A touch of culinary class in the Surrey suburbs

Former Birley Clubs operations director Simon King and Heston Blumenthal chef Matt Larcombe have teamed up to launch The Victoria in Oxshott, Surrey – reflecting a post-pandemic trend towards bringing Central London-quality cuisine to the commuter-belt suburbs.

The pair met while working together on the launch of the Crown, the Fat Duck’s gastropub offshoot in Bray. King has a long CV working front of house for Gordon Ramsay, D&D London and Danny Meyer in New York, while Larcombe has also worked for top chef Michael Wignall.

King is thrilled to be his own boss after so many years working in big groups – and admits that the opportunity would probably not have arisen without the pandemic. Finding himself unemployed, he set up his own consultancy, Igniting Hospitality, and was advising clients on the availability of good sites at favourable rents when the Victoria came to his attention.

The whole landscape has changed, and with more people working from home now in an affluent village like Oxshott, locals are delighted that they can just walk around the corner to get a good meal. I feel if we can see it through to next summer, we’ll be in a very strong position.

Closer to a restaurant than a gastropub, The Victoria serves “elevated pub food”: snacks include pork crackers with smoked paprika salt and beer-battered native oysters. The steaks are aged in a salt chamber and served with home-made bordelaise sauce, while turbot is roasted whole over coals, and the accompanying wine list has been put together by master sommelier Michael Engelmann, whose credits include Rockpool in Sydney and The Modern in NYC.

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