By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
There are elegant eating experiences aplenty in West Sussex. ‘Local’ is the watchword on many menus, which offer lamb and game from the South Downs, mullet from the River Arun and Selsey prawns and crab, among other delights.
The county’s elegant sparkling wines rival French champagnes, and it even produces a Parmesan-style cheese. (It also gave us Shippam’s pastes – now Princes, and still produced in Chichester – but we’ll gloss over that!).
Horsham has a few excellent and elegant fine dining options set in the surrounding countryside. Try the elegant Restaurant Interlude in Lower Beeding for Michelin-starred cuisine firmly focused on the local area. Or head to Camellia Restaurant at the luxurious South Lodge Hotel. It has three AA Rosettes and uses the finest Sussex produce in dishes such as butter-poached Dover sole and tartare of South Downs venison.
Further fine dining adventures can be had at Mannings Heath Golf Club & Wine Estate, where Nick McAllister serves high-quality, creative dishes with a personal touch at the Vineyard Kitchen Restaurant.
To sample award-winning menus head to the elegant AG’s Restaurant at Alexander House Hotel in Turners Hill, which has three AA Rosettes; or make for the nearby village of West Hoathly, where you’ll find Gravetye Manor’s Michelin-starred restaurant which offers food with an elegant touch.
A short drive away, in Cuckfield, is Ockenden Manor, where the food is described as ‘French-influenced’, but the ingredients come from closer to home – check out the food-provenance map on its website for an idea of what to expect.
The village is also home to No 1 Broad Street, which offers thoughtfully sourced, beautifully prepared food, complemented by an elegant wine list and a relaxed contemporary setting.
Over in Arundel is The Parsons Table, which won Sussex Eating Experience of the Year 2019. Run by Lee and Liz Parsons, who between them have worked at Claridge’s, Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and The Savoy, the focus is on local, seasonal ingredients and classic cooking served in an informal setting. Try the breast of partridge with game pie.
Butlers restaurant was opened in 1996 by Mick and Corina, and is now run by their daughter, Sacha, and her husband, Michael. They have given the restaurant a contemporary new look to match their modern menu, which features classic British dishes with a European twist.
Dine in style at the restaurant at Amberley Castle, a luxury hotel located six miles north of Arundel. At the Queen’s Room Restaurant, you can sit under a 12th-century barrel-vaulted ceiling and choose from an à la carte or seven-course tasting menu. You’ll be in good company here – Henry VIII was a visitor, and, in 1945, so too was a young Princess Elizabeth II.
Run by Lee and Liz Parsons, who between them have worked at Claridge’s, Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and The Savoy, the focus is on local, seasonal ingredients and classic cooking served in an informal setting
In Hassocks is the AA Rosette Glass House Restaurant and Terrace, part of Wickwoods Country Club and Hotel Spa. It serves laid-back modern British and European dishes, in a beautiful setting.
To the south of Midhurst lies the Goodwood Estate. Its dining room, The Kennels, is for members and guests only, but you can sample some of the Goodwood glamour at its Farmer, Butcher, Chef restaurant. Located just yards from Goodwood, customers travel further than their food at this restaurant. All meat is from animals born and bred on the estate and the estate’s butcher is directly involved in designing the dishes according to the cuts available.
At Lower Beeding, you’ll find The Crabtree, where the emphasis is on local ingredients, including beef and cider from nearby Trenchmore Farm and fish and seafood pulled from the English Channel at Shoreham.
For pub dining with a sprinkling of celebrity stardust, The Half Moon, in Kirdford is an excellent choice. It’s owned by supermodel, TV presenter and Celebrity MasterChef runner-up Jodie Kidd, and its seasonal menu makes the best of local produce such as partridge from Cowdray Park and Selsey crab. Little wonder that it’s been awarded two AA Rosettes.
Selective and seasonal is the mantra of The Horse Guards Inn. The 350-year-old pub, located on the western edge of Petworth Park, serves vegetables from its own garden and eggs from its chickens. A brief detour north to Lickfold will take you to The Three Horseshoes. Set in a charming 16th-century building, it serves top-notch organic and locally sourced food that is far superior to the average pub grub.
The village of Lurgashall isn’t just picturesque – it’s also home to the outstanding Noah’s Ark Inn, a 16th-century pub overlooking the village green. If you like your food locally sourced, you can’t do much better than this.
Ingredients come from within a 50-mile radius wherever possible – eggs come from the owners’ own flock of hens, and the pub’s vegetable garden provides heritage tomatoes, beans, garlic and herbs. In the summer months, you can watch the locals playing cricket or catch the Pantiles Players’ latest production in the pub’s garden.
Over in Henley, fab pub food can be yours at The Duke of Cumberland Arms, a 16th-century inn perched on the side of a hill, with stunning views of the South Downs. A favourite of food critic Giles Coren, it has a cosy bar, modern dining area and garden ponds alive with fresh trout.
Does it keep things local? It sure does. The menu features locally foraged mushrooms and vegetables from the pub’s own garden, not to mention diver-caught scallops from Sussex waters, sausages from Midhurst and beer from Langham Brewery in Lodsworth.
The Fox Goes Free near Goodwood offers pub favourites such as fish pie, alongside an à la carte menu. It has a long history – William of Orange was a regular visitor, and it even featured in an episode of Doctor Who.
Just outside Arundel is The Pig – in the South Downs. The Grade 2-listed lodge opened in September 2021, and is the newest addition to the Pig group, which includes venues in Hampshire, Devon and Dorset. It features the largest kitchen garden in the group, so you can expect home-grown produce, and it even has its own vineyard, with 4,000 vines of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
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