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The French Table, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 4AW - restaurant review

PUBLISHED: 19:16 06 December 2010 | UPDATED: 15:14 20 February 2013

The French Table, Surbiton

The French Table, Surbiton

At Surbiton's French Table, The Good Life lives on. In fact, our restaurant critic JOHN HUGHES was so impressed by his meal that he was left in little doubt that Margot and Jerry Leadbetter would most definitely have been regulars there

Restaurant review: The French Table 85 Maple Road, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 4AW: 020 8399 2365

At Surbiton's French Table, The Good Life lives on. In fact, our restaurant critic JOHN HUGHES was so impressed by his meal that he was left in little doubt that Margot and Jerry Leadbetter would most definitely have been regulars there

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Food & wine 9/10
Service 9/10
Venue 9/10

What we ate...

Wild halibut 8.50
Roast quail 8.50

Main Courses
Roast 'Basque' suckling pig 16.20
Magret of duck Landais 16.50

Caramelised pear 5.95
Chocolate amandine 5.95
Wine Chateau Grand Village,
Bordeaux Superior 22.50

REVIEW: Hands up - I've driven down Maple Road in Surbiton many times and never even noticed The French Table, tucked away as it is in the middle of a terrace containing shops, a pub and wine bar (the latter advertising in the window a cocktail unique to Surbiton - a Margot and Jerry - after the characters from The Good Life!).

The facade is indeed quite narrow and inconspicuous, but once inside there is a Tardis-like feeling of space, greatly enhanced by a mirrored wall at the back of the dining room that seems to double its size.

The French Table has been serving high quality French/Mediterranean cuisine since 2001 and is run by husband and wife team Eric and Sarah Guignard. Eric was born in France, trained in Paris and learnt his craft in many Michelin-starred restaurants, whilst Sarah runs the front of house, and she was on hand when we arrived to provide the warmest of welcomes. Fresh bread and rolls were served almost immediately, and in true French fashion - straight on to the tablecloth without side plates!

Classic brasserie style

The menu is simply laid out in classic brasserie style with just a handful of starters, mains and desserts - all medium priced. Having avoided the temptation of the duo of foie gras maison, I started with wild halibut wrapped in spinach, served on toasted brioche with mustard sauce, while my guest had roast quail with honey, grape and walnut salad, served with a deep fried quail egg and raisin dressing. Presentation was delightful, flavours full and blended skilfully. Mine was divine.

I could actually have done the entire starter section alone with other temptations on offer such as home smoked mackerel with beetroot salad, horseradish and crme fraiche, and Scottish venison with black peppercorns, cremeux of chestnut and curcuma and celeriac remoulade.
For my main, I was swept away by my roast Basque suckling pig, apple mousseline, onion confit with thyme jus. The pork was succulent, and the side orders of vegetables a perfect complement - carrots with a hint of honey, green beans with a touch of garlic and saut potatoes. My guest chose the magret of duck Landais with crispy duck leg, potato and celeriac gratin with red wine sauce.

Desserts to die for

The desserts were to die for - chocolate amandine with vanilla ice-cream, and caramelised pear coated in walnut crumble with ginger pain perdu and liquorice ice-cream. With more time to spare, I would have plumped for the coconut souffl with chocolate milk-shake, which requires 20 minutes preparation time!

As you would expect from a French brasserie of quality, the wine menu is concise and very well chosen. I enjoyed a modest but excellent Chateau Grand Village, Bordeaux Superior - clean and crisp and particularly well matched with my halibut starter. Nor is the selection exclusively French; most of Europe is represented, plus South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

A top place to eat

The French Table is a great find and has now been promoted into my top three favourite places to eat in Surrey - a delightful, relaxed and satisfying dining experience. If they were still around (or rather if they had existed at all), Margot and Jerry Leadbetter would have been regulars, though Tom and Barbara Good might not have been quite so keen!

3 other French restaurants in Surrey to try:

La Barbe
71 Bell Street, Reigate RH2 7AN
Tel: 01737 241966
With its Gallic atmosphere, La Barbe serves a fine selection of classical and provincial French cuisine.

Cafe de Paris
35 Castle Street, Guildford GU1 3UQ
Tel: 01483 534896
With summer just around the corner, you could make the most of this restaurant's outdoor terrace for that full continental effect.

Chez Lindsay
11 Hill Rise, Richmond TW10 6UQ
Tel: 020 8948 7473
Forget dinner on the Seine and instead feast near the Thames in this delightfully welcoming French restaurant.

Love everything French? Click here to view our fantastic range of books, magazines and our annual France calendar!

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