judes Raspberry ripple ice-cream this is an outstanding dessert.
With mock-medieval turrets and decorative brickwork, the gastro pub is located in a beautiful and accessible corner of leafy surrey surrounded by picturesque walking routes including Hatchlands Park, National Trust.
The Duke of Wellington is just as impressive on the inside. With delicious food and drink, warm welcoming, spot on service the pub suits any occasion whether you are stopping off for a drink post-walk, or sitting down to a hearty family meal after entertaining the kids at nearby Hatchlands Park.
The pub has an exciting programme of events coming up with its first 8 Mile Menu on the 17th May celebrating local produce from this part of the world. Sunday 17th June is Father’s Day and what better way to say thank you to Dad than by spending it at the pub over a delicious dinner. If you fancy a flutter, then why not join the pub on Thursday 21st June for Royal Ascot Ladies Day and do it in style. After a champagne breakfast at the pub the party will travel to the racecourse for a fine day of racing in the Queen Anne enclosure to witness the historic Gold Cup.