The waiters are quizzed on ingredients with such frequency and enthusiasm that I fear for our chances of catching the last train home
Comfort seems to be a dirty word in restaurant design circles these days, but after a long, damp trek from the railway station (you try getting a taxi in Dorking on a wet Friday evening), it’s pure pleasure to collapse into Sorrel’s plump, velvety banquettes and be spoiled rotten for a couple of hours. “I don’t think anyone else walked,” my friend whispers, eyeing up the frocks and ties on neighbouring tables. I suspect she’s right – not in those heels, anyway – but whether they came by bus or Bentley, everyone seems genuinely excited to be here, quizzing the waiters on ingredients and techniques with such frequency and enthusiasm that I begin to fear for our chances of catching the last train home. Either they’re all really, really interested in food, or I’m not the only one writing a review here.
While Jay and Giles do have a tendency to blend into the woodwork, my money’s on the former: chef Steve Drake kept locals and Michelin men alike happy for over a decade at his previous place in Ripley, and reports suggest this new joint is already booked up three months ahead, despite the London prices. Then again, this is Surrey, and it feels like it, too: all thick carpets and tastefully exposed beams; even the open kitchen is politely tucked away by the loos.