Sussex Restaurant in nestled snugly in the heart of Soho. Owned by the Gladwin Brothers, Sussex brings a different experience to an area which already boasts an abundance of Central London restaurants – embracing the farm-to-fork ethos with a vibrant menu which has been carefully crafted.
The restaurant interiors evoke warm and cosy vibes with its rustic charm – a combo of wooden accents and ambient lighting which is reminiscent of a luxury farmhouse kitchen – the perfect setting for the culinary journey that awaits.
The drinks menu is plentiful with a choice of martinis, spritzes, signatures and spirits with a great choice of wines by the glass, beers and ciders. We start with cocktails – The Peach Cobbler is a juicy concoction which causes an involuntary eyebrow raise with its sharp, sweet notes. A combo of Two Drifters Rum, lemon, late harvest Chenin Blanc and green grapes has equal notes of sour and juiciness – sunshine in a glass – despite the weather outside! I go for a classic vodka martini which is perfect which just the right amount of brine. The wine will come later…
The majority of ingredients used at Sussex Restaurants come from the brothers’ Sussex farm and vineyard. For some reason, this knowledge seems to elevate the menu to new heights – it’s as if you can taste the freshness in every bite of the food – the mind conjures up images of green fields and produce being transported immediately from the farm to the city..
It’s a great menu – all sharing plates, but split into sections which are smaller bite-sized snacks, through to starter style dishes and mains. The Gloucestershire smoked cod’s roe cornetto is like whipped ice cream in texture, but of course with the rich flavour of the cod, while the mushroom marmite éclair is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted – the savoury take on this choux pastry classic offers up umami notes, soy, yeasty, meaty goodness, sweet and sour all in one bite – it’s totally addictive and nowhere near big enough, but there’s more to come! Cured Scottish sea trout is bright orange and beautifully presented – arranged amid pretty pink dots of heritage beetroot puree. You can taste the quality of the sea trout in every single bite. Grilled goat’s cheese with toasted hazelnut and Arundel courgette is literally a symphony of texture and flavour – for such a simple dish, it’s surprisingly tasty and a definite must-order if you visit.
Our waiter Babis is brilliant. These choices are all guided by him who despite having only worked at the restaurant for a week, knows everything there is to know about every dish (and we really put him to the test!)
Again on Babis’ recommendation, my friend and I decided to share the Sussex beef fillet Wellington which was the highlight of my day, week, maybe even month! Wellingtons are notoriously complex to get just right but this one was just perfect. Pastry oh so flaky but held well enough together to mop up the rich jus, the beef – well, you can just tell when a cut of beef is the highest quality – it just melts in the mouth. Coming from Lyons Hill Farm who pride themselves on sustainable, rare breed meat, this beef is mature for a depth of succulent flavour. Served with honey roasted Sussex carrots and rosemary crispy potatoes, we were at bursting point and still couldn’t put our knife and fork down!
To accompany our meal, we choose wines from the Gladwin brothers’ Nutbourne Vineyard in West Sussex and it soon becomes apparent there is no wrong choice! From the Sussex Reserve English White Wine, to my glass of red – a very gluggable La Mecanique Du Vin with its earthy herbaceous notes and juicy blackberry, we could’ve sat all afternoon and evening trying the massive selection.
‘Wild, foraged and locally grown’ is the ‘local and wild’ concept at Sussex Restaurant. I eat out A LOT, but this meal really felt a little bit special. Independent, sustainable, thoughtful…. If you love your wine and feel passionately about where you food comes from, despite being in Soho, you’re going to love Sussex.