143 The Canopy, Epsom, Surrey KT19 8EH - restaurant review
PUBLISHED: 17:23 20 December 2010 | UPDATED: 21:05 02 July 2014
A whisper reached Surrey Life of a rather good Epsom eatery, just a stone's throw from the clock tower, that had slipped under the radar of those who don't live in the town. Stirred into action, MATTHEW WILLIAMS paid a visit to 143 The Canopy
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2010
Restaurant reviewed: 143 The Canopy, 143 High Street, Epsom KT19 8EH Tel: 01372 745330
Food and drink 7
What we ate
Marinated tiger prawns with ginger, lemon grass, chilli and coriander in
a wonton basket £6.95
Baked Camembert £7.50
Fillet steak served on black rock £17.95
Oven roasted whole sea bream with caper berry dressing and sautéed
sweet potato £16.95
Sticky toffee pudding with a rich toffee sauce and vanilla ice-cream £6.50
Rich dairy ice-cream sundae £5.50
Large glass of Merlot Casa Azul 2009, Chile £5.90
Large glass of Bergerie de la Bastide Rose 2009, France £5.50
REVIEW: As regular Surrey Life readers will know, we recently held our first reader forum. During this, there came a consensus that people wanted more scathing restaurant reviews. Sadly, for those of the glass half empty persuasion, I’ve managed to find a little gem for you this month. That said, I did have to cook my own steak…
To be found within black rock hurling distance of Epsom Clock Tower (all will become clear!), 143 The Canopy came to life at the end of last year and has quietly built its reputation largely by word of mouth. It’s almost Parisian in its quaint intimacy – with checked napkins and fresh roses on each table.
Warm lighting and simple decoration welcome you in from the night, along with seemingly ever-courteous staff (their faces didn’t drop at any point in the evening – even when one of the patrons accidentally showered everyone with glass).
Complimentary olives hit our table within seconds – a nice touch and a good ice-breaker if you happen to be dining with a new friend. Drinks orders were taken from a short but enjoyable wine list.
To start with, I opted for chillied prawns nestled in a wonton basket – the latter adding a satisfying crackle to proceedings – and my partner Sylviane went for the baked Camembert, which she went on to describe as ‘among the best’ she’s ever had – not bad from a French girl. I have to admit, I’d always thought I hated Camembert (going back to youth when that overpowering ‘gone off’ cauliflower stench would pervade my parents’ fridge), but even I was tempted and it was indeed very, very good and perfectly seasoned with garlic and rosemary.
For my main course, I settled on the ‘black rock’ cooked steak . The promise of meat delivered to the table still cooking on volcanic debris proving too much to resist. One of my favourite places for a quick bite is a small pub in Reigate, The Venture Inn. The centre piece there is a dish called, Tiger Cry, which arrives on a sizzling platter and the black rock steak system achieves a similar head- turning affect.
Chef for a night
The only problem was that I started having so much fun playing chef and pushing bits of steak round their sizzling bed before dipping into the choice of chilli, mustard and béchamel dips, I almost forgot about the salad and chips to the side.
Sylviane’s dish proved to have just as exciting an introduction and for a second I had to double-check that whale wasn’t on the menu. When her whole sea bream arrived, my first instinct was that there must be too much fish on the plate. The reality: absolutely perfect portions.
Both more than content, our dessert ‘pouch’ was required (is it possible not to find room for a good dessert? Especially when the menu is this tempting!). Largely concentrated on old-fashioned favourites – Eton mess, Cambridge burnt cream, sticky toffee pudding etc – as the latter is one of my favourites, I just had to give it a go, while Sylviane opted for a sundae. A satisfying conclusion.
While contemplating coffees, I noticed an interesting side-note to The Canopy. They do a traditional afternoon tea – finger sandwiches, scones, the works. What a brilliant idea, and fitting for a restaurant that even this early on in its life is showing so much potential – and, in fact, is already well worth the trip.
3 other Surrey restaurants new on the scene
Brooklands Drive, Weybridge KT13 0SL: 01932 335 700
The Italian influenced restaurant at the luxurious new Brooklands Hotel is fast becoming a dining destination in its own right.
Little Dudley House
77 South Street, Dorking RH4 2EU: 01306 885550
Housed in the lovely old Pizza Piazza building, you’ll find the perfect mix of the traditional and contemporary here, which also extends to the food as well.
132 Worplesdon Road, Guildford GU2 9RT: 01483 538 333
The third and biggest in a highly-rated independent chain of Chinese restaurants across Surrey.