The Lock, runnymede-on-thames hotel, Egham, Surrey TW20 0AG - restaurant review

Following a major revamp, the swanky new restaurant at the runnymede-on-thames hotel is proving something of a hit, not only with guests but with visitors from around Surrey looking for an evening dining destination. MATTHEW WILLIAMS paid a visit

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2010

Restaurant reviewed: The Lock, runnymede-on-thames hotel, Egham, Surrey TW20 0AG Tel: 01784 220 960

Following a major revamp, the swanky new restaurant at the runnymede-on-thames hotel is proving something of a hit, not only with guests but with visitors from around Surrey looking for an evening dining destination. MATTHEW WILLIAMS paid a visit

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Verdict

Food and drink 9Service 8Venue 8

What we ate

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StartersRed mullet with shaved fennel, red pepper and parsley vinaigrette �6.75Grilled prawn and squid brochette, salad of puy lentils, baby spinach and basil �7.95

Main CoursesRoast West Country rack of lamb with new potatoes, thyme jus, stuffed courgette and baby peppers �45 for two

DessertsSelection of artisan cheeses, home-made pickle and chutney �7.75Hot chocolate fondant, caramel mousse and vanilla ice-cream �6.75

DrinksPierre Luneau Papin Muscadet, Loire Valley, France �23

REVIEW: It’s been all change at the Runnymede Hotel just lately: out is the historical shtick of the Magna Carta, local lock-keepers and all, and in is a new rebranding focussing on location, location, location – perhaps a little less magical, but the results are certainly impressive.

The interior of their newly revamped restaurant, The Lock (previously Charlie Bell’s), is a case in point: super-stylish with a rather retro, Seventies sort of feel about it (the parquet flooring is a particularly nice touch). All really rather swanky, chintz this is not...

While a map on the wall acts as a reminder of just how much there is to do in the area, with Windsor Castle, Legoland etc all on the doorstep, there is no doubt that these days the hotel is aiming to be a destination in its own right.

On arrival, we were offered a choice of inside or outside dining and, although it was a sunny day, we felt the indoor experience would be closer to what readers would be likely to experience in the coming months. I was also a tad worried about aircraft noise, as you do really notice that you are under the Heathrow flightpath in the Runnymede area.

Perhaps inspired by the attractive riverside setting (or maybe it was the giant stuffed pike on display in the hotel foyer), my partner and I both decided to go for seafood dishes to start off with.

Delivered on beds of refreshing salad, Sylviane’s squid and prawn dish went down a treat and my red snapper did the trick likewise. The restaurant takes great pride in having their fish delivered fresh daily from sustainable sources, and so they should.

To wash it down, we chose a bottle of the excellent Pierre Luneau Papin Muscadet, from the Loire Valley, which hit the spot perfectly.

I should say at this point, by the way, that the ‘between course’ bread is fantastic – the onion variety proving to be a particular highlight for us (so much so that it’s amazing we had room for anything else).

Just the two of usThere was only one choice really when it came to the main course, as their rack of lamb signature sharing dish leapt off the menu.

The joy of sharing and simplicity is a very homely feeling and, despite sitting in a hotel restaurant, we were promptly whisked away to some country cottage.

Tender lamb came off the bone with little need for cajoling, and an experience I associate more closely with tapas or large scale Sunday roasts made for a thoroughly intimate affair.

Having got a taste for sharing, we picked a chocolate fondant for dessert (a part warm, part crunchy, part cold delight) and cheese platter (I particularly enjoyed the blue, though the goat’s cheese was a tad overpowering for my liking) for a sweet and savoury finale.

On leaving, I noticed a collection of decorated ducks in the hotel foyer. Apparently, these have gradually been disappearing, one assumes as keepsakes into the pockets of slightly inebriated guests. Suffice to say, after such a fantastic meal, we’d have taken the chef home instead if we could, if only we’d brought a suitable travel case with us. Next time.

3 other riverside restaurants in Surrey

The Stag on the River  Lower Eashing Road, Eashing, Godalming, Surrey GU7 2QGTel: 01483 421568Perched on the banks of the River Wey in the charming and sleepy Surrey village of Lower Eashing, you will find the Stag on the River pub.

Riverside Vegetaria64 High Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey KT1 1HNEstablished in 1989, this award-winning Kingston eatery has been a much-loved vegetarian dining destination for years.

The PetershamNightingale Lane, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6UZ020 8940 7471Dominating the Thames from its hilltop setting, The Petersham is a popular haunt for celebrities.

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