The Westerly, Reigate, Surrey RH2 9AN - restaurant review - CLOSED

This month, restaurant critic John Hughes visited one of the best restaurants in Reigate, The Westerly, which has been garnering some impressive reviews

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine 2007

Reviewed: The Westerly, 2-4 London Road, Reigate, Surrey RH2 9AN Tel: 01737 222733

This month, restaurant critic John Hughes visited one of Reigate's newest restaurants, The Westerly, which has been garnering some impressive reviews

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*The Westerly closed its doors for the last time in November 2011

Sitting enjoying a pint outside the Stephan Langton pub in Friday Street near Dorking last autumn, I overheard the outgoing encumbants saying they were off to open a bistro in Reigate, on the London Road where Sweet Potato used to be. I knew precisely the location, but thought little of it until recently when asked to review a new bistro in Reigate, on the London Road - where Sweet Potato used to be! So it was Jon and Cynthia Coombs I had overheard, and their bistro, The Westerly, is now up and running and gaining quite a reputation judging by the reviews. The faade and dining room have a freshness and newness about them that is highly appealing - everything is stylish, modern and delightfully focused on serving good food with originality but avoiding any hint of pretentiousness. Surrey Life's editor, Caroline Harrap, joined me on this occasion and we scoured the menu with interest. The choice was easy for me - as a starter I had to try croquette of pig's head in sauce gribiche. The title conjured up all sorts of strange possibilities, but the dish turned out to be a simple croquette, rich in flavour and complemented well by the mustard, boiled egg and herb-based sauce. For my main course, I chose roast magret of duck with confit hash, pineapple relish and "Secretts" leaves (i.e. a selection of salad leaves from Secretts farm near Millford). As a vegetarian, Caroline found the choice more difficult. Disappointingly, there were no meat free main courses available (without prior notice) and only one starter - beetroot and ricotta ravioli - which we were told could be expanded into a main course. However, fish is not entirely taboo for Caroline and so she started with marinated sardines, vine tomatoes, parsley and olive salad, followed by a main course of roast cod, chick peas, brandade and romesco. I was on my own for desserts with Caroline bowing out defeated. Cynthia recommended the delicious caramelised peaches with marscapone and amaretti biscuits and I took her excellent advice. All dishes were beautifully presented and the service was discreet and very professional. Jon takes pride in the freshness of his produce and sources are listed on the menu - meat from Robert and Edwards, vegetables from Charlie Hicks the Greengrocer, both just round the corner in the High Street, and all fish comes from sustainable sources. The Westerly's wine list is well balanced and approachable with wines available by the glass and in half litre carafes as well as full bottles. This suited me as I was driving and a glass of moderately weighted and fruity Gamay Henri Marionet 2005 was just perfect, as was the glass of prosecco and pomegranate on arrival. Of particular note for local businesses is an upstairs meeting room that seats 20 comfortably and is available for daytime conferences. There is also an attractive lunch menu offering most of the dishes from the main menu and therefore excellent value at �19.50 for three courses and �17.50 for two. The Westerly has given Reigate just what it needed - a well priced, quality modern bistro to complement the chain restaurants and pricey fine dining venues. Once you've been there, you'll almost certainly want to make a return visit. Personally, I've got my eye on the 21-day rib eye of Charolais with triple cooked chips - but don't tell my waistline.

What we ate Starters Croquette of Pig's Head �5.50 Marinated Sardines �6.00 Main Courses Roast Magret of Duck �14.50 Roast Cod �14.50 Desserts Caramelised Peaches �5.00 Drinks Glass of Prosecco and Pomegranate �4.50 Glass of Gamay Henri Marionet 2005 �5.00 The Verdict: Food and wine 7/10 Venue 8/10 Service 8/10

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