Arora Hotel in Crawley - restaurant review

PUBLISHED: 11:01 07 September 2015 | UPDATED: 16:01 06 November 2017


Alice Cooke is delighted to discover top quality dining at the Arora Hotel in the heart of Crawley

Tony Staples, executive head chefTony Staples, executive head chef

Leaving on a jet plane? If you’re flying out of Gatwick then I urge you to pass through nearby Crawley and pay a visit to The Grill at the Arora Hotel on your way. Whether you’re alighting for business or pleasure, there are few things that will lure you back to the green grass of home like proper British fare, and that’s exactly what this is.

Unassuming from the outside, you could almost pass by the entrance to the restaurant without noticing. It sits just behind the reception of the hotel, off a high-ceilinged entrance hall, but there are many doors, lifts and passages, and I honestly think that if you didn’t know it was there you’d walk on by – but having tasted what lies within, I almost think that this is part of its appeal. For this is a hidden gem, a diamond in the rough, and somewhere that I guarantee you’ll be smugly recommending to your friends before the meal is out.

Head Chef Tony Staples has created a menu centred around local, seasonal produce, and as such it is ever changing, but what he does, he does brilliantly. I would particularly recommend the venison if you’re lucky enough to catch it in season, but the seafood is equally sumptuous, and the puddings are a delectable indulgence.

The décor is basic and uncomplicated, but the food is fantastically prepared with excellent ingredients. You could really tell that every dish had been given the chef’s attention, and every piece of meat was cooked to perfection. The puddings were individual works of art, and even the vegetables had been prepared with thought and care. Furthermore the staff, and in particular the sommelier, are well versed and really know what they’re talking about.

But I really cannot praise the fare highly enough – and as well as being exceptionally well put together from fresh, local ingredients, it was fantastically reasonable in price, almost unbelievably so. When it comes to Sussex’s best-kept secrets, this is a contender.

A great option if you’re flying in or out of Gatwick, absolutely – but I would also say that it’s worth the journey even if you have no intention of jetting off to sunnier climes. Scrap the air fare and enjoy fantastic food in this hidden gem instead.

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