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The Dining Room

10 Queen's Road, Hersham, Surrey

This restaurant opened in the mid-1980s and seems to have gone from strength to strength. No short cuts and a welcome attention to detail have ensured that laurels have not been rested upon. The decor is hugely mauve, but mellow with it, and applied with a knowing sense of self deprecation and irony. Comfort is not exactly a priority, tables are squashed together and chairs are hard, but that doesn't put off the punters, who would rather have good food on the table than posh napery and cushions. In summer, the terrace is a most attractive area in which to dine.

The cooking is eclectic with starters from various traditions, but the essential main courses are typically substantial British pies. Starters ranged from goat's cheese tartlets - good and with a rich red onion marmalade, to filo parcels filled with "tiny prawns",  - the pastry a bit oily, but tasty nevertheless. Grilled sardines from the daily specials board came on a bed of cous cous with preserved lemon. The fish were good but the cous cous was rather too soggy and the lemon was too finely shredded. Sardines need an even bigger hit of lemon. Best of all was the bacon wrapped around spiced pieces of banana, so simple yet so effective!

The lamb and mint pie showed how good they are at this sort of thing. The smoked haddock with a cheesy gratin was deemed a success and the stincotto - braised pork hock was enough to ensure that you wouldn't go hungry over the next couple of days. 

Puddings are a real triumph here - even the ice creams are just that bit  more special than usual Proper puddings include spotted dick (couldn't manage that after the stincotto!) but my pal raved about his lemon pudding. The wobbly trifle was good, but needed more custard and less aggressive almond rataffia biscuits which overpowered the other flavours. 

There's a well thought out children's menu (present were some very well behaved kids, nice to see the whole family out for an early evening dinner), so look out for dishes from the Worm Department! For grown ups there's a useful and fairly priced wine list.

Our three course dinner for four with four bottles of wine came to £160 (Food: £88.95, Beverages £54.35)

The Dining Room
10 Queen's Road, Hersham, Surrey Tel: 01932 231686
Open Mon-Fri Lunch & Dinner
Saturday Dinner only
Sunday Lunch only

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