“Are you sure it’s down this way?” asked the driver of our taxi after we’d been driving for 5 minutes away from the main road into the middle of the woods. While there has been a restaurant tucked away in Sutton Park park for many years, it still seems somewhat of a secret of Sutton residents. Recently this hideaway which is named after the large pool it sits beside, The Bracebridge, has been taken over by a family team, with chef brothers Scott and Steven Lewis in the kitchen. They’ve found it difficult to staff the place, partly because it’s not somewhere you can get public transport to, but after a few months of churn they’re happy now with the team.
We visited for a sunny August birthday lunch, and started out with a well-chilled prosecco. I’m picky about prosecco finding them often too tart and cheap tasting, and I would ordinarily choose a cava or a French sparkling. Occasionally though I try a prosecco like this one, which is balanced and fruity, and perfect for a warm day.
For my starter I chose the Crispy Duck Salad with Watermelon. Julienne vegetables crunched against the cooling watermelon and duck richly dressed with hoisin. We also had the Waldorf salad with seared mackerel. This was a generous starter with celeriac, apples, sultanas, delicate tasting warm mackerel, and a dill crème fraiche dressing. Our friends took the smart looking Tarka Dhal Scallops, and tell us it packed a spicy punch.
While the dishes may be smart, so is the restaurant. The fit out is luxurious with leather, velvets and rose golds. The comfort stretches beyond the à la carte dining room to the restaurant’s outside dining area, and then out again to the less formal terrace where you can order something simple like a pizza or salad, or something fairly fancy like lobster and steak. This large terrace is perfect for those who want to sit around The Bracebridge pool and have a drink, and maybe some food, with friends. Small covered huts and larger bench style seating is well served by an outdoor bar.
For my main, I had the chicken tagine. Served in the dramatic looking tagine cooking vessel the chicken was juicy, and spiced with a delicateness of touch often missed with this dish which is a favourite of mine. I would happily eat it right now. We also had well-cooked fillet steak, and hand cut chips on the side were indulgent. The souvlaki lamb skewer with tzatziki went down well, and came with gluten free bread for our wheat intolerant birthday boy. We washed the whole lot down with a very nice bottle (or two or three) of Picpoul de Pinet.
Desserts aren’t my bag but if I’m going to have one it’ll be chocolate. Happily there was a chocolate torte with orange on the menu, and it did not disappoint. The torte was rich, and had a hidden pocket of orange syrup, and was topped with blackened orange segments. The passion fruit pavlova was vibrant and fun, and our friend enjoyed the lemon meringue tart with raspberry coulis, which looked great on the plate.
With three courses, wine, and gratuity, our very extravagant lunch came to around £75 per person which I thought was good value for a top notch celebration meal in a beautiful location. We’ll be back.