Tag Archives: Surrey

The Real Turk, Woking

Like many, my passions include food (obviously) and travel, especially combining the two where the country’s cuisine weaves itself into the fabric of a holiday. A few years ago we visited Istanbul and enjoyed the best of both worlds, with the city’s history, culture and great food heritage it was a great trip. 

In Woking, we’d walk passed an empty restaurant, which was difficult to miss being next door to our favourite post-gym breakfast! Then suddenly spring signs of hope with a new signage and menu in the window for The Real Turk. The place opened recently and we popped in one Friday, arriving early (6:30pm) we took the opportunity to sit outside, making the most of a rare sunny evening. Menu-wise, there’s always lots of choice with Turkish food, plenty of starters both hot and cold, of course lots of meat, but also a wide selection of vegetarian options. 

As there was just the two of us, I didn’t fancy a selection of mezze, much preferring it when there’s lots of you to choose a table full of tastes and textures. So scrapping that idea, we went for two favourites – fried squid and hellim, I never knew that was the Turkish/Cypriot for halloumi! I found the staff chatty and eager to please with service speedy throughout, bringing the starters within a few minutes. Both of which are relatively simple things to, but can be overdone with just as much ease. However, these were really good – my squid came with the lightest of batters, covering flesh that was just cooked through, needing little effort to enjoy. On the side, the accompanying tartar sauce wasn’t too strong and acidic, completely different to what you’d get on fish and chips, thankfully as I can’t stand the stuff!! The halloumi came thickly sliced, charred till soft and gave a good squeak!

I’d spotted photos on their meat platters on Facebook, thinking we’d be fully prepared for it especially after our tasty experience in Dubrovnik, but was still taken aback at its size; especially as there was also rice and huge plateful of salad to contend with! From the outset it was obvious we’d struggle eating it all in one sitting, don’t get me wrong it wasn’t any fault of the food!!

Full platter w/ lamb shish, chicken shish, adana kebab, chicken wings and izgara kofte 

There are few things which are more enjoyable to eat than well cooked pieces of meat and here was a good example of that, my favourites the wings and kofte. However, the inevitable happened which was great news for me, as I ate the rest the following day! I’m really looking forward to going again and trying something else off the menu. 

The Real Turk

75 Commercial Way

Woking

Surrey

http://therealturk.com

White Hart, Witley

The White Hart is a 16th century pub found in Witley, a small village in Surrey for those of you, who like me, hadn’t heard of the place before and had no idea of where it was. Despite its age this pub’s definitely pushing the boat out and made the bold choice of veering off the tried and tested route of typical pub fare. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m always up for a decent fish and chips or Sunday roast, but if you’re expecting classic pub grub you’ll be disappointed.

We were pointed in the direction of the White Hart by my brother in-law and I can see why, a few years ago the menu became focused around burgers, barbecue, whisky and beer – enlisting BBQ Whisky Beer, winners of Ribstock in 2013 to devise a menu. A number of cultural influences including North American, North African and Korean to name a few have been taken on board, making the menu and interesting read and it doesn’t disappoint. So much so we revisited a few weeks after our first! Not only have they revamped the food menu, the drinks menu causes a bit of a stir too – expect craft beers, flights of whisky and unusually named cocktails, such as Hard Knocks & Slut Drops and Yuzu Nikka. Miso Horny?!

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Our two visits came at different times of the day – our first was a Saturday evening and the second a late Sunday lunch, so I think it gave me a good overview of what goes on at the White Hart. Now in a culinary age where burgers and barbecue have virtually been done to death, the menu pushes the boundaries making what could be a standard burger and barbecue menu into something a bit different from the norm. Diners will find a selection of starters, burgers, barbecue including their award winning Jacobs Ladder beef rib, sides including slaw, salads, mac and cheese. There’s always smoked ribs, 3 ways a B.O.T.M (burger of the month) and a special on offer too.
Here’s a summary of some of the dishes we had from both visits:

Scallops with crispy pork – a popular combination done well. The surf and turf elements were spot on – it’s hard to fault plump, soft scallops, cooked till barely translucent paired with salty, crispy bacon.

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Scallops, crisp pork, Thai garnish

Stunning Iberico pork ribs, juicy and tender with enough charring to add a smokiness to meat that fell off the bone. The pickle on the side working well bringing a little acidity to the plate. They were so tasty, in hindsight I wish I’d ordered the bigger portion!

Iberico pork baby back ribs w/ house pickles 
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Chicken wings, hot sauce, blue cheese and celery
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Crab cocktail, charred gem, fried avocado and nduja aioli

Spot on beef royale burger; perfectly pink, juicy patty cooked as stated by the waitress on ordering, topped with beef short rib slices which brought incredible smoky flavour and meatiness, a neutral cheese and a pickle to help cut through the richness. For me, burgers need to juggle a balancing act of flavours, juiciness and enough hold so it doesn’t fall apart and make a big mess. There was just the right amount of mess and give in the burger, where you could hold it intact to the last bite.

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Beef Royale burger – classic burger, short rib and portobello mushroom

B.O.T.M – Chinese burns on the beach; a fusion of asian and scottish by all accounts. May sound odd and even read odd on paper, but by all accounts made for a great burger – a classic burger topped with a haggis and black pudding fritter, hoi sin shredded duck, and bunny and fosters cheese. Unlike mine, the burger was a really messy one and definitely needed a knife and fork to tackle the beast.

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B.O.T.M – Chinese burns on the beach

Chicken shawarma – so much meat, seemed like half a chicken was on my plate, sat on top of a cucumber salsa, smear of hummus and a flatbread. The meat itself was juicy and delicately spiced, my favourite pieces are always the wings, thighs and legs rather than the breast and this was reinforced here. It was a large plate and I couldn’t eat it all, it didn’t go to waste though as the other half was happy to finish it off for me. If I was to fault it, it would be the flatbread, I found it a bit thick and would’ve preferred it on the side with the accompaniments, rather than on the plate where it became soggy from the hummus. 

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Chicken Shawarma

As much as the burgers and shawarma had gone down a treat, I reckon the stars of the show were the beef short ribs, which happen to be winners of Ribstock in 2013. The ribs cooked in a wood smoker were sublime, producing beautifully flavoursome meat where a subtle smokiness allowed the beef’s innate meatiness to come through. All that remained on the plate were two clean bones!

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Coal roasted sweet potato w/  dill aioli, black garlic 

The White Hart’s a great pub and definitely worth travelling to, with its relaxed coach house feel, friendly service and stand out food! I’ll be looking in the diary for our 3rd visit! 

The White Hart

Petworth Road

Witley

Godalming

GU8 5PH

http://whitehartwitley.co.uk

Latino Restaurant, Woking

Last Friday our house in Leeds FINALLY exchanged contracts and completed after 20 long weeks, so there’s a mixture of feelings going on right now! There’s a definite feeling of relief that it’s done, sadness of not living there anymore and the stresses that come with getting on the property ladder again, especially when it can cost at least double compared to what we can get in Leeds! We decided to nip out for dinner to put an end to a chapter as it were and popped into town, walking passed Latino Restaurant on High Street, it looked busy so possibly an indication for a decent feed. A quick look at their menu was enough to get our custom and within a minute we were seated near the bar at the back of the room.

Quickly ordering a bottle of wine we checked out the menu which was full of classic dishes, picking out a couple each. The place was pretty much full to capacity apart from a couple of tables so there was a good atmosphere.

 

The waiter who’d taken our order brought a plate of calamari to the table and started to walk away, as much as I like squid I’d ordered arancini so quickly called him back and explained the problem. There was a look of confusion, then he frantically scanned his order sheets to check what he’d written. With all the panic, I didn’t want the squid going to waste and said I’d swap it instead. Considering it wasn’t what I’d ordered it would still have been in my top three picks, they were great – lightly crisped and tender flesh that came with a yummy garlic mayo. A good size portion, but for £7.50 I’d expect it to be. The Bocconcini arriving well after I’d finished the calamari, a shame because it couldn’t be faulted on taste – the salty Speck ham and melted creamy mozzarella working really well together!

Calamari fritti
Bocconcini

So far there’d been confusion over orders, delays in service, but the food had been great and the staff kept apologising for mistakes. Next up were the main courses, once again a lengthy wait and another error! I was just about to tuck into my risotto when the other half said his dish was wrong – he’d ordered veal not pasta!! This time both dishes were taken away, I didn’t get a hint of a mussel or even a grain of rice….gutted! Deja view ensued….order tickets were checked, the waiter even showed us, what he thought was our ticket had two different dishes on it! Had we got another tables order?!

When new dishes were brought across they’d got it wrong AGAIN – he’d brought the wrong veal dish!!! He was expecting veal with gorgonzola cheese sauce and potatoes, NOT mushrooms and a marsala sauce! This time the same waiter scooted off so quickly we couldn’t be bothered to tell him the fault again. On taste it was full flavoured, if a little too rich from the marsala, whilst my risotto was good and didn’t taste like it was the original one left under a heat lamp, it hadn’t dried out and the seafood was juicy. 

Vitello al Marsala
Risotto frutti de mare

The other half was still a little hungry and he’s a sucker for a good panna cotta, it’s not my bag I always think it reminds me of blancmange! Yay, at last no issues this time – it was smooth and creamy with a great wobble.  

Panna cotta

Overall we couldn’t find much fault with the food, however with all the mishaps it put a downer on the meal. They tried to make amends by offering limoncello shots and lots of apologies. When the bill came, service was included and we stupidly paid it on this occasion, but if I was to go again and the same happened, I wouldn’t!

Latino Restaurant

44 Commercial Way 
Woking 
Surrey 
GU21 6HW

http://www.latinowoking.com

Sunday Lunch @ Tante Marie Restaurant, Woking

The last few weeks I’ve been slowly settling into my new surroundings and still on the hunt for great places to eat. At the moment Sunday mornings are spent either at the gym (other half), or running like a lunatic around the park trying my best to concentrate and stay on two feet, especially as the Berlin marathon is just over three weeks away!! I’ve got a healthy appetite at the best of times, so you can imagine after running for a few hours the need for something filling, hearty and tasty. Located on Woking’s pedestrianised high street is Tante Marie Restaurant, in these parts the establishment is known for its culinary school status – the oldest independent cookery school in the country no less, but a few months ago it opened a restaurant to show off some of the talent it nurtures.

The restaurants dining room is decked out in an informal yet stylish manner with smart wooden tables, comfy leather backed chairs and cool industrial style lighting – definitely a nice place to spend a few hours in. On Sundays there’s a set menu with two courses (£20) or three courses (£25) and as gluten free choices are important for the other half, we quickly checked with the kitchen what options were available. Fortunately there was good news with most dishes being GF or could be adapted to suit, so both of us went for two courses, surprisingly I went for a main course and dessert finding the idea of pink grapefruit and gin granita too irresistible.

Rabbit rillettes with gluten free croutes and salad started the lunch off well, the rillette still had substance and the rabbit came through subtly. The bread was a pleasant surprise and actually had the taste and texture of bread, unlike most we’ve tried which have been really tasteless and very un-breadlike! The rillette was an unexpected choice as pineapple is one the other half’s food hates, however it went well with the rabbit and helped cut through any richness, without masking its delicate flavour. 

Rabbit rillettes with gluten free croutes and salad

As far as roasts go the meat on both plates was beautifully cooked, portions were a little stingy though – just two slices of beef and a breast and a leg from a poussin, so hardly the largest of birds. Maybe I’m doing them a disservice as far as my plate goes as there was also some bacon and a chipolata alongside the chicken. The extras did their best to make up for it with a summery bowl of veg, roasties, mash, parsnips and the Yorkshire that were all done well. I’m a gravy lover, so there definitely could’ve been more and a gravy boat on the side would’ve pleased both the haters and gravy lovers amongst us. The bread sauce was fine and the horseradish cream needed more punch, it was far too polite and deserved a whack more heat! The Yorkshire was crisp and light, not the biggest but it did the trick, I always feel sorry for my husband as he has to go without and his roast dinner ends up looking a little lonely without one. In hindsight I wish I’d been quicker off the mark and suggested having his on my plate instead, considering it was still being paid for.

Topside of beef with spring onion mash, parsnips and roast potatoes

Roast poussin with bacon rolls, chipolata, spring onion mash, roast potatoes, parsnips, bread sauce, greens and Yorkshire pudding.

I was determined to finish lunch off with the granita that’d caught my eye early on and my decision was fully justified – absolutely no negatives with the dessert, I loved it! For someone who’s not really a fan of heavy puddings this was perfect – refreshingly sharp with pink grapefruit balanced by the sugary meringue, the cheeky hit of gin making it even better still.

Pink grapefruit and gin granita with crushed meringue

Overall, I really liked Tante Marie – there’s a good standard of cooking and waiting times are reasonable. The space is modern, formal without feeling stuffy and the staff are friendly and helpful. I’m sure it won’t be the last time I visit, I just hope they’re more generous with the meat on a roast and have a bit more punch to some of the additional extras. 

Tante Marie Restaurant

High Street

Woking

Surrey 

So’s Kitchen, Woking

I’m very slowly working my way around Woking, trying to find tasty independents to get fed and wondered if there was a decent Chinese in the area. I’d seen a Chinese restaurant called So’s Kitchen near Woking train station and after a little research that was wholly positive I suggested going for lunch. Stepping inside it was kinda refreshing not seeing the traditional red and gold interiors and was quite modest in comparison. The menu had classic dim sum, a lunch menu with both rice and noodle dishes then an a la carte menu, no surprises to catch you out and all pretty standard stuff.

Lunch started really well with dumplings – tasty pot stickers filled with pork and prawn, nicely charred on the bottom and polished off in a couple of minutes. The ha gau dumplings were juicy, lovely and translucent, however I’ve had plumper ones with more filling.

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Off the lunch menu there was a pork and rice dish that my husband fancied, the pork was of the char sui variety and tasty, however the rice was very very dry, I may be wrong but it’s like the rice was precooked, left to go cold so it loses moisture then used for the dish. I know this is often a method used to keep the grains separate but it did seem overly dry. I was, as always completely predictable with my choice – beef ho fun noodles! If I’m honest unless it’s a full on dim sum affair, being a creature of habit it’s what I ALWAYS order; they were ok, no more than that.  For me, a great beef ho fun has a delicate balancing act between soy and oiliness – too much oil makes it messy, too little makes it bland and dry. Finally the beef should be tender and soft. I love the oiliness of the dish, but these rice noodles didn’t have the glossiness, were a touch dryer and not as moreish.  It wasn’t saved by the seasoning either as it was lacking, the beef was bland and had lost tenderness.

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Overall it was ok, saved by the dumplings which was the highlight and I couldn’t fault the friendly and efficient staff. It was a bit of a shame, especially after reading lots of positive stuff on the web, I should probably revisit at some point, probably for the dim sum.

So’s Kitchen

1 White Rose Lane

Woking

Surrey

GU22 7AA

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sos-Kitchen/127966857252270