Thursday 9 September 2010

The Running Horses, Old London Road, Mickleham, Surrey

Despite being just a few miles from the M25, The Running Horses has a convincing air of a rural pub deep in the English countryside. A popular watering hole in the prosperous village of Mickleham, this well-preserved sixteenth century coaching inn attracts a lot of walkers and cyclists taking on the heady heights of nearby Box Hill. It can also quickly fill up with scores of wedding guests having a swift drink before decamping to the church opposite. Inside, the decor is traditional and the young, self-assured bartenders (probably local public school boys) wear white shirts and ties. As well as a couple of cosy bars, there are some neat rows of wooden tables out front and a more formal dining room at the back. On a Sunday, you'll find a big pile of newspapers next to the old fireplace in the main bar and a selection of pricey roast meals (about £15) on the menu. But the broke or the budget-conscious can opt for the still-substantial roast beef baguette (£8.50), which is packed with plenty of sliced meat in gravy (plus mustard, if you want it) and served with a small pile of crisps and some lettuce. As well as the usual lagers, there is Adnams and London Pride on draught, while the Aspall cider, served in an odd, oversized port glass, is a refreshing option on a sunny day. 7/10