CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Rialto Lounge, Leatherhead KT22 8AN - restaurant review

PUBLISHED: 16:57 02 July 2014 | UPDATED: 17:12 02 July 2014

Rialto Lounge, Leatherhead

Rialto Lounge, Leatherhead

Archant

A recent addition to Leatherhead, Rialto Lounge is looking to bring ‘sexy’ Italian dining to the High Street. Matthew Williams visits to see if it lives up to the label

Restaurant reviewed: Rialto Lounge, 24 High Street, Leatherhead KT22 8AN: 01372 383290

 

The low-down...

Food: 7

Venue: 8

Service: 7

 

What we ate:

Starters

Melanzane alla parmigiana, £5.50

Polpette al sugo, £5.50

 

Primi

Tagliolini alla carbonara, £8.50

Tagliatelle ai gamberoni, £11

 

Secondi

Scaloppine al Marsala, £11

Trancio di salmone, £13.20

 

Desserts

Tiramisu, £3.95

 

Drinks

Chianti DOCG, Cantine Leonardo, £9.20

 

***

 

Read on for more great ideas for eating out in Surrey

***

REVIEW: Not so many years ago, I remember Sir Michael Caine regaling a Leatherhead Theatre crowd with tales about his hometown – or more specifically, the guffawing reaction of friends visiting from over the Atlantic.

“Leatherhead,” they’d laugh, where’s that near? “Dorking,” he’d reply, with his American friends no longer able to contain their hysterics. Well, at least we haven’t got a Tightwad, Missouri, I thought…

An East End boy, the Hollywood icon told Surrey Life last year that he moved to his chosen property mainly for its surrounding greenery and seclusion. Whatever your thoughts on the town itself, it’s fair to say that locals bridled at the accusations of it having one of the nation’s worst High Streets back in the early naughties – and much has changed since then.



A new addition


The latest addition is in itself something of an Italian job. A cousin to Café Rialto in Dorking but with a very different remit, 
Rialto Lounge has taken over where Vecchia Trattoria once stood.

Having browsed the typically bipolar views found on certain internet review services, I decided it was best to head there with an open mind.

With some of my favourite restaurants over the past few years being Italians (or, more specifically, Al Boccon Di’Vino in Richmond, Carlo’s Trattoria at Newlands Corner and La Luna in Godalming) and having just returned from a visit to Rome, I was certainly excited to see what we would find.

Arriving as an Aston Martin swept by with a kid who looked barely out of school behind the wheel, we headed into Rialto Lounge on a quiet weekday evening.

Inside, we found red brick walls lined with bottles from an extensive wine list (which the manager takes great pride in) and a real sense of homeliness despite the large and open layout.

Greeted at the door by the manager who, fresh from Soho’s dining scene, described his long-term vision for the place as ‘sexy Italian dining’ we chose to settle at one of the high tables with stools.

Wanting to get a grip on as much of the menu as possible, we opted for the full four courses – there are also pizzas (available for takeaway), salads and sharing platter options (selections of cheese or meats).

With a carafe of chianti, I tucked into my baked aubergine and mozzarella (Melanzane alla parmigiana) starter, which was mouth-watering and could have easily been a main course in its own right. It’s the kind of dish I’d eat again and again, all smothered in Parmesan cheese. Sylviane opted for the meatballs (Polpette al sugo), which were obviously fresh and served in their own tomato sauce.

For our primi, Sylviane’s carbonara (Tagliolini alla carbonara) was slightly over salted for our tastes, but the pasta was delicious, while my tagliatelle with tiger prawns (Tagliatelle ai gamberoni) was equally fine – although I thought the flavours could have sung a little more than they did. Not a bad dish though at all.

Throughout, a steady stream of diners came through the door, with most seemingly satisfied: whether it was the businesswoman working away on her laptop in the corner while sipping a coffee, the couple sharing a romantic meal, the group of ladies who lunch enjoying 
the wine list, or the man collecting his takeaway pizza.

On to my veal (Scaloppine al Marsala), which was well cooked in a Marsala sauce. The dish was served with baked potatoes and sautéed mushrooms, which I thought could have been ‘sexed’ up a bit more if I’m honest. It’s often the little touches that excite and these were a touch plain. Sylviane’s salmon fillet (Trancio di salmone), with white wine, dill and garlic sauce, was good when hot but didn’t quite seem to hold onto its flavour as it cooled.

For dessert, we shared an excellent and very moreish tiramisu. 



Bright future


So, the verdict. I think Rialto has plenty of potential but trying to satisfy a previous establishment’s diners while looking to move on and entice a new crowd can sometimes be like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. ‘Sexy Italian dining’ sounds extremely exciting and I hope they find the confidence to break free of the shackles that seem to be holding them back slightly.

However, the vision is definitely there, and Rialto Lounge is certainly a welcome new dining destination in Leatherhead. With so many of the big brand mafia filling Surrey’s streets, it’s nice to see another independent giving it a go. Buona fortuna to them.

 

***

 

Get voting!

To vote for your favourite Surrey restaurants, pubs and more in the 2014 Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards, head to our dedicated website at surreylifeawards.greatbritishlife.co.uk.

***

3 more great Italian restaurants in Surrey

Al Boccon Di’Vino
14 Red Lion Street, Richmond 
TW9 1RW: 0208 940 9060
Certainly one of the most unusual restaurants I’ve been to, and definitely the most fun, Richmond’s Al Boccon Di’Vino has rewritten the rule book when it comes to dining in Surrey. There’s no menu.

Carlo’s Trattoria
Shere Road, Newlands Corner, Guildford GU4 8SE: 01483 224180
Perched by the stunning Surrey beauty spot of Newlands Corner, near Guildford, Carlo’s Trattoria is one of those restaurants that you’ve probably seen more times than you’ve been. It’s time to change that…

La Luna
10-14 Wharf Street, Godalming GU7 1NN: 01483 414155
A staple in national eating out guides, La Luna was opened by a group of Italian friends in Godalming in 2001. Its expansive wine list traverses Italy – and the restaurant walls.

More from Surrey Life

Thu, 10:52

Surrey is full of secret hideaways and hidden gems. Slades Farm on the Wintershall Estate is definitely one of them

Read more
Wed, 16:05

The new hotel is set to open in spring 2019 and will be located in the heart of the vineyard, offering sweeping views over the North Downs Way.

Read more
Tue, 10:53

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Tue, 10:47

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tue, 10:41

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Mon, 14:32

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Mon, 12:56

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Mon, 12:13

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (16, 17 and 18 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more
Friday, November 2, 2018

With the Christmas celebrations seemingly starting earlier every year, it all feels a little too ‘soon’ sometimes, but what if you want to look your best for Christmas & New year celebrations and are considering having cosmetic non-surgical procedures? The Bella Vou Pantiles Clinic offers surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments from a purpose-built private clinic in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Living in England’s most densely wooded county, it’s always a pleasure to witness Surrey donning its autumn finery. Here’s some of the best places to do just that - plus a few pub pit stops to enjoy on route!

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We are regularly reminded of the high cost of housing with statistics revealing that only one in three millennials will be able to afford their own home during their lifetime and that most will remain in the category known as Generation Rent

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search