July 22, 2022
Enjoying stunning views overlooking the Wintershall Estate and Hascombe Hill, Hilltop Kitchen serves up exceptional freshly made food and a menu boasting the best locally sourced produce. A joint venture between founders Alex Winch and Sam Fiddian-Green, it’s become the most talked about foodie destination in the area. We love it and we know you will too. We chatted to co-founder Alex to find out more…
Tell us about Hilltop Kitchen
Sam I are old family friends and our work in hospitality has taken us around the world. When we found ourselves back in the local area due to Covid, we decided to plan some pop-up events and the concept snowballed quite quickly. We opened Hilltop Kitchen in July 2021 and today as well as the pop-up events, we offer a daily changing menu that runs all summer long.
It’s a fantastic setting. How did you find it?
The site is located on Sam’s family’s farm and looks out over nothing but rolling hills. The space itself had been an office so we installed a kitchen and created a covered, heated area that makes the most of the amazing view. It’s a rustic, laidback feel - the tables are handmade and Sam’s mum is a potter so she made all the tableware.
What is the philosophy of the dishes you create for Hilltop Kitchen?
Most of what we serve up is sourced from the local area, including meat, such as the Herdwick lamb that comes from the family farm or the wild garlic we pick from the woodlands down the road. Provenance is key and we’re very proud of the heritage of everything we serve. When we first came back to the area, we struggled to find food at a level we enjoy and so nothing makes it onto the menu unless it’s the absolute best.
Talk us through some of the things we can expect on your menu and what are some of your most popular dishes?
We bake our Sausage rolls fresh every morning. They are made with the best ingredients money can buy including sausage mix using mince from John Murray butchers in Loxwood and wrapped in French puff pastry. Served warm with homemade brown sauce, they are pretty hard to beat!
Our Focaccia is baked in-house and you’ll find fresh cinnamon buns on the counter every morning. We’re influenced by what’s fresh and at its best, so for instance our Burrata (which comes from La Latteria in North London) may be served one week with shaved fennel, European citrus and olives and then the next with fresh peas and broad beans. We make our own tagliatelle – sometimes as little as 10 minutes before we open, so you know you’re eating it as fresh as can be.
Sam, who creates the menus has worked at a phenomenal level throughout his career and he spent six months in Rome, which definitely gives some of the dishes an Italian backbone, but always featuring the best of British.
You’re also known for serving up a cracking cup of coffee
At Hilltop, we take our coffee very seriously and a lot of research went into finding our favourite beans, which are supplied by Horsham Coffee Roaster. Horsham Roasters are obsessed not only with flavour but also about ethical coffee. They source directly from producers in long term commitments to the same farmer meaning they pay well above the fairtrade price. Back home the beans are roasted using a state-of-the-art low emission roaster and carefully blended to create its Workhorse coffee. To us, the ethics had to match up and be as scrupulously good as the taste.
Who is Hilltop kitchen popular with?
Hilltop Kitchen was set up with locals at its heart and we love the fact that our reputation has spread through word of mouth and we’ve become part of the Godalming community. We’ve become a regular haunt for walkers and cyclists who will stop off on their routes for a coffee or a cold beer.
Tell us about some of your own favourite local foodie hangouts and suppliers?
There are some great farm shops in the area. Sam is a fan of Secretts, close to where he lives, while I’ll tend to go to Kingfisher Farm Shop near my home in Abinger. We love what they’re doing at Greyfriars Vineyard and for beer, the Arctic Fox Pilsner from The Crafty Brewing Co. in Dunsfold is the best you could ever drink on a hot day.
What’s next for Hilltop Kitchen?
We love doing our evening pop-up events, which run on a first-come, first-served basis every month. Although we close our daily menu at the end of the summer, as autumn and winter draw in, we’ll be offering banquet-style menus where you come along, eat seasonally and enjoy a hot toddy or a mulled cider. And apart from that, we’re talking about plenty of other plans too. It’s very exciting.
Hilltop Kitchen, Combe Farm Buildings, Alldens Lane, Godalming, Surrey, GU8 4AP is open Thursday – Sunday from 9am serving coffee and fresh pastries, lunch from 12am, snacks, drinks and good times from 3pm to 6pm