The Glasshouse, Kew, Surrey TW9 3PZ - restaurant review

There are only three restaurants in the county with a coveted Michelin star to their name - Drake's in Ripley, Drakes on the Pond in Abinger Hammer, and the focus of JOHN HUGHES' attention this month, The Glasshouse in Kew, near Richmond

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2008

REVIEWED: The Glasshouse, 14 Station Parade, Kew, Surrey TW9 3PZ Tel: 020 8940 6777


What we ate... (Evening dinner menu costs �32 for two courses or �37.50 for three) Starters Grilled organic salmon Warm salad of duck Main Courses Rump of lamb Crisp sea bass Dessert Cheese selection Almond croustillant Wine Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvert, Lebanon 2005 �24.50 bottle �7 per glass VERDICT Food & wine 10/10 Service 9/10 Venue 9/10


A surprisingly modest-looking place, tucked away virtually next to Kew Gardens station, The Glasshouse has a reputation for classic French cuisine sprinkled with broader European influences (Spanish and Italian). It is one of only three Michelin-starred restaurants in Surrey and has received the award since 2002, thanks primarily to the culinary skills of head chef Anthony Boyd. The name of the restaurant is, of course, a bow towards Decimus Burton's magnificent glasshouse in Kew Gardens, just a stone's throw away, but it also reflects the venue's own faade consisting of glass from floor to ceiling. Thus, the interior is light and bright and conducive to the serving of fine food and wine. The dinner menu consisted of around eight starters, mains and desserts, with an invitation to cater for any dietary requirements. A few had a supplementary charge but, mainly, they all fell within the set menu prices. With my eye firmly on the lamb as a main, I chose grilled organic salmon as a starter, served with cockles, sauce vierge and coleslaw - beautifully presented and the salmon was especially flavoursome. My daughter Helen's starter was more substantial - warm salad of duck with balsamic vinegar and a deep fried truffled egg, a relative it seems of their signature salad of wood pigeon with truffled egg. Helen's verdict - fantastic! My main course, rump of lamb with olive oil crushed potatoes, green beans, peppers, olives and rosemary, was again superbly presented with the potatoes providing a bed for the strips of lamb and the vegetables layered on top. The meat was pink, but not too pink, the flavour and texture rich and smooth. Meanwhile, Helen's crisp sea bass with grilled king prawn, fennel puree, galette potato, tomato and broad bean vinaigrette sounded quite a daunting prospect but turned out to be quite modest. I tried the sea bass and had to agree that it was worth the �4 supplement. For dessert, I chose a selection of five cheeses from Neal's Yard and La Fromagerie, all described and explained by a helpful waitress, and Helen managed to squeeze in an almond croustillant with warm apple compote, blackberries and crme anglaise. As for the wine list, well how long have you got - it's 23 pages long, 500 bins in total! A fascinating read and I particularly liked the fact that it listed the wines without attempting flowery descriptions; there was professional guidance on hand, much more useful. My modest choice was made out of curiosity rather than superior knowledge, Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvert, a red from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Overall verdict - great food and service and a lovely dining area. Too expensive for me to become a regular, but then I didn't expect it to be cheap. I've dined at Drake's in Ripley and can see why both have the Michelin star accolade; as far as all-round quality goes they're on a par. So that's two down, one to go... *** And the two other Surrey Michelin stars... Drake's, The Clock House, High Street, Ripley GU23 6AQ: 01483 224777 Chef and owner Steve Drake has the golden touch when it comes to Michelin stars with his artisan cooking. Drakes on the Pond (since closed), Dorking Road, Abinger Hammer RH5 6SA: 01306 731174 Set in the idyllic village of Abinger Hammer, Drakes on the Pond offers fine cooking with the best ingredients.

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