- June 25, 2018
The search for great food has taken me all over the world but these days we can find plenty right here in Sussex, and last week I was reminded how good the local scene is by a trip to Bodiam and The Curlew. Their new chef Gary Jarvis is certainly putting this fine restaurant back on top with a menu of beautifully presented dishes that champion great seasonal produce and classic skills.
Ms McD joined me for lunch and after some delicious canapés, including a startlingly good beetroot meringue, we went through to wax lyrical over great bread and a sensational trio of butters – all this before the real dishes had started. Her starter of pork belly was declared excellent, and it looked it too, in a portion that would shame many modern restaurants’ main courses too. I started with pigeon and could not have been happier, perfectly cooked breast, tender confit leg and accompanying details that all deserved to be there, no silly frills here.
On to main courses and Ms McD dived into a fillet of halibut served with perfect asparagus and a fricassé of peas and bacon. I looked on with envy but not for long. Pretty soon I was wallowing in a rich dish of beef fillet, oxtail ravioli, morels and foie gras, yes I admit I succumbed to the lure of the liver. It was perfect, brilliantly seasoned, dressed with a sauce and perfumed with truffle, rich stuff indeed.
Chef Gary Jarvis is certainly putting this fine restaurant back on top
On the side Jersey Royals came basking in minted butter and tender stem broccoli with almond butter, both in generous portions.
Ms McD went on to enjoy an impressively light sticky toffee pudding with walnuts and a pool of heavenly sauce, yes I dipped in. I chose rhubarb, a seasonal favourite and what arrived was so beautiful it seemed a shame to dive in, but dive in I did. That is after cracking open a sphere of cocoa butter that on breaking disgorged a rhubarb gin cocktail across the parfait and fruit scone crumbs. It was a coup de theatre for sure, but also a finely balance dessert in every sense.
Given that it was lunch time I drank one glass of hearty red with my beef and plenty of water, and as if we had not eaten enough already we still managed a plate of delightful petit four.
Bodiam is not too far, take in a fine meal, their set lunch is only £28 for three courses (we ate a la carte), then take a walk around the castle after.
Junction Road, Bodiam, TN32 5UY, 01580 861394 thecurlewrestaurant.co.uk