48 High Street, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9QY
Go there for: Contemporary organic dining and award-winning products in the shop.
Avoid: Comparing the Esher branch to their mothership in the Cotswolds.
Is it worth the calories?: Every last mouthful. Seasonal, organic and sustainable, it’s a rare treat on any high street.
Tips: Check out their distinctive website before you visit and leave time to shop.
A recent visit to a friend included lunch at her favourite haunt: Daylesford Organic farm shop, restaurant and spa at Kingham, in the Cotswolds. It was love at first sight for me too! It has stunning grounds, an outdoor wood-burning stove and award-winning unpasteurised cheeses made from the farm’s organic milk. This is a rare and hard-to-duplicate model as most of food sold is from their organic farm.
A branch of Daylesford has just opened in Esher. The farm shop sells pre-packed cheese and charcuterie, breads and pastries and a smattering of home-wares. The artisan bakery in Kingham bakes the bread and pastries and delivers them at the crack of dawn each day. Coffee is locally roasted by Union.
In the polished restaurant we struggled to narrow down our choice to one plate each. I eventually chose from the specials board knowing that ‘special’ means ‘seasonal’ here. The pricing reflects the farming methods and while £49 for an Aberdeen angus rib of beef with salad leaves and chips for two might sound pricey I challenge anyone to find steak and chips for £24.50 a head made with entirely organic ingredients anywhere else. I chose their organic free-range chicken with confit shallot and savoy cabbage (£14), knowing that this was top-quality and with faultless provenance. The chicken had been jointed and rolled so the skin was crispy and the flesh juicy. The meat and gravy had depth of flavour and complemented the base of cabbage and melt-in-the-mouth caramel-sweet shallot. My son picked the Aberdeen Angus burger with tomato, cheddar, gherkins and red onion (£13). The bun was rustic and tasty, the thick skin-on chips crunchy and the meat deep and juicy.
Luckily we had room for pudding. I usually like to share but when I saw the salted treacle and ginger tart with vanilla ice-cream (£6) I decided to go solo. My chocaholic son, predictably, went for the chocolate nemesis (a River Café classic) served with vanilla cream. The oven-warmed treacle tart was insanely good and the short, melt-away pastry a benchmark for perfection.
The dark, rich nemesis was also top notch. Coffee to finish hit the mark; our visit was a total success from the attentive staff to the professionally delivered menu.
Maybe that’s not a surprising verdict.
01372 587 958