Pub Restaurant, West Sussex

The Richmond Arms, restaurant review: Search for great country-pub food ends in West Sussex
June 11, 2017 – 01:18 am
The George Townhouse

It could be that extreme middle age has actually switched me personally into a nicer, less vital person, or maybe it's just plain stupid luck, but I appear to have found a great deal to praise in restaurants i have assessed lately. We declared Jason Atherton's brand-new gaff in London, the personal club and Tapas, the best tapas combined outside Spain. I emerged from pure-minded and forage-tastic Silo in Brighton screaming that it provides the most useful food I tasted in 2010. Today I gone trying to find the most effective summertime country-pub restaurant when you look at the south and all sorts of i could say is: call off the search. It is the Richmond Arms.

We were at the Qatar Glorious Goodwood Festival and, searching for an area of meal out of the racecourse, wound our means through lanes for the Southern Downs National Park. Within austere Nowheresville, we discovered the delightful village of West Ashling. It's into the parish of Funtington, a name that could bring a grin to an ayatollah. Past the town green, at the conclusion of Watery Lane (no, truly), we found the millpond, where ducks and moorhens had been blithely sticking their particular arses in the air, while a hooligan staff of white geese with orange expenses cruised about searching for difficulty. Discuss idyllic.

The Richmond Arms appeared, a little nondescript at first glance, however with a good white/grey paint job in front and a cream-and-white van emblazoned with "Richmond Arms Cellphone Kitchen". Inside the pub, all things are stripped-down and cool: the décor is white and RAF blue, with easy wooden tables on bare floorboards. Plaster ducks in a number of patterns perch in the walls. Oyster shells hold sea-salt and ground pepper. Home-made crusty loaves of bread is housed in a miniature bucket.

These fashionable small touches fill self-confidence, as does the menu, that is written with a tangy lyricism that makes you salivate: "Hot molten crispy stuffed courgette flower, pecorino, basil, olive, treasure tomato, " anyone? How about "crispy local braised venison sausage roll, kataifi pastry, almonds, sweet persian spices"? Three kinds of Hampshire woodlands steak had been on offer, prepared over "local charcoal", but we went for rather more slight alternatives.

My tempura softshell crab beginner had been a huge, rather harmful beast, miraculously crunchy across the claws and delicately smooth in the middle – sheer bliss whenever anointed with all the zing of miso mayonnaise. A Gordian knot of watercress, nashi pear and peanut praline performed nothing when it comes to crab but were a sublime burst of good fresh fruit'n'nut. Angie's Selsey lobster wonton was an advanced taco layer enclosing the freshest, slitheriest lobster meat imaginable, tricked away with a sambal of avocado, cucumber, coconut and macadamia nut. It was insanely energizing.

I purchased a 3rd starter, incapable of withstand the text, "Hot and runny chorizo scotch egg, saffron aioli, pickled fennel". It arrived on a bed of straw, in a ramekin, on a slate – possibly overdoing the austere motif, but I thought it absolutely was charming. The yolk was the orangest part of the planet this side of Donatella Versace, as well as the chorizo carapace had been gratifyingly moderate spicy, until it caught the back of my throat. These three beginners yelped with creativity.

Main-course chicken – sorry, "crispy skin fragrant poussin" – ended up being a toppling ziggurat of components, with six or seven baby-chick legs and wings piled high with watermelon, cashew peanuts, springtime onion, tarragon, iceberg lettuce and purple infant mangetout. Your whole meal was a chicken salad taken to angry extremes, mixing a motley team of flavours to brilliant result. The legs had been glazed to an unctuous, gleaming finish: the Sydney-born chef, William Jack, vacuum-packs the chicken with soy, ginger and herbs, chefs everything in a water-bath, and completes it in a pan. We ate them greedily with my fingers.

Angie's Dover sole, served on a square wood plate, had been a weird, brown-green color, just as if one of the millpond drakes had been go beyond. It turned out grilled with a blanket of rocket, celeriac, lemon peel and garlic, and had been served with sautéed potatoes, broccoli and greens – a tremendously Uk assemblage amid the Oriental-tinged accompaniments. The only real was prepared to white perfection.

Over a perfectly creamy wild strawberry fool with elderflower cheesecake foam and almond crumble, we discovered from our maitresse d', Anna, your "mobile cooking area" away from pub serves wood-fired pizzas and tapas at weekends. Just one single more reason to go to this excellent restaurant which, i came across at the end of meal, experienced the great Food Guide last year and ended up being granted ideal New Entry for 2014.

I'm perhaps not surprised. The meals here's hearty, filling and full-flavoured but also saturated in subtlety and imagination. Check-out Funtington, and you should get pretty close to Euphoria.

Food ****
Ambience ***
Provider *****

Mill Road, Western Ashling, Chichester PO18 (46). About £40 per individual, before wine and solution

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