The French Table, Surbiton KT6 4AW - restaurant review
PUBLISHED: 09:40 20 November 2015 | UPDATED: 10:22 20 November 2015
In this year's final for Surrey Life Restaurant of the Year were three exceptional but very different establishments. Here, our esteemed judge, Dr Anita Eves, head of the department of hospitality at the university of Surrey in Guildford, shares her experience of each one
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2015
Winner: The French Table
85 Maple Road, Surbiton KT6 4AW
Tel: 0208 399 2365
Open for 15 years, the dedication of The French Table’s patrons, Sarah and Eric Guignard, is such that they once lived upstairs. Success, however, meant they were forced to move their family out, so they could expand. Still not a large restaurant, the décor is refined, giving a contemporary, modern feel.
The service is impeccable from Sarah, who leads the front-of-house team through to the waiting staff. When we visited, all were well-versed in the dishes; not only able to describe each one perfectly, but also with an enthusiasm and passion.
I can see why there are calls for Michelin stars for Eric’s food. We chose the tasting menu, with the wine flight, but asked for one course to be replaced with a special; the wine was duly changed to match the new dish. Having ordered, we were then offered a choice of four types of home-made bread. Our amuse-bouche was a fresh pea velouté, with morels. Deliciously sweet.
The first course was diver-caught scallop and pork belly with apple sauce, miso caramel and a sesame crisp. The scallop was sweet, the pork soft and meaty, cut through by the tartness of the apple. The sesame crisp comprised a single, delicate layer of white and black sesame seeds.
For the second course, we had pan fried foie gras with confit melon and glazed strawberries with balsamic vinegar. I had a minor hesitation at the ethics of consuming foie gras, but it was stunningly melt-in-the-mouth.
Our fish course was monkfish wrapped in crispy potato with coco de paimpol beans, chorizo, baby artichokes, samphire and crustacean froth. It was delicious, with the varying textures complementing the intense flavours.
Beef fillet with pommes anna, Scottish girolles and a Madeira sauce came next. The beef was just the right texture, and the pommes anna are the best I have eaten.
Finally, after a perfect palate cleanser of apple sorbet, came the dessert course. Designed to share, it comprised five different dishes: crème brûlée, raspberry sorbet, chocolate delice, raspberry millefeuille and pineapple tarte tatin. It was a stunning exhibition of culinary artistry, and a perfect end to a wonderful meal.
My main feeling on leaving this restaurant? How has it taken me 15 years to happen across this gem?
Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards 2015 finalists reviewed
Runner-up: London House