Eat Here: The Dining Room at Beaverbrook, SurreyBy Angelica Malin
If you told me that I was going to have one of the best Japanese meals of my life in Leatherhead, in all places, I would have said you were mad. One of the finest sushi experiences of my life, and I’m in the heart of Surrey. Which, I suppose, makes the whole thing that much more impressive. How the chef manages to source such high-quality fish and transform it with creativity and flair, is beyond me. If you’re looking for a special meal outside London, we demand you visit The Dining Room at 5* luxury hotel Beaverbrook. We guarantee their Japanese-inspired restaurant will transport you from Surrey to Japan – here’s why you need to visit:
The restaurant is easy and laid-back, with an edge of sophistication. It’s the perfect marriage of concepts; the restaurant fuses minimalist Japanese cuisine with English country-style interiors, which, somehow, just works. I liked the vibe of the restaurant; casual and elegant, without being pretentious. The kitchen is headed up by Head Chef Taiji Maruyama – a man who is all about the subtly of flavour and artful presentation.
Before I visited, I would have dismissed the concept of a “locally-inspired Japanese menu” but, that’s the thing: the combination of Japanese flavours, plus the use of fresh, natural and seasonal British ingredients, is really quite remarkable.
Eating at The Dining Room is a real culinary treat; you can dine a la carte, or opt for the Chef’s Selection, a multi-course feast, featuring highlights of the menu. We started with the Yellowtail Tiradito with yuzu, kizami wasabi and aubergine – it’s one of the most fresh, zingy and complex ceviche-style dishes I’ve ever tried, with a sharpness coming from a yuzu foam and a touch of heat from the wasabi, all complimenting the fresh fish. We also try the Mixed Kaiso Salad – a selection of mixed seaweeds and Tosazu dressing – and the bite-size salmon tacos, which are both sublime.
The real stars of the show come out when we move onto sushi. I’ve never known such creativity and attention to flavour pairings with sushi – it’s usually either really brash, over-heavy-with-the-mayonaise sushi, or really, really simple sushi. But Beaverbrook does something really unique; their sushi offering is both creative and simple, with flavours that match each other perfectly, neither one out of balance. This is best demonstrated in the Beaverbrook Special Sushi selection; Nigiri, each uniquely paired with complimentary flavours. The selection includes everything from squid to Wagyu beef and wild native eel, and you can taste it all by ordering the Beaverbrook Omakase Nigiri.
Our personal favourites are the Yellowtail with yellow chilli ponzu and black quinoa (great, unexpected crunch), the Loch Duart Salmon with smoked soy crust & wild black garlic (garlic in sushi, who would have expected it) and the stunning Fatty Tuna with truffle yuzu miso and fresh summer truffles (so good we order them tiwce). Tuna and truffle is one combination I wouldn’t have expected, but it worked so, so well. The Nigiri here are so good, words really fail me, but I can tell you this: Head Chef Taiji Maruyama knows exactly what he’s doing.
We move onto mains with the most perfectly cooked, melt-in-your-mouth good Black Cod and some divine asparagus with white sesame dressing and a sprinkling of black quinoa. This food is complex, interesting and mouth-wateringly good. For once, it’s so good, I don’t even want dessert, wanting to keep the memory of the sushi fresh in my mind (I obviously order one anyway: caramelised pear with blackberry sorbet, and it’s delicious).
We kept the whole evening flowing with a rich, oaky sake, expertly paired by Beaverbrook’s sommelier, which complimented the cuisine perfectly. They’ve also an impressive wine list and there’s something seriously good cocktails being served up at The Parrot Bar next door. Anyone for a Sake Martini?
I think you’ll know by now that I totally fell in love with everything about The Dining Room at Beaverbrook; from the food to the friendly, discreet service. The sushi here is, really, next level – their chef has sourced the finest quality fish, and used his own creativity and character to create something truly out-of-this-world. If you visit one restaurant this year, make it this – and order the tuna and truffle nigiri for me.
For more information and to book The Dining Room at Beaverbrook, see here.