The Grumpy Mole conservatory restaurant and terrace at the Inn on the Green in Tadworth is a stylish and sympathetic addition to the pub.
People were eating outside when we visited. However, we chose to dine in the stylish dining room which attracted us with its leather chairs, modern black and white and mirrored décor, fresh linen cloths, gleaming cutlery and sparkling glasses.
While perusing the menus we tried the house white – a worthy Sauvignon Blanc at a reasonable £12.95 a bottle. We did note that the well thought out list also includes impressive Rioja Reserve and Verve Clicquot.
A new Light Summer menu available at lunchtimes and from 5pm to 6pm features a wide selection of substantial mains and salads, but for those needing a quick gastro-experience, has also included tortilla wraps, hot paninis and oven-baked potatoes, baguettes and sandwiches with various fillings and garnishes.
Homemade quiches, homemade fish pie, homemade cottage pie and old-fashioned bangers and mash also appear on this appetising list.
Available at all times is the a la carte which features a wide and interesting range of starters, main courses and desserts.
For starters I decided on the mushrooms which were pan-fried in garlic and butter and topped with locally produced blue cheese from Norbury Farm. This was mouthwatering. I savoured the juice from the delicate mushrooms and accompanying sauce which was readily mopped up with slices of chewy fresh baton, also made in the restaurant's kitchens.
My companion deemed her choice of crevettes served in a garlic, lemon, butter and parsley dressing and served with rustic wholemeal, equally tasty.
We both opted for a fish main course although there was plenty of meat temptation including the slow-cooked minted lamb steak in a rich red wine, tomato and onion gravy.
However, my friend was glad to be lured to the fillet of seabass and prawns. This was topped with a piquant white wine, cream and dill sauce and accompanied with vegetables of choice. In this case new potatoes and a fresh and colourful salad.
"This is simply wonderful", was her comment.
I chose the salmon with asparagus spears. With this I indulged in some perfectly crispy fries and a selection of vegetables which included peas, mange tout, and ribbons of carrot and celeriac, the latter sporting a hint of fragrant coconut.
Two well-cooked and attractively presented meals that both of us marked 10 out of 10.
For dessert, I was impressed to see the sticky toffee pudding came directly from Cartmel – the Cumbrian originators of the dessert. My friend is still talking about it!
I was tempted by the home-made meringue with red berries, fruit coulis and clotted cream. The meringue was chewy on the inside, crisp on the outside and ate well with the solid clotted cream and fresh fruit. A dream of a dish to finish with.
The Grumpy Mole gets busy so book beforehand for weekends - it has most Saturdays evenings booked five weeks in advance.
Food: Traditional gastro-style
Price for two with drinks: £53.80p
Wine: Good choice
Service: Informative and helpful
Vegetarian choice: Limited
Bonus: Picturesque setting
The Grumpy Mole
The Inn on the Green
Photos: Danny Fitzpatrick