10 things you didn’t know about The Inn @ West End
- Credit: Archant
A regular fixture on Surrey Life’s best pubs lists, The Inn @ West End has long been a destination for those who appreciate good food and wine. As owner Gerry Price reveals, however, there’s still plenty of surprises in store
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2015
1 Whilst never shouting about it, The Inn has gained many awards over recent years in recognition of its food, service, wine list and all-round loveliness. Our most recent accolade was head chef Charlie Dingley’s appearance in the finals of Game Chef of the Year at Blenheim Palace. His venison dish was extremely highly regarded by judges and fellow competitors alike.
2 Our recent refurbishment has expanded our bar and dining areas, as well as refreshed the décor and facilities. My wife, Ann, has impressed all with her interior design skills, giving the place a modern yet comfortable feel throughout. The new bar has more room for drinkers to sample local real ales (Thurstons in Horsell is just down the road) or enjoy a single malt from our extensive top shelves. Our new private dining room has a lovely ambience.
3 There are finally rooms at The Inn! Having always intended them, we have finally been able to ‘go residential’. Twelve boutique en-suite double rooms have been built in a stable block at the back of the site. We expect them to be popular with business clients wanting high-quality accommodation close to local business hubs, as well as diners from further afield who appreciate our reputation as a destination foodie Nirvana who can now justify the trip. Weekend dining deals, which include three-course dinners, are part of our residential package.
4 We cook our own food. It might sound strange to point out, but cooking everything from scratch is extremely rare these days. Stockpots are always on the go to produce the incomparable depth of flavour in all our sauces. We pluck and butcher all our game in our game preparation room, and our pastry chefs produce all our desserts. The ice cream – super-premium Amore di Gellato – is our only concession to others’ skills! Breakfast features our own baked beans.
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5 The Inn has an outstanding relationship with the shooting community, especially through our proximity to Bisley Shooting Ground, and close links with those ‘in the know’. Our gun safes allow shooters to store their guns safely whilst enjoying a hearty, relaxing lunch post-shoot.
6 Our house wine, Labradouro, really is our own. Brought over from the Douro valley in Portugal, we’ve branded and labelled it ourselves. My love for Labradors and the Douro wine region gave birth to the unique name. 7 Much of the game at The Inn comes from the Royal Estate. Pigeon from Windsor Great Park and grouse from Balmoral are especially popular in season, alongside partridge, pheasant and woodcock shot by either myself or friends.
8 Our on-site wine shop is perfect for browsing. We allow any bottle bought there to be drunk in the restaurant/pub for a small corkage. We are particularly strong on Portuguese and Spanish wines, as well as Pinot Noir and Clarets. We love to showcase undiscovered regions – the Slovenian embassy has been known to send buyers our way. Dinners featuring visiting winemakers are regular fixtures in our busy events calendar, alongside charity dinners and theme nights.
9 Al fresco dining is popular when the weather allows. Our garden has been called ‘the best-kept secret in Surrey’, featuring gorgeous hanging baskets and a vine-adorned terrace. From April, the newly landscaped garden will be available for guests to enjoy.
10 Our staff are multi-talented. Vicky designs and makes jewellery, Rhys is a qualified nutritionist, Ann offers reflexology in her own treatment room, Anna writes poetry and Holly is a graphic designer. Regulars appreciate the jovial banter offered by Inn staff – don’t be surprised by laughter filling the building as we do like to enjoy ourselves!
• The Inn @ West End, 42 Guildford Road, West End, near Woking GU24 9PW. Tel: 01276 858652. Web: the-inn.co.uk