The pass, what can I say about Matt Gillan cooking that has not already been said, probably nothing but he ho will give it a go.
Also to those that complain my post are always positive and I never have a bad meal, that’s simply not true I just choose not to blog these as who am I to judge others on what there are trying to do. I may comment to the restaurant on the day I am there but don’t feel posting a negative review helps anyone in the long run and just makes peoples lives more difficult. So I choose to eat in proven restaurants as with limited time off and funds to eat out I don’t really want to be disappointed, right rant out the way lets crack on with what was an exceptional lunch.
I choose to go for the gourmet experience that at £35 a head is superb value for money considering you are eating Michelin star food.Talking to matt about his Michelin star its was humbling to hear him talk about winning the star again this year not just retaining it which goes to show the frame of mind and the commitment in that kitchen. Matt also talks very highly of his executive chef Lewis Hamblet and the support he gets from him, I was lucky enough to meet Lewis during my meal and you can tell he is immensely proud of what his boys and girls are achieving not just at the pass but in the camellia restaurant and across the whole food and beverage team at South lodge hotel.
First up was some canapés, sorry matt if I get some of the descriptions wrong but I was distracted watching the kitchen in full flow whilst having the dishes explained to me, but I remember the truffle cream cheese fondly.
The bread arrived and something I had not seen before was bread loaves made with both white and brown bread with the loaf, very clever but more importantly very tasty.
This was followed by an amuse bouche of white onion veloute Garnished with lovely little garlic chips and hiding all sorts of textural element’s underneath. The veloute was creamy and rich without being overpowering.
The first course of the menu proper – pressed rabbit leg, aubergine puree & gingerbread parfait, hot crisp bread rabbit leg, cool but sweet aubergine and a liver parfait packed with flavor, the gingerbread crumb adding a nice spice note to the dish.
Up next was the stand out dish of lunch for me – roasted sea bass, spring onions chickpeas & watercress. Perfectly seasoned and cooked sea bass, a film of onion jelly encapsulating the fish, a powerful watercress puree that almost acted as a palate cleanser and then chick peas chopped down adding a bite and some light spice to the dish, as I said STAND OUT DISH worth the trip just to eat this.
Meat course next- rump of beef, poached rhubarb, Jerusalem artichoke, hispi & golden beetroot, not really expecting anything else but never the less again perfect cooking of the beef meant that this under used cut was sweet and tender whilst fully flavored. The garnish worked really well with the rhubarb giving a nice acidic note to help cut the richness, silky smooth Jerusalem artichoke puree and hispi cabbage cooked melting tender but still retaining freshness is a skill in its self.
First of the dessert course was –lime jelly, mango & coconut sorbet, a real palate cleanser but the coconut sorbet with enough sweetness to stand up to the sharper flavors of mango and lime.
Final course – apple parfait, caramel, apple sorbet & crumble, classic flavors but giving a new lease of life, spent about 30 seconds trying to work out where the caramel was then broke into the parfait and found it encased in the middle, stunning dessert because its something your palate recognizes from somewhere in your past but in a completely new style.
Of course you have to have a coffee and sample the petite fours and these too where top notch, the service team do a great job at explaining the restaurant and who is working where so you get a real feel for the place and how proud everyone involved is.
I will defiantly be going back, hopefully first to do a stage and see it from the other side but also as a customer as in my opinion this is easily the best restaurant in Sussex
Remember live to eat don't eat to live