Laura Cartledge heads to Jeremy’s Restaurant at Borde Hill Gardens which proves why it is the pick of the bunch.
When it comes to eating in a garden pack up your picnic, don’t bother with a barbecue and instead head to Jeremy’s Restaurant in the grounds of Borde Hill Gardens.
Not only does the award-winning restaurant offer the delights of alfresco, whatever the weather – with terracing boasting views across the Victorian walled garden – the menu expertly blends hearty flavours with sophisticated style.
Named The Good Food Guide Regional Reader’s Restaurant of the Year for 2013, Jeremy’s reputation precedes it and even on our midweek visit the dining room bustles with the sound of contented customers.
Settling in the bar my friend and I looked over the freshly printed menus, which change depending on the seasons and what is available.
Proof that produce is sourced as locally as possible can be found in the garden where a polite sign requests people refrain from picking the apples and grapes as they are used in the kitchen.
The husband and wife team, Jeremy and Vera Ashpool, also go the extra mile – quite literally – with regular visits to the gastronomic regions of Spain and France where they pick up exciting ideas, flavours and independent wines.
The Autumn Windfall Menu, which runs until November, is just one of the tantalising options at £16.50 for three courses.
However it is the A La Carte which captures our imagination, so much so it is impossible to choose one starter so we opt for two and share.
Now, I’ll confess, salad rarely makes it to my table but the combination of Colston Bassett Stilton, beetroot, honeyed fig and walnuts (£8) is impossible to resist.
Meanwhile my friend tucks into the sautéed cep and girolles mushrooms served with celeriac and thyme rosti, wild mushroom veloute and micro celery (£11).
From the strong but sweet combination of the stilton and honey to the crunch of the rosti against the succulent mushroom, plates were soon cleared and our appetite turned hungrily towards the main course.
The rump and shank of Southdown lamb (£21) got the nod of approval from my friend. Served with sweetcorn, pistachio, apricot, feta, fondant potato and roasted coriander sauce it is again a culinary adventure, with the apricot working to lighten the dish and
cleanse the palate ready for more.
As a massive fan of seafood I am always on the look out for something different so pan fried brill with Jerusalem artichoke, stem broccoli, clams, red pepper ragout, parsley and almond puree and dill veloute (£19.50) was a welcome sight.
It was all delicious but the cubes of Jerusalem artichoke were a fantastic addition and complimented the fish with a note of citrus.
It should be noted, while each dish had a lot of components, the portion size was not overwhelming. With so much flavour they could easily have been too much but attention had been paid to keep this in check.
Another benefit was we both had room for dessert. As a chocolate fanatic the dark chocolate and fig clafoutis (£7), took my friends fancy.
Partnered with damson, grape ice cream, handmade meringues and edible flowers it
could only be described as looking like a fairytale forest and the taste lived up to the promise.
While the passionfruit creme brulee, pineapple carpaccio and coconut sorbet, (£7) was a tropical spectacular, both to look at and to eat – all we could do was sit back and smile.
To find out more about Jeremy’s Restaurant, Borde Hill, Borde Hill Gardens, Haywards Heath, visit www.jeremysrestaurant.co.uk or call 01444 441102.
October 23, 2013 Food and Drink