The car park was littered with expensive cars, but when we entered the restaurant we were greeted by a quiet hush. A sunny room, there were only two other tables occupied by aging couples. Shuffling around uncomfortably for a minute or two, we were greeted by the lone waitress and shown to our table before she disappeared completely. After a wait, she eventually emerged to offer us drinks. Dressed casually, she gave the impression that she owned or was a parner of the place. I had to ask her to take our coats. At this point I was afraid to even cough, the restaurant was so quiet and it made for an awkward dining experience, devoid of any ambience aside from what we created ourselves.
We were only offered a set menu, each course with three options. My starter was chicken liver parfait; a huge block of silky smooth liver accompanied by heady truffle-scented brioche and a plum chutney to lighten things up a bit. It was a mammoth portion, and as delicious as it was, there was not enough chutney or bread. Or perhaps there was too much parfait. It was left half finished.
My main, a fillet of cod on creamed potatoes and leeks with a scallop roe sauce was well cooked. The potatoes and leeks had obviously been made with swathes of butter while the sauce was only vaguely reminiscient of its description. It was a very rich dish, and it could have done with an acidic element to balance it out. Across the table, lamb fillet was disappointingly over-cooked.
We decided against dessert and had coffees instead. Petit fours were "cocoa-dusted lumps of butter" and rather unpalatable.
To add to the lacking ambience and general comfort of the room, service was pretty shocking. Don't, for example, leave our bottle of wine on a shelf by the side when there's perfectly enough room on the table and then leave our glasses empty - I am not a fan of empty glasses. No water was offered, and the waitress seemed to be more interested in sitting down and having a natter with one of the other couples, obviously friends of hers, than doing her job properly. I am in complete bafflement as to why they still have a Michelin star. The food may have been worth the £20 for two courses, but based on this experience, don't bother.
Drakes on the Pond
Dorking RH5 6SA
Tel: 01306 731 174