Arriving at the Four Horseshoes in Chobham, a country pub that’s seen awards, acclaim and punters flock like birds coming home to roost since its major refurbishment back in 2013, you don’t expect to step into another world. That may seem like overstating things a little, but the pub we entered all but clobbers you (softly) with a wholly distinctive setting that wobbles happily between timeless, modern and all kinds of eclectic.
On the surface the place is countrified almost to the point of caricature, but a streak of contemporary playfulness runs through the pub that had me exploring as if I were a kid in a museum. A hobbit-hole of nooks and cosy corners, bumpkin touches abound amid a subtle smattering of quirk. Bowler hats hang from antlers, cabinets and dressing tables from a bygone age are illuminated by strings of antique lighting while the dining area segues from tea room to cottage pantry to 1940s living room in pleasingly odd fashion.
There’s a tangible ambience here too, from the happy chatter of the locals holding court by the bar to the laughter of visiting diners and the easy charm of the staff. That charm extends to the menu which also boasts no small amount of polish while still staying humble and hearty.
You’d be hard pressed to come across a snack with as much nostalgic clout as the insanely moreish Scotch eggs that come out of the Four Horseshoes’ kitchen. These golden coated meaty orbs packed herby pork and sweet black pudding around oozy egg to deliver a blissfully rustic hit. And they go further, with a diddy little pan of spot-on hollandaise. To order one of these to share would be a grievous mistake, trust me.