The Old Bear

Surrey's favourite gastropub gets a makeover

Where? The Old Bear, Riverhill, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3DX  (01932 862116, www.theoldbearcobham.co.uk)

What tempted you out into the wilds of the Home Counties? Already a favourite with locals in the area, The Old Bear has recently been given a slick little makeover taking it from already-impressive gastropub to South East dining destination.

Time to break out the ties and diamonds then? Thankfully no, we’re still in country pub territory here, just with top-notch food and service to match the hearty food and country ales.

And if I’m not a beer drinker? The wine menu is extensive too, with a special ‘Enomatic Wine Preserving System’ to ensure all wines sold by the glass taste as fresh as newly opened bottles. Unusually for a country pub, there are also some great cocktails. Apple crumble martini, anyone?

So what’s on the menu? The Times’ esteemed restaurant critic Giles Coren described The Old Bear’s steamed wild rabbit and bacon pudding as being good enough to make you weep, but for those not in the mood for bunny rabbit, there’s plenty else to choose from. My smoked haddock fishcake with poached egg was, hand on my heart, the best fish cake I’d ever eaten, while the dripping-cooked chips (don’t even think about visiting if you’re on a diet) recently won ‘chip of the year’. If you’re feeling really hungry, you can pre-book a whole roast suckling pig for a cool £250 (we presume it’s to share).

If we skip the pig can we have dessert? We’d definitely recommend it. Classics like treacle tart or chocolate and hazelnut sundae are favourites with the Sunday lunch crowd, but if you’re looking for something a little more unusual, the peanut butter parfait with cherry sorbet, or mulled wine trifle with cinnamon granita should give you something special to mull over on the drive back home.

Need to know? The Old Bear serves lunch from midday to 3pm (or 4pm on Sundays) and dinner from 6-10pm (or 9pm on Sundays). If you want to eat in-between those times, the bar menu is available from midday through to 10pm.

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