Review: Hilltop Kitchen

I first had the pleasure of discovering this delightful kitchen in the midst of a bike ride. Anyone that’s cycled the Surrey Hills knows exactly how hilly it is, so when my friends tried to convince me to cycle yet another one to find Hilltop Kitchen, the enthusiasm bar was low. But was it worth the hill? Yes, it certainly was.



You’ll be pleased to know that it’s not mandatory to cycle there and there’s ample parking for those that prefer a more leisurely approach. Once you’re settled into the quintessentially British surroundings of rolling hills, nestled in a quiet part of the countryside, it’s time to turn to the menu. The line-up changes regularly, almost daily, keeping the friendly waitstaff on their toes.



The menu is built around fresh, often local ingredients. So local that elements like the lamb are sourced from the surrounding fields. It’s not hard to tell how much care has been poured into the menu from a first glance, with a considered drinks list to match, including English Sparkling and seasonal cocktails. I can now firmly say, a Strawberry Margarita should absolutely be a summertime staple.



The freshness of the food is unmistakable. The flavours simply pop and dance around together. From the Isle of Wight Tomato gazpacho to the comforting potatoes with crème fraîche, it’s a discerning collection of dishes.



One of my life’s greatest obsessions is bread and I am still thinking about Hilltop Kitchen’s focaccia even a week later. Fluffy and buttery with a golden crust, I could have eaten an entire loaf. Which leads me on to a secondary obsession, burrata. The burrata featured on Hilltop’s menu when we attended was sourced from North London and paired with uniquely grown Sunsweet Melon, even going into the detail as to list the melon grower on the menu. Summer-y perfection in a dish, only made all the more better by experiencing it in Italian-esque sunshine.


Once you’ve had your fill of savoury, the dessert menu does not disappoint. The cherry and chocolate ice cream sandwich was a crunchy and creamy refreshing little indulgence on a warm day. Hilltop’s scones are superb and come served with a slathering of clotted cream and large dollop of jam, much as scones should.



And the people we have to thank for this hilltop utopia? Alex Winch and Sam Fiddian Green. Childhood friends, the pandemic found them both back in their home county, Surrey, as the hospitality industry wavered. Bringing with them experience from some of the best hot spots in London, including Portland and The Harwood Arms, Alex and Sam have combined outstanding service with locally sourced ingredients to create a really special kitchen. It’s a homage to the Surrey Hills that Alex and Sam are proud to call home.



Unsurprisingly, they’re booked out weeks in advance and they do ask for reservations in advance for lunch, but walk-ins can be accommodated outside of lunchtime hours. They’re open from 9am-6pm Thursday - Sunday across the summer months, so there’s still time this year to enjoy this lovely spot until October-time, when they shut up shop for the winter.


https://www.hilltop-kitchen.co.uk/

Article by Lucie Rhoades, Contributing Writer





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