Menuwatch: The Victoria, Oxshott, Surrey

13 April 2022 by

As a cosy pub with a menu of elevated British classics, the Victoria brings delight to the people of Surrey and fans of independent eateries

A s a long-term Surrey resident, I've long been frustrated by the dearth of independent establishments across the county. Besides the four Michelin-starred restaurants and one or two excellent pubs, the area is dominated by chains serving all too familiar menus.

However, Matt Larcombe and Simon King have capitalised on the change in the working landscape brought about by the pandemic. They snapped up the Victoria in Oxshott and are now doing a brisk trade among locals, including employees no longer commuting five days a week who are eager to splash out on some seriously good food. The pub operates under King's consultancy group Igniting Hospitality, which he set up in 2020.

Salt chamber-aged tomahawk steak, bone marrow, triple-cooked chips
Salt chamber-aged tomahawk steak, bone marrow, triple-cooked chips

The past experience of Larcombe, chef-director, and King, operations director, speaks volumes. The pair met while working in senior roles at Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck Group. Larcombe was head chef of the Crown at Bray, while King has also worked for the Gordon Ramsay Group and Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group in New York.

Prior to the new owners opening its doors in August 2021, the Victorian-built pub – previously operated by the White Brasserie Company – was given a makeover, with burgundy wall paneling, stone flooring and a cosy fire.

The menu kicks off with a choice of seven snacks, which diners may order alongside apéritifs or drinkers can select to accompany a pint at the bar. Alongside smoked mackerel pâté, pickled cucumber (£5) and sourdough bread (£5), supplied by Gwyn's Bakery of Horsham, a couple of beer-battered oysters accompanied by seaweed mayonnaise (£7) feature the lightest of batters. "We use a mix of Beck's beer and sparkling water to create something that is a cross between a batter and a tempura," explains Larcombe. The same batter is used for fish and chips, featuring cod or brill with crushed peas and tartar sauce (£19/28).

Sticky toffee pudding
Sticky toffee pudding

Among the choice of five starters, a silky-smooth cauliflower soup is enriched with cream and enlivened by a crumble of Parmesan and almonds (£9), while the Loch Duart salmon (£12) shows off Larcombe's exemplary home-smoking skills and is served with sorrel and caper berries.

The four main course dishes are supplemented by a selection of steaks cooked on the charcoal grill, ranging from a 225g wagyu bavette (£18) from Trenchmore Farm in West Sussex, up to a 200g fillet steak (£42), dry-aged for a minimum of 28 days in a salt chamber by HG Walter. There are also two sharing dishes – monkfish (see panel) and salt chamber-aged tomahawk steak, bone marrow and triple-cooked chips (£125).

The pan-fried wild brill dish (£35, pictured) is accompanied by St Austell Bay mussels, potatoes cooked in seaweed butter, and a sauce Larcombe describes as "our take on moules marinière. We add white wine, garlic, cream and parsley to a mussel stock, which we put through a whipping gun to create a lighter consistency".

Forced Yorkshire rhubarb and custard
Forced Yorkshire rhubarb and custard

For meat lovers, the free-range pork collar steak is a good choice. The brined meat is slowly cooked in a water bath for 12 hours and pan-fried just prior to service. The roasted apple purée provides a traditional accompaniment to cut through the richness of the pork, while the sauce is made from a mix of chicken stock and roasted pork bones to which violet mustard, made from grape must, adds sweetness and a hint of spice.

Desserts, overseen by pastry chef Tracey Rutt, are a tour de force. "Tracey will often suggest a pudding which she will go away and create and then we work on refining together," says Larcombe. Rutt's creativity is highlighted in her version of a Snickers bar, described on the menu under its previous name, the Marathon bar (£15). A peanut parfait filled with dulce de leche caramel and topped with aerated chocolate pieces is a popular choice, which Grace Dent of The Guardian described as "a very, very good pudding", adding that she doubted she would eat anything finer this year.

The 60-seat restaurant intends to add a tasting menu, alongside the addition of a private dining room for 30 guests on the first floor and a covered dining area with a fire pit in the recently landscaped garden. I and my fellow Surrey residents could not be happier.

From the menu


Beef carpaccio, horseradish, parsley, radish, croutons £14

Mushroom parfait, sweet and sour onions, brioche £11

Smoked confit duck pressing, pistachio, fig, date £12


Roasted butternut squash lasagne, wild mushrooms, goats' cheese £20

Free-range pork collar steak, roasted apple purée, cavolo nero, violet mustard £18

Dayboat monkfish tail, beurre noisette, parsley, capers, cucumber (for two) £70


Forced Yorkshire rhubarb and custard £12

Banoffee pie, salted caramel ice-cream £10

Neal's Yard cheese selection, poached pear £12

High Street, Oxshott, Surrey KT22 0JR


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