I’d been very excited as soon as I heard that Kenny Tutt, last year’s Masterchef winner, was opening his own restaurant nearby. Situated in Worthing, we actually had to leave the city to try it out and it was definitely worth it! I’m from West Sussex and have been visiting the seaside towns all my life, Worthing has never really been a favourite of mine. It tends to pale in comparison to Brighton & Hove. So, it was nice to have a reason to visit. I feel it only takes a few unique places to attract people to a town, even if it’s just for an afternoon or evening. I imagine this is what Kenny had in mind when he decided to open in his hometown.
It was our 3 year anniversary last weekend and so it was a good excuse to try it out. Getting a table wasn’t easy in the first month, I booked it weeks before. We chose to go for a late Sunday lunch. They called me a week or so before to check we were ok with the Sunday set menu which included Roast dinners. They said they’d had a few people disappointed when they arrived on a Sunday and couldn’t order off the normal menu. In the end, this was actually a good thing. It was 2 courses for £25 or 3 for £30, which made it very good value for money and meant we didn’t end up with a crazy bill at the end. Turbot on the a la carte menu is £25 alone.
We arrived a little early and were offered a seat in the bar, they have 3 or 4 tables with high stools for you to sit and wait for your table. I was very impressed with the list of drinks, in particular the long drinks/cocktails available. There were a little bit different to your usual and I’d have liked to taste them all! They are around £9, which I would say is about the average in Brighton and Hove. We hardly waited at all before our table was ready. I’d already decided I wanted an Aperol and Peach Spritz and some of their much talked about (on social media) savoury doughnuts. Sadly, when I went to order I was informed that they don’t serve the doughnuts on a Sunday! I had read this on an online post recently and saw that they were planning to put them on the Sunday menu as they are very popular. It didn’t make sense to me to have a menu for customers to look at with items that can’t be purchased at that time. At least have a little note saying “not available on Sundays”. I completely understand why they have a different menu on a Sunday and as I mentioned before, I was really happy with the special menu. The response from the waitress when I asked for the doughnuts wasn’t very apologetic.
Anyway, we soon received our drinks. My Peach and Aperol spritz was refreshing, the peach took the bitterness off of it, which was very nice. My husband ordered a Pitch Blonde made by the local Brewery Harvey’s in Lewes.
I always order starters, and these all sounded delicious! We usually order two dishes we both like and share. The Hop Cured Trout, spring potato salad, gin pickled cucumber and burnt lemon was sublime. The trout melted in the mouth and the little salad was refreshing with a good amount of sharpness in the additional dressings. Our second choice was a contrast, it was delicious in a very different way. Confit duck hash with a fried egg. The duck had so much flavour and was broken up into nice size pieces throughout the hash. It was served with a sort of chutney, it tasted like hoi sin possibly. It wasn’t included in the description on the menu.
We both went for a Roast for our main. The other option was fish and chips (which I wouldn’t ever order other than at a fish and chip shop). I couldn’t see a vegetarian or vegan option but I had seen a dish with cauliflower on the sample menu online, I would imagine they do have one on offer (or at least I’d hope so!). Both the Aged beef sirloin and the Herb roasted chicken were very well cooked with a good amount of flavour. They were served with dripping roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, seasonal vegetables and red wine gravy. The gravy stood out for us both, very rich and a good amount of it on the plate. It really brought the dish together. We also ordered the truffled cauliflower cheese, which was yummy! I’d have been very disappointed if the roast wasn’t up to this standard given the expectations. I’d say it was among one of the very good ones I’ve had; however, there are some really outstanding roast dinners around these days. Unfortunately, I’d only recently visited the Haus on the Hill in Brighton and I’m going to find it very hard to beat that one. The thing that makes the difference for me would be the uniqueness of the vegetables, by that I mean how they are cooked. There wasn’t anything on this plate that surprised me or will stay in my memory. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a very good roast dinner, but I wouldn’t say people will be visiting purely for the roast.
The desserts were as interesting as the starters. There was only a choice of 3 plus a cheese option. The 3 options were quite different though and I’d say it’s enough of a choice. We went for the Cereal milk panna cotta, chocolate cornflakes and peanut butter. Great combination of textures and flavours. The peanut butter was incredible! Second choice was strawberries, tonka cream, strawberry wine jelly and brown butter crumble. This was like a deconstructed dish and felt very ‘Masterchef’. The choice of textures was again a winner.
We didn’t have wine as my husband was driving and I ordered another drink from the cocktail menu. A gin, prosecco and rhubarb drink. Very nice and light. The wine list looked good and starts at £20 for a bottle. They do 175ml glasses, 500 ml and bottles. I really like the option of 500ml as sometimes a whole bottle is that bit too much, especially if it’s a lunchtime or you’re the only one drinking wine.
The atmosphere was nice and relaxed, I love the decor which felt quite exotic but classy with dark green and velvet.
The service was a little disappointing for me. We had one main server and a few others clearing dishes. Orders were taken on an iPad which I personally don’t like. I feel like it can create a barrier between the customer and server. I don’t think it would have been a problem if when you order one drink they didn’t stand over you trying to unlock it and find your table number to put through one drink. There wasn’t much friendly exchange with the expected “how is everything for you?” or “great choice, that’s my favourite”. I don’t care if they’re lying. The restaurant isn’t that big and there were quite a few staff on. I have had such excellent service at many other places and consider it to be a very important part of a dining out experience. 12.5% service charge is added to your bill which at over £10 I felt reluctant to pay; however, the kitchen staff had done an excellent job so we paid it without a fuss. I also feel very embarrassed to ask for the service charge to be taken off.
Overall, we had an enjoyable experience. We are still talking about the food and I’d definitely recommend a visit. The menu has clearly had a lot of thought put into it and the ingredients are treated with care resulting in something rather fantastic. I hope that with some feedback there will be an improvement in the interaction with customers. I was sent an email a day or two after asking for feedback so it’s clear to see this is something that Kenny and the team welcome.