Brasserie Vacherin, Sutton, Surrey SM1 1HN - restaurant review
PUBLISHED: 11:16 26 January 2011 | UPDATED: 16:02 16 September 2014
The celebrated chef Malcolm John has built a reputation off the Gallic finesse of his dishes - and the results at Brasserie Vacherin in Sutton have drawn praise throughout the restaurant's first year. Surrey Life's MATTHEW WILLIAMS paid a visit, with even more reason than normal to hope for the best...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2011
Restaurant reviewed: Brasserie Vacherin, 12 High Street, Sutton SM1 1HN Tel: 0208 722 0180
Food and drink 8
What we ate
Onion soup with gratinée £5.50
Chicken liver parfait & toasted brioche £5.50
Whole baked crab, garlic butter & frites £15.95
Roast red-leg partridge, gratin dauphinoise & red cabbage £17.95
Tarte fine aux pommes & caramel ice cream £6.50
French farmhouse cheese £6.95
A bottle of 2009 Côtes de Provence, T & C Carteron Provence, France £28
REVIEW: Despite receiving plaudits in its first year, Brasserie Vacherin had an awful lot to live up to in order to meet this particular day’s expectations. Not only had the royal wedding just been announced but I had also taken the plunge and proposed to my girlfriend, Sylviane – fortunately, she accepted.
Some might suggest that Sutton isn’t perhaps the most romantic destination in the world, and they might be right, but step off the High Street and into the latest addition to the armoury of chef Malcolm John and you are removed to the artisan streets of Paris – it’s easy to forget that the restaurant is just a stone’s throw from the standard chain fare rather than, say, Notre Dame.
Unaware of the development in our lives, we were met by a gloriously enthusiastic waitress who immediately made us comfortable, taking our jackets and intuitively shuffling us off to an intimate corner of the brasserie.
Settling down among the dark floors, heavy tables and well-lit spaces, a bottle of Cotes de Provence rosé was ordered from a comprehensive wine list and served up in an ice bucket. After wide-eyed glances, and much umming and ahhing, my French fiancée finally cut through the homely menu and orders were made – we’ll have to go back to try everything that tempted.
Escaping the bitter cold outside, I opted for the staple onion soup, which was served up steaming and delicious in a traditional bowl, while my better half opted for the chicken liver parfait.
For a Tuesday evening, a steady flow of patrons came and went, with an elderly couple being offered their usual table. Most comments about the restaurant seem to revolve around the lines, ‘at last, a restaurant of note in the area’, and it has certainly gone down well with locals. Just 100 yards from the station, it’s easy enough to get to for those coming from further afield as well.
Let battle commence!
Having never tried partridge before and slightly wary of the ‘may contain shot warning’ on the menu, I opted for the game anyway. Served on a bed of red cabbage, with not quite enough gratin dauphinoise for the price, the dish was simple but fully flavoured. I could have eaten two, especially as Sylviane opted for perhaps the least practical thing on the menu: whole baked crab. A colossus that resulted in a Clash of the Titans-esque battle that kept me entertained long after I’d finished my dish – she seemed to enjoy herself, anyway. There’s certainly nothing like watching your new fiancée tackle a giant crab with a claw cracker to make you realise the significance of the commitment you’ve made!
Some time later, Sylviane was finally able to make her way on to the French farmhouse cheese she had longed for since we first set eyes on the menu, which while fantastic probably suffered from a slight lack of bread/crackers. I satisfied my sweet tooth with an incredible apple tart accompanied by caramel ice cream. Pur delice.
High hopes can often be sent crashing but, especially considering the occasion, we couldn’t really have wished for any more. A tad pricey perhaps, but from my first visit I’d suggest that Brasserie Vacherin is certainly well worth a trip to Sutton if you’re searching for new Gallic flavours.
3 other great French restaurants in Surrey
71 Bell Street, Reigate RH2 7AN: 01737 241966
With its traditional Gallic atmosphere, La Barbe serves up a fine selection of classic French cuisine.
11 Hill Rise, Richmond TW10 6UQ: 0208 948 7473
Forget dinner on the Seine and instead feast near the Thames in this delightfully welcoming French restaurant.
The French Table
85 Maple Road, Surbiton KT6 4AW: 0208 399 2365
A culinary dream founded and run by a French chef who trained in Paris, they are also opening their own bakery this month.