Review: The Kings Arms, Egham, Surrey
Not your usual pub with rooms, The Kings Arms in Egham is a stylish and sumptuous boutique inn with a thoughtful menu and a warm welcome.
Just a smidge out of Egham’s town centre, and just around the corner from the town’s Ferrari dealership, you’ll find this stylish pub. It’s part of the Grosvenor Inns family of pubs – The Cricketers on the Green in Pirbright is a big brother and there are siblings in the Cotswolds and Newbury in Berkshire.
It’s a pub that’s come full circle – relaunching under it’s original name of The Kings Arms about 18 months ago after a major refurb. Previously the Grade II-listed building – initially used as stables in the 1040s – played host to the Loch Fyne Restaurant, and before that Mediterranean and French restaurants were here.
More than a mere nip and tuck, The Kings Arms went in for some serious surgery when Grosvenor Inns took over, and after a year-long refurb she’s come out the other side shining like a new pin.
The update has resulted in a striking mix of old and new, quirky and contemporary. There’s the addition of a modern heated conservatory, complete with a retractable roof, which has been beautifully styled with loads of botanic greenery including a living plant wall. Next door there’s a stylish new dining room lavishly decorated with bold floral walls, mirrored panels and statement light fittings and this leads through to the tap room and bar. There’s another cosy bar at the front, as well as a separate private dining room – each with their own lavish and eccentric touches.
Situated not far from where the Magna Carta was sealed in 1215, there are playful nods throughout to the Royal history as well as to King John and the rebel barons. Each of the six individually styled rooms in the Baron’s Quarters are named after the rebel barons, and decorated to within an inch of their beings. These are interior goals, right here, and I guarantee you’ll go home with grand designs swirling in your head. (Or is that just me?)
SCOFF & QUAFF
Food here is seasonal, focusing on pub classics with a twist to showcase the best ingredients from the field, farms and shores within the great British Isles. Foodies will be happy – there are some seriously good choices, ranging from the Raclette soufflé with Ogleshield cheese, crispy bacon, confit potato and gherkin garnish (£8.75) to the 12oz cote-de-bœuf with champagne hollandaise (£34.95).
But there are classics too, for those times you just fancy good food done well – Wagyu beef burgers (£18.95), fish and chips (£16.75) and chicken and ham pie (£17.50) among others.
I visited for a sneaky night away with Mr Muddy on a buzzy Saturday night. After kicking off with a drink or two in the tap room – a delightful Mirabeau La Folie Rosé (£11.30 125ml glass; £45 a bottle), we cosied in for dinner in the dining room. I started with the Cornish crab cakes which come with Wye Valley asparagus and a lobster and champagne sauce plus caviar crème fraiche (£9.95). Divine pretty much sums it up. Mr M chose the Dorset ‘Nduja scotch egg with avocado, lime and basil, and a fennel and apple slaw (£8.75) – which he seemed to enjoy.
Moving on to mains, I chose the whole sole cooked on the bone with wild garlic and caper buttered shrimps (£21.50) and Mr M went for the marinated flat iron steak, served with triple peppercorn sauce and skin-on fries (£21.95) – and we were both very happy, not a morsel left on either plate. We shared a bottle of Cap Cette Picpoul di Pinet, a light dry white.
Pudding was entirely unnecessary after that, but we decided to stretch out our evening and so we ordered a pudding to share (the chocolate bomb with dark chocolate mousse, salted caramel ice cream, baileys & coffee sauce – absolutely gorgeous, £8.95)) and then a cheeseboard (£9.50), to come later, which was the perfect way to round things off.
Worth noting the breakfasts are also fabulous – I had the Eggs Royal with a generous helping of smoked salmon, Mr M went for the signature vegetarian breakfast – a feast that included plant-based sausage, eggs, portobello mushroom, tomato, baked beans, spinach, smashed avocado and toasted sourdough.
The rooms here are lush – there are six in total and each one is individually styled. Two have freestanding copper baths, the others have the largest rain showers you’ve ever seen. What they all share is the most sumptuous of styling – and huge attention to detail including super plush king-sized beds, coffee machines, gorgeous Bramley bathroom products, Smart TVs and a digital radios. We stayed in Ros – named after Robert de Ros, the Baron of Helmsley – a king room styled in luxury country house style. There are plush cushions and throw rugs, velvet chairs and thick lined curtains.
A lovely touch was the honesty Pantry nearby where you could collect a kettle, teabags, milk, more loo paper, shower products or any other basics you needed. There was also a crystal decanter, with just enough of something delicious (sloe gin, perhaps), for a nightcap.
OUT & ABOUT
There’s quite a lot to do in the local area, and the Kings Arm is pretty perfectly located for each of them. Historic Runnymede and the site where the Magna Carta was sealed is nearby, and there are also memorials to John F. Kennedy and the Commonwealth Air Forces. Great Windsor Park and the Savill Gardens are also only a few minutes drive. For adrenalin junkies, Thorpe Park is also less than 10 minutes by bar.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: A romantic break for two, a girly getaway, those looking for a countryside break that’s not totally out the countryside.
Not for: The pub is family friendly and I’d certainly recommend it for families – there’s a dedicated children’s menu. But if you’re planning an overnighter, it’s perhaps not ideal for families. Rooms are for two guests only, and there’s a definite grown-up and luxe feel that’s probably wasted on small kids.
The damage: Rooms start at £115 a night.