Bryce's, Ockley, Surrey RH5 5TH - restaurant review

Seafood lovers stuck in landlocked Surrey should head straight for Bryce's in Ockley for some really good food

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2007

Seafood lovers stuck in landlocked Surrey should head straight for Bryce's in Ockley for some really good food. John Hughes went along to find out more

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Eager to indulge a fondness for seafood, I recently cast my electronic 'net' and ended up landing a superb catch - the website of Bill Bryce's acclaimed gastro pub in Ockley, a few miles south of Dorking. Not long afterwards, my wife and I were settling into the cosy interior of the Old School House on a chilly, windswept night at the beginning of a dining experience to remember.

The traditional atmosphere of Bryce's is very inviting - beamed, comfortable, softly lit and spacious yet intimate - and then there's the mouth watering menu spanning the gamut of seafood fare.

My wife Mary Ann chose for her starter fried salt and pepper squid with sweet chilli and coriander dip from the specials - three huge, puffy pieces of succulent battered squid complemented perfectly with the gently spiced dip. Mine was from the main menu: hot smoked salmon, artichokes and chestnut mushrooms served with wine and bay leaf cream on a warm buckwheat blini.

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My main course was South Coast fillet of sea bream served on a warm porridge of Shetland mussels, chorizo and parma ham with plum tomatoes and thyme fish cream: it was wonderful, with flavours vying for attention around the core of the bream's fine textured white meat. Across the table, Mary Ann was equally impressed with her Loch Fyne scallops and calves liver, beautifully presented with cauliflower puree and florets in a red wine and rosemary jus. Both main courses were served with a selection of fresh vegetables (these at no additional charge) and complemented by a bottle of very reasonably priced South African white, Klippenkop, chenin blanc 2006, at �12.50, one of seven house wines.

A home made individual banoffi pie, cheese petit fours, coffee and a port rounded off a wholly delightful meal.

Bill told us that this year marks his 15th anniversary at the Old School House. He stopped cooking himself a few years ago but has recently diversified, opening another seafood restaurant in Worthing, more contemporary in feel than the Old School House.

Another reviewer wrote that he likes to take friends to Bryce's to impress. I can understand why, especially as seafood of this quality served with imagination and flair rarely comes at such a reasonable price. Having had some grim experiences recently in restaurants (over charged for under performance), Bryce's has restored my faith in the notion of good old fashioned value for money.

Bryce's Seafood Restaurant, The Old School House, Stane Street, Ockley, Surrey RH5 5TH:: 01306 627430

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