Steve Drake is no stranger to Surrey diners having held a Michelin star at Drake’s in Ripley for 14 years. A previous winner of the prestigious Roux Scholarship, he has also worked in some of Europe's best kitchens: Chez Nico at Ninety Park Lane; the Oak Room with Marco Pierre White; Pied a Terre; Aubergine, as well as short stints at L’Arpège in Paris and L'Auberge de l’Eridan, Annecy. Now he has opened SORREL, his modern fine dining restaurant in the heart of Dorking.
The 28-cover restaurant (and private dining room for up to 18) showcases Steve’s approach to food and creativity. Inspired by simplicity, discovery and the ingredients themselves, SORREL’s monthly changing menus, from a three-course lunch menu to a nine-course Discovery menu, constantly evolve to follow and reflect the seasons. Working with Alexander Waterworth Interiors, Steve and the creative team have spent nearly a year radically redesigning the dining experience for guests at the historic, 300-year-old building. Combining the beauty of this landmark Grade II-listed property with a new, modern open kitchen housed in the heart of the restaurant in a dramatic glass cube, guests are fully immersed in all aspects of Steve’s creativity.
Behind-the-scenes, Steve has cultivated an open kitchen philosophy where ideas, the creative process, and cooking are shared with guests and talented young chefs. As an alternative to traditional working hours and practices, SORREL opens four days a week - Wednesday to Saturday lunch and dinner – giving the team time and space to explore their creativity and discovery of flavours and techniques, a theme which resonates throughout SORREL.
“My vision for SORREL has always been to create a connection between what’s happening in the kitchen and the dining room,” says Steve. “With the new open plan design, as soon as you walk through the door you catch a glimpse of the pass and the chefs at work giving you an instant hit of energy and creativity. A new dish of 21-day aged raw venison with bitter orange, smoked egg yolk, anchovy and dried watercress is full of flavour and texture. This light, clean style can be seen throughout the seasonal menu.”