This was our third annual visit after the Eastbourne tennis finals. As usual, a warm welcome by Mary was followed by solicitous but not overbearing service.
Having tried the two alternative menus previously, we thought we'd opt for the tasting menu at £58. Although the dishes will change according to season and availability, we were very happy with the five courses offered by chef Vincent
An amuse-bouche of crayfish mousse was light and creamy with a well judged acidity.
Lobster salad tian had succulent, sweet shellfish perched on a macedoine of vegetables bound in mayonnaise, Dressed with micro leaves and decorated with border of avocado slices and dots of mayonnaise and balsamic, it has a decidedly retro look but was none the worse for that.
A seared scallop was beautifully fresh, with a caramelised crust and soft, delicate flesh. The red pepper and tomato based sauce went well with the seafood. A cube of firm risotto made with a speciality Chinese rice and flavoured with squid ink looked odd on the plate but tasted delicious
A sea bass fillet had crispy skin and firm flakes of moist flesh. The saffron sauce provided an appropriate foil for the fish and was not overwhelming. However, the vegetables were the familiar macedoine, this time warm. Nevertheless, the combinations worked well overall
A refreshing gin and tonic sorbet proved a refreshing palate cleanser. Why have so many restaurants offering tasting menus given up serving them as an intermediate course?
A main course of veal medallion was flavoursome and well seasoned but would have benefitted with slightly less cooking. his was easily forgiven once we sampled the accompanying unctuous sweetbread which was precisely timed and meltingly delicious. Carrots, cauliflower and red cabbage retained their crispness and a rich veal stock, madeira and truffle sauce finished this rich dish perfectly.
An alternative main course of turbot featured a well cooked and generously portioned pan fried fillet perched on green and white asparagus, suitably al dente.
Next came a playful pre - dessert lollipop of raspberry mousse covered with chocolate
A dessert of poached peach, fresh strawberries and a vanilla foam topped with a thin disc of crisp caramel proved a light, well constructed dessert with harmonious flavours and textures.
Overall, this was a highly enjoyable meal from a husband and wife team who have succeeded in attracting a loyal, local clientele, with others from further afield like ourselves.
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