Monday Munchies: Lunch at Henry VIII’s house in the British Countryside


    On a recent rainy winters day I had the pleasure of enjoying a delicious lunch with my aunt and uncle in the heart of the Surrey countryside.

    Inside the main entrance. Look at the tiny door that is set within the much larger structure.


    The Location


    Great Fosters is a Grade 1 listed building located in Egham in Surrey. The building dates back to 1550 AD and was built as a Royal hunting lodge. Great Fosters has been beautifully preserved over the years and offers the perfect setting for weddings, an ideal location for business conferences, a place to enjoy a hearty lunch or dinner, or a perfect location to experience a luxurious romantic stay in one of the 43 well appointed hotel rooms.


    Set in over 50 acres, even on a rainy day it was lovely to walk around and see the Saxon moat and the picturesque wisteria draped Japanese bridge that has been the setting for many wonderful wedding photographs. The bridge leads to a sunken circular rose garden and a grassed amphitheater. The grounds also boast an outdoor heated swimming pool, complete with a set of listed 1920’s bathing boxes, a tennis court, and a croquet green.


    The free chairs and glasses really add a pop of color against the pale color palette.


    The Estate Grill


    Great Fosters offers a variety of dining options. On this my fist visit (and I’m pretty sure I will be going back to experience more) we dined in The Estate Grill. This restaurant offers modern English and European cuisine. Diners can enjoy a pre or post dinner drink at one of the adjacent bars or in one of the many tiny nooks or rooms that are located throughout the building.


    The Estate Grill opened its doors in 2013 and is an interesting mix of old and new. The fireplace has a date inscription of 1550, but the walls showcase a colorful collection from the contemporary British artist, Phillip Sutton. The artwork is available to purchase if you see one you can’t live without. Β The green leather chairs and glassware add a vibrant pop of color in contrast to the white walls and table linens. Impressive chandeliers and clever use of up lights fitted in-between the numerous wall and ceiling beams ensures the room is light and airy.


    The al la carte menu as at a November 2015


    The Food


    The menu changes with the seasons to ensure that the freshest local produce are showcased. The estate boasts its own kitchen garden providing vegetables, salad, and herbs. An onsite apiary produces honey, and the estate recently decided to breed middle white Gloucester old pot pigs.


    The Estate Grill has an a la carte menu and also a midweek lunch set menu that varies according to what produce is available from the estate and local markets. The set menu offers two courses at GBP 24.50 or three courses at GBP 27.50. We decided to make our selections from the a la carte menu.


    A variety of fresh bread was delivered to our table to test our resilience to avoid carbs (we failed).


    Once drinks had been ordered our server brought a basket of four different types of freshly baked breads to our table. While I wish I could say I resisted these carb-loaded delicacies, the look and delightful smell was just too much to resist.


    Mackerel starter


    My uncle enjoyed a dish of mackerel served with cucumber, potato, horseradish and seaweed as his starter. The mackerel was lightly cooked, almost rare looking, and the generous portion of fish was beautifully presented with a drizzle of horseradish sauce on a black plate.


    Fish pie


    Staying with fish, my uncle selected the fish pie for his main course. A dish of scallops, prawns, smoked haddock, cod, and sea vegetables topped with potatoes and greens proved very filling; a substantial portion cooked and served piping hot in a silver dish.





    My aunt and I decided to pass on a starter and chose instead to share a dish that she had enjoyed on a previous visit. The Butchers Block is designed to be shared, and offers a selection of estate-reared pig served with sides of creamed mashed potatoes with truffle shavings, kale, and caramelized apples. I am not a fan of kale but this dish was a wonderfully pleasant surprise. Sadly when I commented to our server how thoroughly delicious the kale had tasted she burst my bubble and told me that the secret was to cook it in cream – there goes my diet again! The caramelized apples went beautifully with the various pieces of pork that included belly, braised ox cheek, sausage roll and crackling. A tasty scotch egg and gravy completed our dish.


    One of the many fireplaces that we saw in the various rooms that interlink throughout this grand house.


    The Service


    All the members of staff who we spoke with during our visit were extremely friendly. While taking photos a gentleman (who I believe was the duty manager) stopped by to check if we needed any assistance, and to share with us a little bit of the history of the property.


    Lunch was a very relaxed affair with time between courses unhurried. Dishes were not cleared from the table until all diners had completed their last mouthful and had been given a little extra time to contemplate if they truly had finished; such a refreshing change from the fussing that I often experience in Mumbai, or the rush to turn the table in some Houston restaurants.


    Our main server struggled with a few descriptions as English was not her first language, but another lady who was extremely knowledgeable about the menu soon backed her up. The sommelier was the only person who was perhaps having a little bit of an off day. After asking him what individual glasses of wine we could select from, he simply gave the menu to my uncle and walked off.


    Even on a rainy day you can see how pretty this structure is and what a perfect setting it would be for wedding photographs.


    The Verdict


    Great Fosters, and The Estate Grill in particular, is a perfect setting for a relaxed lunch in a stunning venue. I am only sad that David didn’t get a chance to enjoy the experience but I am pretty sure that he will get an opportunity soon. The combination of stately setting and comfortable friendliness of staff is quite a rarity to be appreciated.



    The Fact Sheet

    Address: Stroude Road, Egham, Surrey TW20 9UR

    Phone: 01784 433822

    Estate Grill Opening Hours: Monday – Friday Lunch 12.30-2.30, Dinner 6.30-9.30, Saturday all day from 12.30, last orders 10. Sunday Lunch 12.30-4, Dinner 6-9

    Other info: A service charge of 10% is automatically added to the check.




    Estate Grill at Great Fosters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Happy Dining



      • Jen says:

        I loved the first picture – really got me in the Holiday spirit. Everything looked so delicious. And sorry about the kale, but your server was right, everything is a little better with cream.

      • That meal looks amazing! I’ll have to check this place out if I’m ever in the area!

        • Sue says:

          I can imagine that this would be a lovely place to visit during the summer when you could really explore the grounds a little more, although all the Christmas decorations that were being put up during our stay made it quite magical.

      • I love eating at places that do seasonal foods! Surprisingly, the costs don’t look as high as I was expecting (still more than I would pay for a typical meal, but this IS England we are talking about= $$$!) Plus, it’s always fun to eat somewhere with character and charm!

      • Meg Jerrard says:

        Wow the Japanese bridge is stunning, I can see why so many weddings choose to head here for photographs. Sounds like a wonderful experience overall, will have to add this to my list of restaurants for lunch when we head back to the UK. Cooking Kale in cream is a brilliant little tip! Don’t worry – diets don’t count during the holidays :D!

      • Erica says:

        I love settings that comes with such a rich history. The view here looks like it does not disappoint! The food does look quite promising too!

      • Looks beautiful, I can easily guess people have there a great time! πŸ™‚
        I only don’t like chairs so much, somehow they don’t really fir to this lovely interior…

        • Sue says:

          I really liked the way they had blended the old with the new. The chairs certainly did add a pop of color to the room and were actually quite comfortable too.

      • Anda says:

        My kind of food and my kind of setting. I love to eat in old castles, or monasteries, or fancy mansions that have been turned into hotels and restaurants. That meal looks so good!

        • Sue says:

          Thanks Anda, it was a fun experience for sure and makes me want to be on the look out for similar ideas throughout the UK

      • Dave Briggs says:

        I can only imagine how good wedding photos taken by the bridge look on a clear, summers day! the food looked amazing, and it seemed you had a good meal there. A shame about the sommelier though.

        • Sue says:

          Im hoping we just got the sommelier on a bad day as all the other staff were very helpful and cheerful. I don’t think he was too impressed when we only wanted a glass of wine rather than a bottle. A little shortsighted of him as Im sure with a bit of effort he could have tempted us to drink more (as it doesn’t take much encouragement)

      • What a beautiful ambiance for a delicious meal! I would definitely go for The Butchers Block. This post made me salivate!

      • Mar says:

        This place looks lovely, my type of place for charm, heritage and old times. And The Butchers Block looks so delicious and so in synch with the place. Even the rain helps the place look better (surprisingly)

        • Sue says:

          I do enjoy visiting my home country as there are so many little gems like this dotted all over the place. I look forward to finding and sharing a few more on upcoming visits.

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