Chez Vous, Warlingham, Surrey CR6 9LA ~ restaurant review

Opened last November, the new French/British restaurant Chez Vous in Warlingham seems to have hit on a winning formula. Surrey Life's Matthew Williams paid a visit

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2012

Restaurant reviewed: Chez Vous, 432 Limpsfield Road, Warlingham CR6 9LA. Tel: 01883 620451

Opened in November, the new French/British restaurant Chez Vous in Warlingham seems to have hit on a winning formula. Surrey Life’s Matthew Williams paid a visit

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The Verdict:Food: 9Venue: 9Service: 9

What we ate

StartersLayered guinea fowl & cured ham terrine with a tomato & basil salsa, �8.25Seared king scallops with a pea puree & crisp pancetta, �10.50

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MainsGrilled fillet of beef with a green peppercorn cream sauce and pont neuf fries, �23.75Braised leg of rabbit cooked with mustard & white wine, pancetta stuffed fondant potatoes, �16.75Saut�ed spinach with a hint of chilli, �3.95

DessertsRich chocolate brownie with caramelised banana and rum & banana ice cream, �6.50Selection of French and local cheeses with chutneys and biscuits, �8

DrinksBrouilly, Domaine Cret de Garanches 2010, �24.85

REVIEW: With 27 years spent in the kitchen of the renowned La Barbe restaurant in Reigate, head chef Laurent Pacaud is already well known to Surrey diners. As it turns out, he also lives just down the road from Surrey Life, but we weren’t about to let any neighbourly bias get in the way of a good review.

Having teamed up with Chez Vous founder Martin Bradley, whose skills were fine-tuned in the kitchens of The Savoy, The Hilton Park Lane and Gleneagles, the pair launched their new restaurant back in November to complement the already successful Chez Vous Events catering company.

Located high on a hill (before snow became the winter norm of recent years, the village was one of the few places that would generally get a sprinkling), Warlingham may not quite have the bustling restaurant strewn streets of Reigate, but there are some great walks nearby and the area is thick with impressive houses. On another point of interest, the village was also the home of Sir Joseph Swan, inventor of the incandescent light bulb.

Found by the triangular village green, French/British restaurant Chez Vous certainly seems to have been a bright idea – and, as it turns out, the venture has every chance of becoming a destination for gourmets far and wide: they’ve even got accommodation for those who have enjoyed the hospitality a little too much.

Midweek treatIt was a quiet Tuesday evening when my fianc�e Sylviane and I arrived, parking in the conveniently located car park and entering through a back door, left open to counter the balmy weather, into a plush bar area.

As with many restaurants in these current times, mid-week customers can be hard to find so it was perhaps no surprise that we were welcomed so warmly and led to our table straight away. The d�cor is modern and the dining room spacious, with plenty of elbow room between settings.

Chez Vous offers the kind of menu where you immediately feel disloyal to favourite dishes, as you realise you can only pick one. From starters to main courses, if we’d been left to our own devices we could have still been sitting there tomorrow deciding.

As it was, Sylviane opted for the large guinea fowl & cured ham terrine, which was as fresh as the weather outside wasn’t, accompanied by a delicious tomato and basil salsa. We’ve had a few terrines in recent months and, I suppose unsurprisingly given the man in the kitchen, this was certainly the best.

My king scallops were perfectly supported with a delectable and decorative pea puree and a crisp piece of pancetta. A simple dish, dressed to perfection, and with a price tag of just over �10 it still surpassed expectations.

To quench any thirst and prepare us for our honeymoon in France later this summer, we opted for a bottle of Beaujolais, which the waiter ensured kept flowing throughout.

The main courses arrived, leg of rabbit for Sylviane and fillet of beef for me. They were again generous in proportions and presented with a flourish: my steak frites were transformed by an artistic touch into something far more magical. After  tucking in to my beef, I tried the equally appealing rabbit, and again found mouth-watering meat, well sauced. New French friendOur standard sweet/savoury dessert decision followed, with me opting for a brownie only bettered by the banana rum ice cream that came with it and Sylviane choosing the cheese platter – Guinness Cheddar proving a highlight.

Chef Laurent left his haven to speak to customers between courses and, as it turned out, as well as living nearby in Redhill, is from a similar area in France to my fianc�e. Five minutes of laughter-filled French conversation later (and me completely lost), our bubbly host was wishing us well on our tour of his homeland. Given the quality of our meal, though, we may well be returning to Warlingham for a bit more practise first.  

3 other great French restaurants

La Barbe71 Bell Street, Reigate RH2 7AN Tel: 01737 241966With its traditional Gallic atmosphere, La Barbe serves up a fine selection of classic French cuisine.

The French Table85 Maple Road, Surbiton KT6 4AW Tel: 0208 399 2365A culinary dream founded and run by a French chef who trained in Paris, they also have their own bakery next door for lighter options.

Brasserie Vacherin12 High Street, Sutton SM1 1HN Tel: 0208 722 0180The celebrated chef Malcolm John has built a reputation off the Gallic finesse of his dishes – and the results at Brasserie Vacherin have drawn continued praise.

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