I recently went to the Long Bar at Guildford’s Harbor Hotel and enjoyed the most wonderful meal of my life.
After strolling past the restaurant formerly known as The pier Many times, I had always wanted to try their mouthwatering menu.
So I was delighted when an invitation landed in my mailbox for their post-Covid relaunch.
Now known as Long bar and grill, the redesigned decor was clean and elegant with colorful murals and a gorgeous mini chandelier above our booth.
There was a nice vibe created by the easy-to-listen background music, before a DJ livened things up a bit for cocktails and dessert.
Their new chef comes from nearby Pennyhill Park and has put together an exquisite menu of expertly crafted dishes.
My rule of thumb is not to pay for food in restaurants if I can as well prepare it myself at home.
Well, there were certainly a lot of intricate elements and creative ideas among the five dishes that I had never considered before and never been able to whip up in my own kitchen.
Two of the dishes contained meat from Dorking’s Hill House farm, run by Ian Jones.
Not only do they source their meat locally, but they also order their cheese from Sussex, their beer from Hogs Back and their gin from Silent Pool in the Surrey Hills.
After a range of canapes in which they cleverly managed to cater for our intolerance by serving gluten free tempura shrimp, we feasted on the most delicious burger I have ever had.
A brisket and bone marrow burger with bacon and cheese that melted in your mouth, was accompanied by flat iron chicken, bubbles and squeak, smoked bacon, and creamed Savoy cabbage.
It was washed down with a nice bottle of house red.
Then we were served cod, surf cams and fennel in a shellfish broth. The explosion of flavors was fabulous.
Then came the main course. We were treated to tender cuts of perfectly pink cooked sirloin, rib eye and tenderloin steak, but the highlight was almost the gorgeous cheddar and leek gratin.
This is where the only problem of the night happened, because our bearnaise and pepper sauce did not arrive with our steak.
By the time they arrived after calling a waiter back, the beef was warmer than hot.
However, this was the only flaw in what was otherwise an exemplary meal, which can perhaps be seen as a minor issue with early opening.
Our chocolate pie and elderflower panna cotta were both gluten free which we gorged on sipping on cocktails of passion fruit and Bombay sapphire and vodka.
Granted, the bill will cost you more than the average meal in Guildford.
But for the quality of the food and the enjoyment of the night you will have, I would definitely recommend the Long Bar for a party dinner or a special occasion.