An elegant country house hotel, based on an old Elizabethan manor, just south of East Grinstead; and surrounded by gardens designed’ in the mid 1850’s, by William Robinson.
2014 brought the arrival of a new chef – George Blogg – but the kitchen retains the lighter style, started a few years ago. A visit is certainly worth a special detour, in summer months for the rhododendrons’ alone. The dining room (and indeed the hotel in general) has heavy oak panelling – giving it rather a serious feel; and log fires burn, in the enormous fireplaces, for much of the year. The kitchen gardens provide many of the herbs and vegetables.
Many of Britain's most well-known chefs have passed through these kitchens.
A summer snapshot brought the likes of ‘Gravetye Garden Salad – with confit hen's yolk, leaves & young vegetables’; 'Pressing of Rougie Foie Gras with Madeira Jelly & Caramelised Orange'; 'Heritage Tomatoes & Ewes Cheese – with muscovado-cured pork, tomato consommé & basil cress' and ‘Flaked Dorset Cock Crab with Jersey Royal Potato Salad, baerii caviar & cucumber’ among the starters.
Perhaps ‘Carved Crown & Faggot of Squab Pigeon – with smoked mashed potato, baby beetroot, bronze fennel & anise jus’; 'Fillet of Cornish Turbot - with black rice, grelot onion, girolle mushroom & chicken jus); 'Poached South Coast Lemon Sole – with cuttlefish, ink macaroni, celery hearts & charred lettuce' or ‘Seared Loin Steak of Aged Beef – with summer greens, braised snails and leek & marrow jus’ listed in the mains.
If you still have room, you might be tempted by 'Gooseberry Crumble Soufflé – with clotted cream ice cream and gooseberry & mint compote'; 'Guanaja Chocolate Pavé – with roasted chicory root ice cream & cocoa nib crisps' or sample their well-kept cheeses.
An 'All Day' menu ranges from Club Sandwiches through Burgers to more elaborate dishes.
Although the atmosphere might seem a little stifling (with talking generally in whispered tones), service is both relaxed and professional.
No casual dress for men, and mobile phones aren't allowed.
- Food Style: Modern British
- Lunch: all week, 12.30-13.45; mains £15 to £21; set L £25 (2 courses), £30 (3 courses); set L Sun £40; mains about £29 to £32
- Dinner: all week, 19.30-21.30; set D £40 (4 courses) to £65; £85 (Tasting Menu) £75 (Vegetarian Tasting Menu); mains about £29 to £32
- Seats: 40, plus about 20 outside
- Wine: A very impressive wine list, kicks off at around the £30 mark, and has an impressive selection of half bottles and about a dozen by the glass
- Children's portions: No, and no children under 8
- Wheelchair access: Yes, (but not lavatory)
- Nearest station: East Grinstead Rail
- Directions: See the map on this page - or just south-west of East Grinstead
- Parking: Yes
- Outside eating
- Rooms available