Oxshott is located a mere 25 minutes by train from Clapham Junction, a fact we didn’t think was worth knowing until we visited The Victoria, a very lovely British gastropub in the well-to-do Surrey village. On the surface, you could be tricked into thinking this neighbourhood patch isn’t much more than a cosy British boozer, and while you could quite easily drop in for a pint served with a smile, its culinary prowess really begins with a dinner reservation.
We arrived to a packed-out restaurant on a Saturday evening, where tables of two to ten were occupied for occasions spanning date nights to birthdays. Part of the pub’s charm is its ‘everyone’s welcome’ atmosphere, accentuated by rustic décor and a roaring log fire that says ‘come, stay, eat, drink’. In many ways it’s deceiving, because the played-down interiors don’t prepare you for the level of cooking you’re about to experience.
We started with a duo of crisp beer-battered oysters served alongside seaweed mayonnaise, a mere two bites, but enough to make you sit up and take notice. Starters included an aeriated mushroom parfait with deeply golden brioche and sweet-yet-tart caramelised onions to cut through the rich mousse. The prices of the mains are enough to jolt you back to reality, which start at £20 and only journey upwards, but once you’re knee deep in snacks and starters, there’s not much point in turning back. Expectations were further surpassed with an open lasagne layered with roasted pumpkin, mushrooms, and a creamy goat’s cheese moat, while crisp-skinned seared brill arrived in another rich sauce you could happily bathe in.
The plates are expensive, yes, but the portions are generous. Room was made, however, for a Marathon Bar-inspired mousse with a crunchy wafer base and peanut biscuit topping – exceptional. Although our favourite was the rhubarb and custard, which combined buttery sponge, crème brulee and a rhubarb sorbet. To drink, there’s wine, and lots of it (there were two-and-a-bit pages for the reds alone). And finally, a word for the calm and composed staff, who were skillfully attentive without being overbearing. An utter delight all round.