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The Preston Cross Hotel, Bookham

Clifford and friends tried the newly refurbished Adam Room

We quite often drive past this little country house hotel and, seeing a recent sign advertising the reopening of the restaurant as a Bistro called the Adam Room, we thought we'd give it a try. The hotel is a very popular wedding venue but there's a separate function area so wedding guests do not impinge on the normal dining facilities. French windows open onto spacious lawns with distant tennis and squash courts. It would be a great little place for a weekend break - within 20 minutes drive there's Denbies Wine Estate, Wisley RHS gardens, and three important National Trust properties including Polesden Lacey just up the road. And right now there's a veritable Hallelujah Chorus of nightingales on Bookham Common!

There were four menus on offer: A la carte, two Table d'Hote menus (£11.95 lunch and £13.95 dinner) and the chef's 'signature menu' featuring two crab dishes for a modest £12.95. Mind you, that all adds up to some 30 different starters and mains - how do they do it? we wondered.

An unusual starter was cold roast leg of lamb, (£6.50) with a very nice sweet pepper salad and plenty of well dressed rocket leaves. There was something about the spicy crusted edge of the meat that made us think that this was not last Sunday's roast making a final appearance. Standard squid rings came in a nice crispy batter with a few bits of salad described as being of Thai origin. More ambitious was a neatly presented trio of crab on the signature menu. A coffee cup of crab and cognac consommé was so full of crabby bits I had to ask for a spoon; there was a crab cake that was a trifle burnt, and a fresh tasting crab and mango salsa in which the mango led the tango.

I nearly had the Niçoise salad because the menu blurb sounded such an accurate rendition of this often traduced dish, but I was on the crab menu, so I had a crab and cockle risotto. The rice was good and quite creamy and the whole thing tasted more of cockle than of crab. Risotto is featured on all three of the menus, either with seafood, (but not more crab!), or with minted peas and asparagus. The fillet of beef was generous and tender and its fondant potato professionally done. The duck breast could have been pinker, but the accompanying slow cooked fennel and shallots were really flavourful. My wife enjoyed her rack of lamb chops and an interesting touch was the fingers of grilled polenta.

Puddings were excellent: chocolate fondants with perfectly molten innards; a copy book apple crumble with lovely light custard and even the plate of fruit was handsomely set out. The wine list is quite good, though not much out of the ordinary until you go above £20. Service was both friendly and professional. I thought they might do better to simplify their offering to two prixe fixée menus: the chef's signature menu and a single table d'Hote covering both lunch and dinner. All in all The Adam Room deserves more custom and support from local people as well as from visitors.

Preston Cross Hotel
Rectory Lane, Bookham
Surrey, KT23 4DY

T: 01372 456642

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