The William Bray Bar and Restaurant, Shere Lane, Shere, Guildford, Surrey GU5 9HS
Only in Surrey would you find a pub owned by an ex-formula one driver. The William Bray in Shere, formerly the Prince of Wales is run by Julian Bailey, and he’s bought his memorabilia with him. The walls are adorned with black and white photos from his racing days. Next door is the White Horse pub, famous for the film The Holiday in which the village was the location. Now you know where I’m talking about, right?
We popped in one Sunday for a roast dinner with family. It’s been a long while since I had a roast in Surrey, I almost fell off my chair when I saw the price for the roast beef was a hefty £17.95! £17.95! Seeing as it was a Sunday, the bar snacks weren’t on offer so we went with the slightly cheaper roast, the Roast loin of pork for £15.50.
My roast was huge and swimming in the most unusual gravy, a rich, tarry black sauce with caramelised onion. I am still undecided as to whether or not I liked it. The pork itself was veering on the tough side, but it tasted of good quality. Nice crunchy veg and a sweet carrot puree, fab crunchy roasties and an unusual sprinkling of pea tops.
Ade’s Battered haddock, hand cut chips, pea puree, tartare sauce £14.95 was very well received, he wanted a roast also but refused to fork out almost twenty quid for one. The fish was snow-white and fall-apart fresh, the batter crispy yet not greasy. My dad suggested I tried the local wine, the Silent Pool Rosé, produced down the road near my childhood home at the Albury Organic Vineyard. A lovely light and fruity wine, gentle like it’s namesake, an eerie quiet pool just off the A25. The local ale Shere Drop from the local Surrey Hills Brewery also went down a treat.
Legend has it Agatha Christie disappeared at Silent Pool, her car was discovered at nearby Newlands Corner. Although my brother, a prolific Googler insists her car was found at the top of our lane. After vast publicity she was found, claiming to be suffering from amnesia, in a Harrogate hotel.
Talking of Newlands Corner, no trip to these parts are complete without a trip here. A stunning area of Surrey countryside, with magnificent views of the downs, a childhood haunt and one of my most favourite places in the entire world. And you can get a burger and chips for less than a fiver at the cafe there, run by the same guy from when I was a child, I feel another post coming on…
Back to The Bray, we were too full for desserts, and were off for Thai canapés at the launch of nearby Patrie, so we skipped dessert. The Shere delight, crushed Oreo biscuit, caramel cream, hot Mars Bar sauce £7.95 did sound pretty tempting though. Maybe next time when my dad’s buying…
Now this kind of thing only happens in small villages, as I was drinking my Silent Pool, the vineyard owner Nick Wenman walked in for lunch. We spoke about how his Silent Pool Rosé 2011 is a favourite of the royals, it was a wine chosen to be served on the Royal Barge, Spirit of Chartwell, for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, what an honour!
Hanging on the wall by our table, amongst the sporting paraphernalia, was a picture of George Clooney in the pub with the staff taken by my dad. George walked in one day whilst checking out locations for a film and my dad just happened to be there. Although by the sounds of it he’s there pretty much all the time, my dad, that is, not George Clooney.
A lovely place and good service from the hard-working young staff. This is no stuffy pub. Just a shame it’s so expensive, but then this is Surrey after all…
Opening times: 10am every day serves lunch until 3pm and dinner from 6pm.
There is a snack and sandwich menu between 3pm and 6pm.
On Sunday there is a special ‘roast’ menu and food is served from midday until 8pm.
Nearest station: Gomshall
Thank you to © John Powell at Albury Visual Services for the additional photographs. www.johnpowellavs.co.uk