An illustrious career has taken Tristan Mason from the kitchens of London's Mirabelle, to the head chef position at The Hare in Hungerford, where at just 29 he secured his first Michelin star. Having swapped the bright lights of the capital for a slower, but no less exciting, pace of life in West Sussex five years ago, Tristan Mason has realised a life-long ambition in the opening of the now Michelin-starred Restaurant Tristan. It was with a sense of certainty that Tristan first laid eyes on the 16th-Century building on Horsham's East Street. Together with partner Candy, Tristan worked to retain the original character of what was to become the first-floor dining room. The resulting space is inviting and informal, but the attention to detail tells that this is an establishment of real quality. Prices are inclusive, meaning a meal at Restaurant Tristan is not about hushed conversation and occasional dining; it's about the enjoyment of really good, seasonal food. You'll find the utilisation of produce from the locale and surrounding counties - particularly game, when in season, and foraged delicacies - so summer starters included tender scallops, with beetroot and horseradish sorbet. Lamb saddle, razor clam, fennel and lavender risotto is a main course demonstrative of Tristan's distinct style. Desserts are equally unique - berries, violet sorbet, lemon balm and olive oil, for example. The wine list has been carefully considered to be accessible, and includes a few quirky numbers and English varieties.
The ground-floor shop has recently been called into action as a café, serving breakfast and lunch dishes. Light, bright, respectfully contemporary and stylishly simple, the café boasts a facade of concertina windows, which can be fully drawn open, bringing the outside in. Teas, coffees, home-baked cakes, breakfast and lighter lunches, such as Tristan's signature soufflés, eggs Benedict, croque monsieur and smoked salmon (smoked on site), beetroot and goat's curd, are served from a weekly changing menu. Developing and changing to meet the needs of a loyal clientele, Restaurant Tristan is everything a family-run restaurant should be. With a small dedicated team looking after you, and with Tristan in the kitchen, the offering is imaginative, inimitable and, most of all, delicious