The Grumpy Mole, Cheam, is one of three Surrey-based gastro-pub-style restaurants; the others are in Tadworth and Brockham. We’d heard good things about this place and wanted to visit as an impromptu family outing. However, my Sister is vegan and the online menu didn’t show anything suitable – that’s not a criticism as they aren’t purporting to cater to vegans.
We called and asked what they could do. The waitress was really helpful and said that she would talk to the chef and call back. She actually called back and said that she hadn’t forgotten us, but that the evening chef was due to arrive at 5pm and she wanted to wait until she had spoke to him. Another call and a number of suitable options were offered – don’t actually ask me what as I’m not an expert on veganism!
To really put this place to the test we also took my 88-year old Mum along! I was almost tempted to pretend I had a nut allergy! Yes, I know this is serious for some people and feel free to comment on this if you have nothing else to do.
The place is on a winding road just outside Cheam Village. The most obvious sign was ‘The Inn on the Park’ but we spotted the smaller ‘Grumpy Mole’ sign. We wondered whether the larger sign was from the original pub days. However, I’ve since looked at the other two restaurants and see that they both use a similar ‘The Inn on the Green’. I think this dual-branding is a little confusing but maybe they have some marketing people who feel differently.
The single disabled parking space wasn’t really ideal. It was no wider than a standard parking space and there were bushes overhanging to the right. So we used a standard space that didn’t have an adjacent car parked.
There are two entrances to the restaurant; the main has a few steps and the side is wheelchair accessible.
There was a rear garden area with nice seating – it was a little too cold for an evening dinner and that was empty. But would make a good lunch venue.
The interior was cosy and welcoming. We found the waitress who had been so helpful on the phone and were taken to our table.
There was some further discussion about vegan food and a starter of avocado and tomato (charged as a soup £5.95), plus side of olives was agreed, followed by a vegetarian stroganoff without cream.
My Mum had a large Malibu and lemonade £8.85 but there was too much lemonade and so she added another shot at £3.95 – obviously the secret to a long life.
A bottle of Sauvignon Blanc was £17.95 – I noticed that they had my favourite red Malbec on the menu but went with the majority vote.
I had scallops (4) at £8.95 and a Venison Wellington £16.95 – everything was delicious.
My Mum had some of the vegan starter, followed by Salmon £14.95, followed by a creme brûlée £6.95 and announced that all were lovely.
My sister enjoyed her stroganoff £13.95 despite my questions about how it could be called that if there wasn’t cream included.
I had a glass of Laphroaig single malt whisky – good value at £3.95.
The waitresses were really helpful and dealt really well with our special requirements.
Total before gratuity was £107.10 which I think represented good value.
There was free wi-fi.
The toilets were clean and spacious. My only criticism would be that there was only a hand dryer and no paper towels available – after all it isn’t just a pub now.
The Grumpy Mole
Inn on the Park
Tel: 0208 394 2000