The Chateau, Croydon, Surrey CRO 5RE - restaurant review

With Christmas just around the corner, the search begins for a place to enjoy some festive fare. Keen to try something a little different from the traditional turkey, restaurant critic JOHN HUGHES visited The Chateau, a Croydon restaurant with a French twist

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2007

 REVIEWED: The Chateau, Coombe Lane, Croydon, Surrey CRO 5RE: 0208 686 1244


If you fancy Christmas or Boxing Day away from your own Hell's Kitchen for a change and live within party popping distance of Croydon, The Chateau could be the place for you - a long established dining venue still known to locals by its former name, Chateau Napoleon. There are special menus for both days, plus a great offer for New Year's Eve; and as the festive season seems to stretch from August bank holiday to Burns Night nowadays, there are of course a la carte and set menus to choose from for any other day. We went along to see how the fare fared. The a la carte and set menu, which changes monthly, offer a generous selection of traditional European dishes with a leaning towards Italian. From the set menu (three courses for only �18.50), I began with Roasted Figs, Parma Ham and Ogen Melon Salad, served with balsamic and olive oil dressing, the figs adding interest to a familiar starter. Photographer Helen went for succulent Panfried Tiger Prawns with garlic, white wine and lemon, though opted out of the red chilli, perhaps wisely to avoid clouding the natural seafood flavour. Good presentation... So on to the main courses. My Pan Seared Beef on Flat Mushroom was fine. As well as a mushroom, the dish was presented on a bed of artichokes and aubergines and served with a selection of fresh vegetables and potatoes. Not a lover of strong cheeses, I was hesitant about the presence of melted Gorgonzola - however it didn't overpower the other flavours and, like the figs in my starter, brought an unexpected interest. Helen went vegetarian and enjoyed a generous Homemade Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli served with parmesan, roasted tomatoes and basil. And nice to see main courses presented to table under cloche plate covers. Bit of a tussle over desserts - we both wanted something chocolatey. I lost and resigned myself to a healthy Fresh Fruit Plate (strawberries, pineapple, melon, banana and kiwi fruit) while Helen risked piling on the pounds and shattering her cholesterol level with a White & Dark Chocolate Bavarois - a sort of cross between a souffl� and a mousse. No hard feelings there! Warmth and comfort... The Chateau is an attractive dining venue with much oak-panelling and low-ish ceilings providing an atmosphere of warmth and comfort. Walls are adorned with period artwork and paintings, with 'Boney' still very much in evidence. It's also popular for wedding receptions, private parties, functions and business meetings. And here too you can't quite escape the French influence with private function rooms entitled Napoleon and Josephine - a cosy place in which to pull a festive wishbone apart, perhaps? What we ate From the October Set Menu (�18.50 for 3 courses) Roasted Figs, Parma Ham & Ogen Melon Salad Pan Seared Beef on a Flat Mushroom Fresh Fruit Plate From the A La Carte Menu Panfried Tiger Prawns � 9.50 Homemade Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli �12.00 White and Dark Chocolate Bavarois � 6.00 Drinks House Claret - Chateau Gamage 2005 (1/2 bottle) �10.50 THE VERDICT Food and wine 8/10 Venue 7/10 Service 8/10

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