The Dining Room at Beaverbrook
Ting Dalton heads to Beaverbrook Hotel and samples Japanese cuisine at The Dining Room – their signature restaurant in the heart of Surrey…
Heading up the long driveway to the main house at Beaverbrook Hotel in Leatherhead, you’re overcome with an enormous sense of grandeur – my name had already been radioed ahead via the guard at the gate. So after pulling up outside the late-Victorian mansion, we were escorted from the car to the restaurant in a seamless transition. Before I knew it, my coat had been whisked away, and we were sat a cosy corner for two overlooking Beaverbrook’s vast grounds, which has seen the likes of Winston Churchill and Rudyard Kipling wander some of its 470 acres.
Finding it hard to peel my eyes away from the glorious view, glowing a magnificent orange from the setting sun, I take a minute to observe the surroundings of The Dining Room – Beaverbrook’s Japanese Grill. I’m taken by surprise as instead of bold reds and dark hues, the interiors are elegant, muted and much more in keeping with luxury country-house chic. And while, it seems rather yin and yang to have modern Japanese cuisine served in a traditional British setting – as we all know, opposites attract, and the menu soon grabbed my attention.
I love Japanese food, my only bugbear is that it’s impossible to try everything. After perusing for some time, while munching on a bowl of moreish chilli Edamame, we opted for the Beaverbrook Tasting Menu – consisting of nine different courses. Highlights for me were the Popcorn Shrimp, covered in the lightest tempura; the Yellowtail Sashimi which, accompanied by wasabi and aubergine, was divine and the Cornfed Baby Chicken with Teriyaki and truffles – the skin so crispy and meat so tender, I could have licked the plate clean.
In fact, the most outstanding dish wasn’t even on the tasting menu. Our sommelier happened to mention that the Black Cod Den Miso and Yuzu Miso was his favourite dish, so we went with the flow and ordered that too. The cod was cooked to perfection, falling apart in huge chunks and flavoured with the right balance of sweet and saltiness.
And while you may feel you’re sitting down to afternoon tea when you first arrive, appearances are deceptive. Head chef Taiji Maruyama has successfully married local, seasonal ingredients, some of which is grown in Beaverbrook’s own gardens, with excellent Japanese fare – enough to rival any of the revered Japanese restaurants in the city. The great thing is, I don’t have to go into London now to get my sushi fix, I can just head to Surrey Hills instead.
Beaverbrook Chef’s Selection Tasting Menu is £60 per person (a minimum of two people)