Walking into The Victoria Pub feels feels like arriving some place familiar … even for this New Zealander, more than 11,000 miles from home.
Just opened, after massive renovations, The Vic is a pub that manages to be both upmarket and cosy. Elegant but warm and welcoming too. I can honestly write that it has been worth the wait. Even better, pub manager, Jonny O'Connor and the White Brasserie group, seem intent on making the place special.
Initially, I had imagined the raw oyster and champagne opening event would price it out of my range but no, they cater to a wide range of clientele. From fine-dining through to a beer at the bar. They also host massively enjoyable quiz evenings on Sundays. Live music sometimes. And then there's a large outdoor garden for summer dining.
The brick and wood interior manages to be both homely and classy. It's a physical space that makes you want to visit often, and then stay a few hours, every time. When I asked Jonny (photograph below) about his noticeably warm and friendly staff he explained, they're chosen for their personality and then further trained to make customers feel truly welcome.
Talking with Jonny, one quickly realises that no detail has been left to chance. Open and friendly, he's a man on a mission. He made me smile when he mentioned his desire to model his passion for his work on Eastenders character, Peggy Mitchell, one-time landlady of that other Vic.
The wine list is impressive, with something for every palate and pocket. The food has been divine - every single time. Nothing is ordinary, not even the olives. The details speak volumes about The Vic's focus on customer satisfaction.
There's space for the casual regulars out at the bar, that area often buzzing with conversation and laughter. They're a friendly mob, here in Oxshott, and The Vic is fast becoming one of the beating hearts located in this tiny village.
I have now competed in two of the Sunday night quizzes, enjoying the fact that the European Football champs were there in the background. And exploring the wine list has been rewarding. Even better, I'm usually there in the midst of good people and much laughter.
As I write this, sitting in a quiet corner of the bar on a sunny afternoon, I realise the bar is as cosy as a living room. There's the rug on the the wooden floor, over near the fire, and the armchairs are arranged in small groups that invite quiet conversations. The bar staff are sharing stories of rescue dogs with a couple who used to live in the village. I'm enjoying the ebb and flow of the conversation, the genuine interest ... even the music.
Jonny and the White Brasserie have begun well, building a beautifully strong foundation in these opening weeks. The Victoria, of Oxshott, is already a special space. One that welcomes you in as you step through the door.
You should visit, see for yourself...
The Victoria, High St, Oxshott, KT22 0JR
Telephone: 01372 841900