What: The Clock Housee
Who: Serena Drake (owner), Fred Clapperton (Head Chef)
Where: Ripley, Woking, Surrey
Why: Michelin starred restaurant in heart of London's commuter belt
I really enjoyed The Clock House, finding they struck the right balance between serious food but a friendly relaxed environment in which to enjoy it. When a friend told me where we were going, at first it didn't register, but The Clock House is formerly the Michelin starred Drake's. A divorce resulted in Serena Drake taking ownership and Fred Clapperton being promoted to head chef. All credit to them in winning back their Michelin star and on the basis of my visit, I would say fully deserved.
The set lunch menu offers two options for each course and between the table, we got to sample more or less everything, and everything we sampled made us happy diners. The cooking's precise and the flavours generous, with the food balancing the demands of those who enjoy Michelin 'fussery' versus those who seek appealing plates of food they simply want to get stuck in to. Both my mackerel and partridge were fabulous while across the table, the pork belly and grey mullet were equally well received. At £35 for three courses set lunch, nor is it too much of a strain on the wallet (I don't know where the dinner menu is priced). Service was really nice with a mostly young effusive team, friendly yet efficient.
Surrey is the heart of London's commuter belt and it makes a lot of sense to situate a quality restaurant there. Admittedly, few punters are likely to leave London especially to visit but for the well healed of Woking, of which there are many, this is a no brainer for when you want to eat out well.