The Squirrel Inn at Hurtmore is a pleasant, country-style pub just a short drive, or a moderate weekend 3.5km walk with friends from central Godalming, and on this occasion made the perfect place for the monthly VantagePoint team lunch.
Shaded by a large parasol on the smart wooden-decked patio, we settled into our sunny surroundings with a bottle of smooth Spanish Rioja as recommended by the attentive manager, Ante.
The main menu was extensive, but with four appetites to sate, we sampled a decent range of the choices available; starting off our lunch with Calamari dipped in sweet chilli dipping sauce, exquisitely tender with a crispy, spiced, tempura style batter; a generous portion of tasty shell-off King Prawns in a tangy, creamy tomato sauce with garlic flat bread to mop up the sauce, again perfectly cooked. Classic deep-fried Whitebait, which were delicious, and could only have been improved by having a more generous portion, and tangy Peri-peri Chicken Wings, plump and moist with a definite spicy zing to get the taste buds going.
The standout from the main courses we ordered, was most certainly the pan-fried Calves Liver with Black Pudding and creamy mash, the punchy offal combination was a marriage made in heaven, balanced with a meaty gravy, crispy onions and beautifully smooth potato mash.
A close second it was agreed, was the hand-raised traditional Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie, crisp short pastry densely filled with well-seasoned meat accompanied by the same creamy potato mash and mushy peas – savoured by a self-professed pie lover, this pub classic went down well.
Also enjoyed were the Mediterranean Chicken skewers – a generous portion of two large skewers with herb-seasoned, chargrilled Chicken breast pieces alternately interspersed with red onion and bell pepper pieces, atop a serving of crisp, skin-on fries and a mixed salad with Mediterranean touches. The substantial portion of soft chicken with good flavour from the grill defeated our colleague in the end, which happily meant we all got to enjoy some of it as well.
The Seafood Risotto was somewhat light on seafood variety with only prawn and squid rings featuring, however on the plus side, the king prawns were soft and tasty, and the rice was cooked well. We felt it could have benefitted from an additional seafood element or two and a sea vegetable or herb accompaniment to add textural variety.
We finished off lunch with scoops of caramel ice cream and refreshing mango sorbet from the dessert menu.
Attentive, polite staff providing water and treats for the office dogs was a lovely touch and the newly renovated children’s playground looked like lots of fun. The Squirrel is a charming place to catch the sun with lots of different areas to choose from: the traditional grass pub garden if visiting with children, the covered patio and the open decking area offers lots of choice for al fresco drinking and dining, as well the dining room and comfortable bar areas for those wanting to be inside.
With a handful of B&B rooms in the leafy, vine-covered 16th Century cottages next to the pub, the Squirrel is the perfect place to base relatives or friends visiting Godalming and surrounding villages, helpfully just off the A3, providing easy access to nearby Guildford in the north and local beauty spot the Devil’s Punchbowl if heading southbound.
Their range of local real ales and ciders on tap makes The Squirrel an ideal spot to enjoy the country pub vibe, and we’re looking forward to enjoying the relaxed and informal atmosphere again soon.
Take a look for yourself and plan your trip to The Squirrel Inn here: https://the-squirrel.co.uk/