Gravetye Manor - restaurant review
PUBLISHED: 16:31 06 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:06 06 November 2017
Gravetye Manor near Turners Hill is celebrating its first Michelin star, and it shows – the food is fantastic, but the staff are also endearingly upbeat, as Alice Cooke found out
The high-ceilinged, panelled dining room was bustling when we visited, and in keeping with the ambience created by the very friendly staff, no-one was conversing in muted tones, wincing at every incidental noise – the place was filled with the sound of contented diners, chatting and enjoying themselves. There is a sense of occasion and most people are suited and booted, but the ambience was relaxed, pleasantly so.
Originally the home of the visionary gardener William Robinson, it is only right that Gravetye Manor is surrounded by the most gorgeous vistas. Under the watchful eye of Tom Coward and his seven-strong team, the gardens are a wonder to behold. On an unseasonably sunny October day it seemed only right to eat their spoils, and so we started with the Gravetye autumn garden salad, which was tasty and original, with the runny yolk of a boiled egg nestling among crisp brassicas.
I was especially excited to be at Gravetye the week after it was announced that head chef George Blogg had earned his first Michelin star.
The fish course of poached south coast brill was an unexpected highlight, and was amazingly flavoursome, served with cuttlefish, ink macaroni, celery hearts and charred lettuce. Southdown lamb has long been a favourite of mine, but it was particularly mouth-watering crusted with herbs and served with haggis, which was deliciously rich and about the size of a small Scotch egg, which meant it wasn’t too overpowering.
Scallops were served with a miso glaze and accompanied by radish, and sesame and seaweed crackers: fantastically light but packed with flavour.
The two pudding courses that we tried were nothing short of a triumph – Hendricks gin and tonic sorbet with cucumber, pistachio sponge and sorrelade was followed by raspberry crumble soufflé, which was a treat for the mouth.
There is a wine pairing option which, although pricey, is fantastic, with wines from New Zealand, Chile and France amongst others, but also – and more surprisingly – Uruguay. Sean Arthur, the sommelier, really knows his stuff, so even if it’s a single bottle that you’re after, it is well worth enquiring as to what he thinks might work best.
To soften the blow, the prices for a mid-week lunch are nothing short of astounding, standing at £30 a head for three courses, especially when you consider the unquestionable quality of the food and the new, thoroughly well-deserved Michelin star.