Sunday, February 12, 2006

Tony Tobin @ The Dining Room, Reigate

Tony Tobin @ The Dining Room
59 High Street

Tel: 01737 226 650

It's nice when you ring up a top restaurant to ask if they have a vegetarian option on their menu to be told that they have a vegetarian menu. And so it was with Tony Tobin @ The Dining Room.

Tony Tobin is probably known to most people from his appearances on Ready Steady Cook and he took over this particular restaurant in 2001.

The restaurant itself is above the shops and were shown to a window table that looked out over Reigate High Street.

The veggie menu isn't bad, and there are three choices for both starter and main courses. I chose Rich Cepes Risotto for starters and Roasted Root Vegetable Kromseki with Garlic Mash and Braised Puy Lentils.

While waiting, we were presented with a choice of breads including cheese, sundried tomato and herb.

The starters arrived. Unfortunately, there had been a mix up and I was presented with the risotto from the set menu, on which was sitting a lump of fois gras. Not the best dish to set before a vegetarian. Still, the error was sorted out quickly without fuss and the vegetarian risotto arrived with apologies, so no harm done.

The risotto was well presented, suitably gloopy and the cepes had a nice smoky flavour.

The main course consisted of roasted parsnips, roast carrots, wild mushrooms, spinach and puy lentils inside a ring of garlic mashed potato. On top of this was a ball of potato, tomato and thyme (I think) that had been cooked to give it a crispy coating. The vegetables and lentils were really tasty and something in the mix gave it a bit of a kick. The garlic mash was incredibly smooth, creamy and had a wonderful flavour. The potato ball on that sat on the top of the vegetables had its own flavour and finished the dish off nicely.

For dessert I had a dish which I think was described as a Banana Tatin (or similar). What arrived on the plate wasn't far off a work of art. The banana had been halved lengthwise and was placed on a banana shaped pastry and then caramelised. This was served with ice cream, a biscuit and drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauce. Wow! It tasted lovely. I was terrified that the biscuit was going to explode everywhere while I was trying to break off bits with my spoon, but luckily it was not to be.

The service was very good, the waiting staff very attentive and they dealt very well with the little glitch at the start of the meal. The restaurant itself is very well dressed and tidy, much as you would expect a restaurant of this calibre to be. If you've a special occasion coming up (or even if you haven't) Tony Tobin @ The Dining Room is worth a visit.

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