DINING OWL AWARD: 5th – for casual occasions
When I visited: April and May 2017
Location: London, Surbiton
Rating in the Michelin Guide: Not in Guide
What to wear: Could go casual
Ambience: Informal, fun
Course of the meal: Sea bass ceviche
If I could change one thing: More vegetarian options
No. 97 is one of those gem restaurants which looks quite casual but the food is of a really great quality – ideal if you don’t want to dress up or need to spontaneously go somewhere good. The service is always really friendly and you can either sit at the counter or on a table. There is also a ‘gin den’ downstairs.
If you go for the dinner menu, you get canapés to start with (these change depending on the season but are always light and delicious) and some fresh house bread. Of the starters, I have had or seen the sea bass ceviche with mango, tapioca and Roscoff onion and the coriander-pressed duck leg with crapaudine beetroot, pear and endive. The sea bass ceviche is really amazing, I would happily eat it every week. Of the mains, I have had or seen the king oyster mushroom with crispy tofu, herb tortellini and sprouting broccoli, which is great if you are vegetarian or in the mood for some well-prepared vegetables, and the saddle of lamb with aubergine quinoa, whipped feta and pomegranate, which is lovely and tender.
The desserts don’t let the side down – the Seville orange cheesecake with white chocolate and brown butter ice cream is worth the indulgence and the raspberry and chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice cream is super-light.
No. 97 is a great choice if you are in the Surbiton area and want some straightforward but beautifully cooked food.