Little Dudley House, Dorking, Surrey RH4 2EU - restaurant review
PUBLISHED: 17:24 20 December 2010 | UPDATED: 21:08 02 July 2014
The buzz surrounding the latest addition to Dorking's dining scene, Little Dudley House, has been such that Surrey Life reviewer JOHN HUGHES thought he better pop along to discover what all the fuss was about...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2010
Restaurant reviewed: Little Dudley House, 77 South Street, Dorking, Surrey RH4 2EU Tel: 01306 885550
Food and drink 9
What we ate
Half a Dozen Native Oysters £9
Soft Boiled Duck Eggs £6
12oz Cote de Boeuf Steak £19
Sea Bream £16
Honey Roast Roots £3.50
Mulled Wine and Cranberry Trifle £5.50
White Chocolate Cheesecake, Vanilla Ice Cream £5.50
Lark Ascending (cocktail) £7
Purple Rain (cocktail) £5.50
Pinot Grigio Sanvigilio 2009 (large glass) £6.50
Gestos Malbec 2008 (large glass) £8.50
REVIEW: I’d heard rumblings that a rather splendid new eatery had opened in Dorking recently. After further investigation, it turned out to be Little Dudley House in South Street, where Pizza Piazza had been for many years. What a pleasure it turned out to be.
The interior is a wonderful contrast of traditional and modern, with exposed beams and brickwork in the bar and main dining room to the front of the building, then a stunning contemporary glass room at the back, both boasting bespoke modern furniture in a variety of styles.
There’s also an attic room, which I missed, but I have to say that what I did see was hugely impressive. Sometimes, fusions of old and new can backfire; however, here it works brilliantly.
Similarly, under the skilful guidance of executive chef Kelvin Sturman, the menu juxtaposes dishes as traditional as beer-battered fish and chips with the likes of iron bark pumpkin risotto, and 28 day 7oz fillet steak with a tongue-twisting starter such as potted partridge and pickled pear! We were choosing from the winter menu, but by the time you read this, the spring menu will have taken its place.
We perused the menu over some fun cocktails specially created for Little Dudley House – a Purple Rain (peach, orange, pomegranate and vodka) for Helen and a Lark Ascending (orange, pomegranate, passion fruit and gin) for me; the latter a tribute to Vaughan Williams’ Dorking connections.
Food of love
For the starter, I decided on half a dozen oysters, served simply on a bed of ice with shallot vinegar and lemon. They were fresh, succulent and large enough to make you worry about dribbling a bit. Washed down with a large glass of Pinot Grigio Sanvigilio 2009, they were divine.
Helen, meanwhile, chose soft boiled duck eggs, Parma ham and Gruyère soldiers – again, simple yet effective, presented on a wooden block with egg cups carved out of it.
Our waitress had tipped me the wink that the steaks were pretty good, so I went with her recommendation – a 42 day 12oz cote de boeuf steak with thrice cooked chips and Cafe de Paris butter. It was huge, and finishing it was a labour of love, especially after the oysters. Needless to say, I achieved my goal with relish (or rather English mustard). To accompany it, I chose a glass of red – Gestos Malbec 2008 – full-bodied and delicious.
Helen, too, had had a tip-off that the sea bream with crushed new potatoes, asparagus and a lobster and tomato butter was a bit special. And so it was – with the fresh ingredients producing full flavours.
For dessert, I had a mulled wine and cranberry trifle while Helen chose white chocolate cheesecake with vanilla ice cream. Both very pleasant.
Tony, the general manager, told me that Little Dudley House opened six weeks before Christmas. Apparently, it was a baptism of fire and the first four months or so have been busy.
I’m not surprised; everything about the place is appealing – the ambience, the service, the surroundings, the food and drinks, and the very reasonable prices. The word is out, and I foresee a long and prosperous future for them.
3 other house themed restaurants in Surrey...
14 Street Parade, Kew TW9 3PZ Tel: 0208 940 6777
Only a few yards away from the famous Kew Gardens, the Michelin-starred Glasshouse restaurant offers classical French food with Spanish and Italian touches.
10 Station Approach, Virginia Water GU25 4DW. Tel: 0844 567 2748
Located close to the beautiful Virginia Water and famous Wentworth Golf Club, Casa Nova has an extensive menu with a combination of modern and traditional Italian dishes.
The Rubbing House
34 Langley Vale Road, Epsom Downs KT18 5LJ. Tel: 01372 745050
Opened in 1709, the Rubbing House is England’s only pub and restaurant on a racecourse and serves a wide range of food from traditional English dishes to moussaka and souvlaki.