Borde Hill, Haywards Heath, RH16 1XP
Run by chef-proprietor Jeremy Ashpool and his wife Vera, this delightful gem is nestled in the beautiful countryside at the edge of Borde Hill Garden. Offering elegant dining with regularly changing seasonal menus, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular spot. Situated in a converted stable in the shadow of a 16th-century manor house, the restaurant is strikingly atmospheric. The decor perfectly blends original features like exposed rafters, with well-chosen modern artwork. There’s a bar area, an attractive terrace that’s perfect for drinks in warm weather, and a marquee available for weddings, civil ceremonies and private parties. Award-winning head chef Jimmy Gray has crafted a sublime menu, spicing up British dishes and combining them with innovative Asian and Scandinavian flavours. This commitment to quality has caused Jeremy’s Restaurant to be nominated as a finalist for Food & Drink Destination of the Year in the Sussex Business Awards 2018, and to be awarded a rating of five in The Good Food Guide 2019. The pork, lamb and game come from a West Sussex estate, and herbs, salads and even edible flowers are grown in the restaurant’s Victorian walled garden. When we visited in autumn, we began our meal with a complimentary canapé of crisp chicory salad perfectly paired with salty Parma ham, pork crackling and saffron mayonnaise. After tucking into a choice of freshly baked breads with whipped butter, we moved on to our starters. I sampled delicate Grange Farm pigeon with nutty romesco broccoli and black garlic. My companion opted for the cep mushroom gnocchi with Jerusalem artichokes and cured egg yolk – a dish that benefitted from sensitive cooking of its earthy ingredients. For mains I selected tender mallard duck, with leg Wellington and juicy fig. My partner chose equally well, plumping for Middle White suckling pig paired with rosemary, purple sprouting broccoli and quince. We rounded off our meal with two delectable puddings: a juicy roasted fig encased in thin pastry with vanilla ice cream, walnut and honey, and a pudding made with cocoa nibs, coffee, tonka beans and passion fruit, wittily presented like a scaled down pint of Guinness. We finished our evening with rich, smooth coffees, petits fours, shortbread and lemon-filled chocolates. We’ll certainly be back to sample the other delights on offer. Jeremy’s Restaurant also hosts regular wine nights and other unmissable gastronomic events. Booking is essential to avoid disappointment.