Gorgeous setting. Decent main. Glorious puds.
There we go. Trying something new – reviews in under 10 words…
…oh please, do you think I’m even capable of doing that?! If you were going to charge me £1 per word, the length of my posts would probably shrink down pretty quickly but as you’re not, you gorgeous readers, I’m going to continue using all the words in the world!
So where to begin this one…on a train, venturing outside of the capital…
My beautiful KTT and her beloved JP have moved out of London. Yep, they are now country mice and very happy about it too. I love living in London but I also really appreciate having friends who don’t because then I get the best of both worlds…an amazing city to spend 75% of my time in and the opportunity to recover and regenerate for the other 25% in the birds-and-butterflies-in-green-fields countryside.
After falling in love with their new home – the bathroom is so pretty I almost shed a tear over the claw foot tub and the kitchen is so spacious and elegantly vintage that I nearly channelled my inner contortionist trying to prove I could live quite happily in the oven – spending the afternoon in their sun drenched garden moving only to refill cider glasses and snacking plates, and strolling through actual fields was a delightful way to pass the time.
Upon the recommendations of many others, dinner was booked for the Windmill in Windlesham, a self proclaimed ‘country pub and eating house’. KTT is close to becoming Mama KTT so menus and options are even more important than normal. Scouring the dishes listed and finding mention of prawns, blue cheese and egg is normally cause for celebration, however at the moment, it’s cause for ‘yum but in a few months time, what else is there please?’ And the answer is ‘quite a lot’.
A good choice of sharing platters was on offer – though like so many other places their menu writers accidentally put a whole boxed Camembert down on this list – and another time, when I haven’t overdosed on bread and hummus all afternoon, I’d dive into the starter selection trying the lamb carpaccio or even rock it back to the 70’s, pretend I’m in ‘Abigail’s Party’ and get down with a prawn cocktail.
Swordfish was my pick from the main menu though and serving it with tomato and pineapple with a side of creamed spinach instead of broccoli made me oh so very happy. Holidaying in South Africa since I was an 80’s child in pixie boots, ra-ra skirts and earrings so big they could be used to guide NASA astronauts home, has meant I’ve developed a real fixation on creamed spinach. It’s such a gorgeous comfort food for me and when I close my eyes and eat it, I’m back in my spiritual home. A staple of menus over there, I’ve never had it taste quite the same here but a slow round of applause to the Windmill, a) for offering it and b) for doing a pretty good job with it.
Overall, the dish was fair. Actually it was more than fair. It just wasn’t spectacular. The only time I’ve had swordfish before it pretty much blew me away so this portion had unknowingly high standards to live up to and it just missed the bar. It was a generous, chunky piece of fish but it was a fraction overdone. It took slightly more than a gentle tap with my fork for the meaty flakes to come apart and there was a chewiness that held on for just a second or two too long. The pineapple was bright, sharp and sweet and the tomato was deliciously charred and it definitely wasn’t an unpleasant dish to eat – it just didn’t quite match the expectations we had and that was the general consensus from the other diners of the other dishes too…a burger was juicy and thick with chips that were fat and golden and steak was well presented with slick, shiny, piping hot onion rings laid on top of it; both were good but none were oh-my-word-drop-your-forks-and-hold-the-phones delicious.
Fear not though Windmill lovers; if you think I’ve been harsh, you’re about to be mollified by my outright ardor and adoration of dessert. Sharing platters for dessert are a good idea if you want to sample a little bit of each thing without going overboard. A complete and utter lack of portion control has always been something that KTT and I wear as a badge of honour rather than an impediment though so we were relieved to see plentiful portions on the slates.
Creme brulee that was sweet, molten-but-perfectly-squidgy liquid gold with a wafer thin, burnished crust that cracked so satisfyingly when the spoon dipped below the surface.
Salted caramel chocolate pot that was eye-wideningly-spoon-clashingly-mind-alteringly delicious; this was the absolute winner for me with neither flavour over-powering the other. This, oh this, was the Richard Burton – Elizabeth Taylor of the sharing platter; indulgent, rich and the perfect blend of flash and class.
Gypsy tart which was new to me but after this sampling where I learnt that its key ingredients are evaporated milk, sugar and pastry, I’d like to think we have here the beginnings of a beautiful relationship.
Ice-cream cookie sandwich that proudly sat there in all it’s unashamedly old-school glory, creamy ice-cream peeking out from between dark, chocolately, chewy and crumbly cookie.
I’d make a return visit to the Windlesham in the hopes that their savoury food could next time match the sky high standards of the sweet but in truth, I’d also make a return visit for a glass of something bubbly and another fight over that sharing platter.
JP was generous enough to share this nugget of information with us…when she feels full and happy and contented and sated and slightly beached, KTT likes to lay on the sofa, think about all the utter deliciousness she’s full of that’s making it impossible for her to walk rather than waddle and sing ‘I just don’t know know what to do with myself’.
And so lovely reader, if you heard the gentle strains of Dusty Springfield echo through the carriage of a train headed back into London tonight, congratulations. You were in the presence of one full, happy, contented, sated and definitely beached lady reliving a perfect day spent with the country mice.