<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Surrey Life today click here

Byfleet Manor, Byfleet, Surrey KT14 7RS - restaurant review

PUBLISHED: 15:14 31 July 2013 | UPDATED: 17:27 06 August 2013

Dinner at Downton

Dinner at Downton

Archant

Fans of Downton Abbey will have already seen inside Byfleet Manor without even realising it. Now the impressive country estate, which plays host to Maggie Smith during the TV series, has thrown open its doors for a series of pop-up restaurants.

***

The low-down

Verdict:

Food: 9

Venue: 9

Service: 9

What we ate:

A gourmand tasting menu at £50 per head (bring your own wine) or £75 per head with wine pairing.

Dates for your diary:

Friday September 13 and Saturday September 28

Need to know:

Find out the latest Byfleet Manor dining and afternoon tea dates at byfleetmanor.com, foodbyaneke.com and teavintage.co.uk

***

While I’m rather more used to running the rule over the county’s pubs and restaurants, an invite to Byfleet Manor, home to Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess Grantham in Downton Abbey, proved too good to resist. The occasion? A pop-up restaurant that is set to become a regular (and I’m sure much talked about) event at the historic home.

Having navigated our way out of Byfleet village and along the private roads leading to the imposing entrance, my wife and I were greeted like the Lords and Ladies of old by the waiting staff for the evening.

Entering the front doors and back through time, we made our way into the Dowager’s room, where Champagne and canapés and the home’s owner, Julie, were waiting. Hailing from Wales originally, she proved an affable host who helped create a down-to-earth atmosphere in the regal surroundings.

Since the success of Downton Abbey, the marble floors and crystal chandeliers of the country estate have become a must-visit attraction for television inspired sightseers and traditional cream teas have become the order of the day. That success has led to the launch of the Dinner at Downton project and my invitation.

Following nibbles and an introduction to our chef for the evening, Aneke, guests dressed in their finery moved into the lavishly laid dining room, armed with their bring-your-own bottles of wine.

I’d read that Aneke has been a chef for over 20 years, working with the likes of Rainer Becker at Zuma, Alan Bird at The Ivy and Alain Ducasse in New York, so expectations were high. As were my worries over my wine selection – would it meet Michelin standards?! Dinner is served We found ourselves sitting with a couple of television executives, Julie and her luxury tour operator friend, so conversation quickly bubbled up. Before long, we were cutting thick slices of deliciously fresh bread for each other and passing around a sweet jar crammed with flavoured butters (garlic, chorizo and plain) wrapped as bonbons.

A chilled cucumber and Byfleet Manor garden mint soup was served up as starter, with Dorset crab and lemon grass beignets – perhaps we let our etiquette slip but the teacup dishes leant themselves so easily to sipping that spoons were quickly rejected.

Next, dusted with extra virgin olive oil, crispy quail eggs were teamed with Onuga faux caviar, buttered asparagus, a Parmesan tuile and smoked pancetta soldiers (the latter standing to attention to add definition to the plate).

Earlier, Aneke had been quick to press her locally sourced credentials –enthusiastically talking about exploring Ripley farmers’ market and such – and that passion and freshness was quick to bring itself to the fore on the plate.

The roast fillet of line-caught sea bass with pea purée and beer batter scraps was a fun and sophisticated take on fish and chips, especially with the addition of candied vine tomato, apple infused curry oil and Champagne beurre blanc.

Created for the occasion

As the dishes and wine flowed, so did the conversation and I found myself already longing for more pop-up experiences. Much like the enjoyment I find in visiting film locations around the county, there’s something very special about dining in a room that has been created for an evening rather than the average day-to-day.

My highlight was the rich slow-roasted belly of pork, with Maris Piper fondant, summer truffle infused celeriac emulsion, pink lady apple butter and port wine jus. A classic and once again served with an exquisite eye for detail.

Portions were well balanced, and the dessert menu soon got my sweet teeth tingling. First came an aptly named chocolate opera resting on sea salted caramel, which had a hot white chocolate latte shot served alongside. Heaven. Then came a bite-sized Madagascan vanilla bean waffle ice cream cone with chocolate covered popping candy.

With dessert, coffee and petits fours polished off, I sat back to tie the evening together – each course etched into memory.

Dinner at Downton is a magical mix of fun, unrushed hospitality and exceptionally high quality cuisine.

I understand that they will be keeping dates limited to a couple a month, which I’d say is advisable as it allows the anticipation to build and makes for an expectant crowd of enthusiastic diners.

Needless to say, I look forward to heading back and, having taken a peek out the windows, think their afternoon teas this summer will also be one to add to the hit list too.

***

3 great pop-up offerings

Maxwell McKenzie

Maxwell trained at Michelin-starred restaurants, including four years with Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley. Various dates in Reigate, Dorking and Weybridge.

For all the latest, visit maxwellmckenzie.co.uk

Petersham Nurseries Cafe supper clubs

A rare opportunity to enjoy the magical atmosphere of Petersham Nurseries at night while celebrating gloriously fresh, seasonal ingredients. Various dates.

Contact 020 8940 5230 or e-mail info@petershamnurseries.com to book.

Joseph Lloyds

Not a pop-up restaurant per se but Joseph Lloyds are one of a number of tailored caterers in Surrey who can provide you with a private chef for your own at home dining experience.

More information at josephlloyds.co.uk

0 comments

More from Surrey Life

10:56

The RAF is 100 years old this month. Ken Delve, who served with the RAF for 20 years, explores Surrey’s airfields and the parts they have played in the history of aviation over the past century

Read more
10:03

Bassist and songwriter Jean-Jacques Burnel is a founder member of the band once known as The Guildford Stranglers. He speaks to Duncan Hall

Read more
09:40

One of the biggest foodie events in the Surrey calendar is back for 2018! Voting is open and this year’s event will take place at G Live, Guildford on Thursday 13 September 2018

Read more
09:35

Is there anything Mel Giedroyc cannot put her hand to? Despite parting ways with the Great British Bake Off when it moved to Channel 4 last year, she’s barely been off our TV screens; hosting Let It Shine, and Eurovision, as well as The Generation Game alongside her best pal and comedy sidekick Sue Perkins.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:34

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend: art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Surrey County Show has been an annual fixture since the 1950s and the 2018 show is set to be the biggest and best yet

Read more
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

This edition of Surrey Life features all the local ingredients to make this month special

Read more
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Whether it’s coronation chicken on sliced granary or a gluten free Victoria sponge, no sandwich works without the all-important filling!

Read more
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The vegetarian and vegan offering in Surrey seems to be improving by the week. Here are nine of the best restaurants and cafés for vegetarians and vegans in Surrey

Read more
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Small Designs is a collaboration between Ewhurst-based husband and wife team Deej and Small Carter, creating unique objects from reclaimed wood

Read more
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Surrey-based Love Water has produced a water cooler for supporters of every 2018 World Cup team and Surrey Life readers have the chance to win one

Read more
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cranleigh Preparatory School has announced its new Headmaster will be Neil Brooks, current Principal of Fulham Prep Schools and previously Head of Cothill House

Read more
Friday, April 13, 2018

Surrey, set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has a wealth of beautiful gardens to visit. Throughout the open garden season you will find an array of stunning choices, many also serving delicious home-made teas to complete your visit. Gardening editor Leigh Clapp picks out a selection of her favourites

Read more
Friday, April 13, 2018

We round up 10 of the most beautiful photos of Surrey shared on Instagram this week…

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Surrey's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search