I’ve never been that impressed with my localish Esquire; it’s cramped and quite dull. This branch urinates on it from a height of 100 metres and then gobs down its throat.

The building is fairly long and goes quite far back. The counter is to the left with a number of tables tucked into the right-side wall for a tiny bit of privacy while at the back is a larger space. I sat there among office workers, cockney mothers’ meetings, an old woman staring into space (trying not to choke on a cherry scone) with a man looking like he had just retired from Combat 18. Dorking is quite posh though and I calculated I am not likely to get striped or kicked in the head here.

Menu has brunch options, soups and sandwiches with the usual array of cakes on the counter – yawn. Notably, one coconut offering looked like it has passed through the digestive system of a rhino before being squeezed out onto the wooden board. Wasn’t sure if it has been dropped on the floor but I didn’t see any half-price sticker on it.

There was no music but is was quite lively as I doubt this place gets too quiet. So anyway the latte and wifi were fine and it’s a nice spot to work/socialise in.

There is the usual wooden floors and trendy scandi-style patterned chairs with a long soft bonket to lean on which is quite comfy as you sit under spotlights. The wall are dark-grey Farrow and Ball with diagrams about how the coffee is brewed and a few shelves around but not much art which is a shame.

The toilet was fine but Mr Ex-Combat 18 had been in there and produced a stink bomb that made my eyes water and my throat burn. As I sat back down at my table, a teenager glaring at his mac-book wearing a bobble hat and headphones had sat next to me. He gently rocked back and forth to his, presumably terrible, music making the pom-pom danced about on his head. Very off-putting when you are trying to calculate the odds on the Mr Ex-Combat going tonto and attacking the punters with a machete.

 

Verdict: 4/5

Good: Close to Harris and Hoole standards.

Bad: No music. Needs more art.