Bel and The Dragon review: Taste the change of the season at Godalming restaurant – getSurrey
Laura Nightingale sat down to a seasonally inspired menu at Bel and The Dragon in Godalming
We are constantly being told how important it is to eat healthily, cut out junk food and do more exercise, but do we really know where our food comes from?
Bel and The Dragon is passionate about using locally sourced food in all of its restaurants and believes it is vital for customers to understand where the ingredients they’re eating come from, how it has been grown and raised.
As a result they have launched a Root To Table scheme at restaurants in Godalming , Cookham, Churt , Odiham , Reading, Windsor and Kingsclere to champion local producers and expand its homegrown offering.
Each restaurant has seasonally inspired menus that draw inspiration direct from their own home-grown harvests and change frequently depending on what they discover in their own kitchen gardens.
With a strawberry crop and herb garden at the Godalming restaurant, my friend and I visited the converted church to experience the new scheme.
Firstly, the building is breathtaking. In keeping with it’s original design, you’ll find beautiful stain-glass windows, traditional oak doors and dozens of twinkling candles – so romantic.
The menu changes regularly and the September a la carte offering included broad bean and pea risotto, Devonshire mussels and crusty bread, poached duck egg and avocado, half grilled Atlantic lobster, free range guinea fowl and roasted suckling pig.
The restaurant has a fabulous stylish bar (perhaps not in keeping with the original build…) and an even better drinks menu.
We went for an espresso martini (£9) and an Elderbubble (£9) – made with vodka, lemon juice, elderflower cordial and champers.
Rather pricey for cocktails, the coffee beverage was deliciously dark, mysterious and creamy, while the flute of fizz was light, refreshing and sweet.
With around eight starters to choose from, we both went for fish – seared yellow fin tuna (£11) for me and seared Scottish scallops and crispy pancetta (£14) for her.
We didn’t have to wait long until our waiter returned with our first courses and didn’t they look pretty?
Decorated with green blobs of spicy wasabi, yellow dots of hot mustard and delicate purple flowers and micro herbs – it was picture perfect.
Underneath the foliage were lots of juicy rare strips of tuna. I was pleased with the amount of fish considering the hefty price tag.
The salt from the soy sauce and the sweetness of the beetroot complimented the tuna and it was delicious. My friend enjoyed hers too.
Now on to the mains. There were lots to choose from and making a decision was even harder as you had to order your sides for many of the dishes too.
While my friend went for the healthier choice of salad with marinated figs, goats cheese and Serrano ham (£12), I continued the fish theme with roasted salmon, miso and lime (£15).
Again we didn’t have to wait long for our second course to arrive and both plates looked just as appetizing as the first.
My Asian-inspired fish sat on a bed of shaved fennel, creamy avocado and samphire and it was scrumptious.
As with the tuna, each ingredient flattered the other. A fork-full of the rich pink salmon, luxurious avocado and crunchy licorice fennel were a match made in heaven.
As the dish came without potato, I ordered a large tin of sweet potato fries (£4). They were hot, soft and moreish. Sweet and flavoursome, some were fluffy and thick, while others were skinny and crisp.
I managed to finish (just) the pot off because they were just far too tasty to leave. I also ordered a side of broccoli (£4).
Sprinkled with chilli, the al dente veg was a pleasant accompaniment.
My dining partner thoroughly enjoyed her meal too, but would have liked to have seen more ham and cheese and less rocket as her plate looked a bit like a forest.
The description on the menu mentioned wild rice, but she couldn’t see a grain on her plate.
Both felling rather full, we couldn’t resist looking at the pudding menu. White chocolate and raspberry parfait, Eton mess, caramelized lemon tart and apple tarte tatin were among the choices but we each settled for sorbet (£6 per person) as we couldn’t fit any more carbs in.
Our boozy sorbets included gin and tonic, vodka and lemon and blackcurrant and each refreshing scoop was a celebratory way to conclude our dinner.
Price of Laura’s three course meal for two including a drink: Around £90
Restaurant opening hours: Mon-Sat 12pm-3pm and 6pm-10pm, Sun 12pm-9pm
Address: Bel and the Dragon, Bridge Street, Godalming, GU7 1HY
Telephone: 01483 527333
Dress code: Casual
Parking: Street parking immediately outside