Formerly Drakes restaurant in Ripley, serving good quality dishes at a reasonable price at Michelin starred level (2018 guide)
The Clock House is another addition to the newly promoted starred family in the GB and Ireland Michelin guide for 2018. I was passing through on a Saturday for lunch and the £30 set menu represented exceedingly good value, especially as it turned out to be 6 courses when all said and done. The overall quality of the meal was a pleasure to receive and thankfully was another addition to the starred family I agree with, although there were parts of the service that marred the experience somewhat in comparison to more slick affairs that one can come across. However, as a value for money option at Michelin starred level in a cosy dining room set within a charming village of Surrey, you really cannot go wrong here for lunch and I will be happy to come back to try dinner or another menu based on the skill seen in this first visit.
The openers started with mushroom croquette with tarragon and mushroom and crisps with salted orange gel and soy gel with sesame. I found the crisp was at the limit of saltiness and croquette had punch of tarragon but a little dry inside, but otherwise these were a fair start.
The amuse bouche of broccoli mousse with Stilton had an absolutely lovely mousse with just enough kick of the Stilton and wonderful element of pickled walnuts on top with the oxtail cooked in red wine which gave the sharpness it needed. This was a lovely amuse bouche.
The pork belly starter was beautifully done and its tangy emulsion with orange coulis was good choice for the tender and fatty pork. The accompanying Merlot was chosen very well with lovely, complimentary sweetness. The short rib beef slow-cooked for 3 hours with kohlrabi, and mustard sauce was wonderful and tender. The perfect fat, beautiful mushroom purée and mustard sauce was very good and it simply could have done with far kore sauce.
The pre-dessert of sea buckthorn, carrot pureee and coconut foam was sweet, creamy and refreshing and a good combination for the transition required. The chocolate mousse, salted orange gel, olive oil emulsion and goats milk ice cream had quite a lot of savoury but I thought they balanced nicely overall.
Petit fours of bitter chocolate truffle (almost smokey) had gorgeously smooth texture and bounce; the other elements of lemon vinesse, white chocolate, vanilla and espresso gel had no issues with the latter being extremely good.
I was very pleased to have visited here and it was in no way a waste of time or money – far from it, this is actually one of the best valued Michelin starred restaurants in the country and moreover, can back it itself up with some very well chosen flavours. Not every part of the meal was a success and the strain on the staff was obvious on occasion as dishes were explained poorly and in a hurry and having to wait 25 minutes for the bread at the beginning of the meal. As usual, the floor manager had customary care but some of the staff appeared to be in need of more professional finesse.
Food Grade: 77%
Location (Click google logo for directions)