La Luna, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1NN - restaurant review

A staple in national eating out guides, La Luna, which was opened by a group of Italian friends in Godalming in 2001, is celebrating its tenth anniversary next year. MATTHEW WILLIAMS went along to see if their legendary fare lived up to the billing

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2010

Restaurant reviewed: La Luna, 10-14 Wharf Street, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1NN Tel: 01483 414155



Food and drink 8 and 10 Service 9 Venue 8

What we ate

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Starters Bruschetta, new season garlic, Isle of Wight tomatoes, wild oregano �4.95 Calamari fritti, oak smoked salmon, octopus salad  �9.95 Prosciutto di Parma Gran Riserva, 17 months matured  �6.25  

Main Courses Swordfish steak, cherry tomato and cucumber salsa, served with rocket leaves  �14.95 Saut�ed potatoes  �2 Seared Barbary duck breast, redcurrant sauce, baked endive and pancetta, parmesan and polenta flan  �15.50 

Desserts Coppetta di tiramisu  �5.95 Italian cheese selection  �9.95 

Drinks Biferno Rosso Riserva Montepulciano 2004  �21


REVIEW: As you walk into La Luna in Godalming, you realise that the glint of wall you spied through the frontage isn’t in fact mirrors; it’s bottle after bottle after bottle of red, white and ros� wine.

You see, they take their wine pretty seriously at this modern Italian eatery, which celebrates its tenth anniversary next year. I suppose there’s no need for wallpaper when you can deck the walls with a hand-picked selection of some 150 Italian wines.

My girlfriend and I always end up agonising over what wine to go for in restaurants (she drinks white, I drink red...), but instead of calling the whole thing off, we’ve decided lately to go for a bottle of one or the other, to broaden both our horizons.

The huge list of options at La Luna certainly provides the opportunity for a little experimentation. Wine comes by the glass, carafe, half-bottle and the full version – and a note at the end of the short list points towards a separate list of rare and vintage wines over �30. Sadly, though, I’m still waiting on the payday that my long lost but apparently very rich Nigerian cousin promised in the e-mail...

As the restaurant’s own heavenly namesake blazed in the cool autumn sky outside, a relaxed, convivial  atmosphere pervaded inside – from the warm Italian welcome to the soft, subtle lighting.

I did think that the branding made the restaurant seem a bit ‘chain-like’, but there is little doubting that once inside you’re part of a very independent love affair at La Luna. The chef’s even called Valentino Gentile. Beat that, Strada...

To someone not used to grand tours of Italy (i.e. me), the four-course menu (antipasti, primi, secondi, dolci) can at first seem a little intimidating, but you quickly get the feel of things.

Picking three dishes from the antipasti, we were particularly impressed with the prosciutto, which rather kicked the seafood selection and bruschetta into touch, despite neither being anything other than tasty.

A work of art For my main course, I decided to deviate from the more traditional Italian fare and went for swordfish. Having skipped the primi course, and craving some carbohydrates, I coupled it with saut�ed potatoes (essential I think if you haven’t opted for the primi course).

Meanwhile, Sylviane’s duck arrived like a work of art, although how it would have fared alongside a da Vinci will forever remain a mystery, as in what seemed like no time, all that was left were empty plates. For those wondering how our wine wager was going, by the way, our bottle of red had conquered Sylviane’s early scepticism and proved a real winner.

A traditional tiramisu and plate of Italian cheeses concluded our feast – both great but, being picky, I’d have chosen a rustic loaf over breadsticks (from my one visit to Rome, however, I imagine no Italian meal would be complete without them).

As we relaxed over coffees (full and flavoursome) and overheard a well-to- do couple expressing their delight to the manager (their unscheduled trip was down to a designer kitchen installation at their home), imaginations flirted with thoughts of summer road trips to Tuscany. Perhaps a Surrey Life travel section is in order... 


3 other Surrey restaurants with fantastic food

Brasserie Vacherin  12 High Street, Sutton SM1 1HN Continue your European adventure at this little slice of France that is the latest in the Malcolm John stable – think La Cassoulet and Fish & Grill in Croydon.

Tony Tobin @ The Dining Room 59a High Street, Reigate RH2 9AE A welcoming first floor eatery still drawing crowds from near and far – George Best was a patron in his day.

Kinghams Gomshall Lane, Shere GU5 9HE After 18 years, this stalwart of the Surrey dining scene remains a popular destination eatery set in the beautiful village of Shere.

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