The last few weeks I’ve been slowly settling into my new surroundings and still on the hunt for great places to eat. At the moment Sunday mornings are spent either at the gym (other half), or running like a lunatic around the park trying my best to concentrate and stay on two feet, especially as the Berlin marathon is just over three weeks away!! I’ve got a healthy appetite at the best of times, so you can imagine after running for a few hours the need for something filling, hearty and tasty. Located on Woking’s pedestrianised high street is Tante Marie Restaurant, in these parts the establishment is known for its culinary school status – the oldest independent cookery school in the country no less, but a few months ago it opened a restaurant to show off some of the talent it nurtures.
The restaurants dining room is decked out in an informal yet stylish manner with smart wooden tables, comfy leather backed chairs and cool industrial style lighting – definitely a nice place to spend a few hours in. On Sundays there’s a set menu with two courses (£20) or three courses (£25) and as gluten free choices are important for the other half, we quickly checked with the kitchen what options were available. Fortunately there was good news with most dishes being GF or could be adapted to suit, so both of us went for two courses, surprisingly I went for a main course and dessert finding the idea of pink grapefruit and gin granita too irresistible.
Rabbit rillettes with gluten free croutes and salad started the lunch off well, the rillette still had substance and the rabbit came through subtly. The bread was a pleasant surprise and actually had the taste and texture of bread, unlike most we’ve tried which have been really tasteless and very un-breadlike! The rillette was an unexpected choice as pineapple is one the other half’s food hates, however it went well with the rabbit and helped cut through any richness, without masking its delicate flavour.
As far as roasts go the meat on both plates was beautifully cooked, portions were a little stingy though – just two slices of beef and a breast and a leg from a poussin, so hardly the largest of birds. Maybe I’m doing them a disservice as far as my plate goes as there was also some bacon and a chipolata alongside the chicken. The extras did their best to make up for it with a summery bowl of veg, roasties, mash, parsnips and the Yorkshire that were all done well. I’m a gravy lover, so there definitely could’ve been more and a gravy boat on the side would’ve pleased both the haters and gravy lovers amongst us. The bread sauce was fine and the horseradish cream needed more punch, it was far too polite and deserved a whack more heat! The Yorkshire was crisp and light, not the biggest but it did the trick, I always feel sorry for my husband as he has to go without and his roast dinner ends up looking a little lonely without one. In hindsight I wish I’d been quicker off the mark and suggested having his on my plate instead, considering it was still being paid for.
I was determined to finish lunch off with the granita that’d caught my eye early on and my decision was fully justified – absolutely no negatives with the dessert, I loved it! For someone who’s not really a fan of heavy puddings this was perfect – refreshingly sharp with pink grapefruit balanced by the sugary meringue, the cheeky hit of gin making it even better still.
Overall, I really liked Tante Marie – there’s a good standard of cooking and waiting times are reasonable. The space is modern, formal without feeling stuffy and the staff are friendly and helpful. I’m sure it won’t be the last time I visit, I just hope they’re more generous with the meat on a roast and have a bit more punch to some of the additional extras.