Great British Hospitality at Glorious Goodwood
A renowned 12,000-acre estate, a rich history, a packed calendar of events, adventure, escape, and food that has travelled less distance to the table than you do… here’s to ‘great British hospitality’ at…The Goodwood Hotel.
Nestled in the 12,000-acre Goodwood Estate, stretching across the Sussex countryside near to Chichester, mention that you’re ‘off to Goodwood’ and there tends to be an instant recognition, your intention met with either fond memories of events attended – unsurprising as the estate is home to iconic fixtures such as the Festival of Speed and a myriad of other motorsport and horseracing favourites; recollections from a visit to the statuesque Goodwood House; or, very likely, an exclamation of “oooh I’ve always wanted to go there!”
My guest fell into the first category having attended a fair few motorsport events at the estate, while I fell into the third, my enthusiasm only buoyed as we pulled up to the entrance of the hotel as dusk fell on a late winter afternoon.
The Goodwood Hotel prides itself on offering classic British style, comfort and great service – the epitome of old fashioned manners – and they deliver. Check in was swift and friendly, and we were led directly to our room via glimpses of comfortable lounges with an efficient commentary on where to find everything we needed, breakfast arrangements and a reassuring departure of “anything you need just ask”.
Our room was bright and modern with cosy home-from-home touches of soft blankets and coffee table books.
We wanted to explore however, so threw down our luggage and headed straight out to the health club, where, for the fitness conscious among us, there is a well-equipped gym and, for those preferring a bit of pampering, there’s the tranquil Waterbeach Spa. We opted for a dip in the light, bright indoor pool, surrounded by comfy rattan loungers and home to a jacuzzi tub, sauna and steam rooms – the perfect respite to a busy day in the office and the perfect appetite builder for dinner.
‘Farmer, Butcher, Chef’ is Goodwood’s latest restaurant offering, and should be commended for its self-explanatory name alone. The concept is simple: ‘farmer’, Tim, based yards away at Home Farm (one of Europe’s only self-sustaining organic farms) rears his livestock, including the Goodwood cows, pigs and sheep, which are then passed to master ‘butcher’, John, his dedicated approach ensuring that every cut from each animal is utlised, providing ‘chef’, Darron, with a unique basis on which to form his enticing menus.
Having held two Michelin stars, Darron Bunn’s passion and professionalism is clearly thrown wholeheartedly into Farmer, Butcher, Chef’s menu and ‘farm-to-fork’ dining experience that aims to bring some nostalgia back into our lives and can justly claim that diners have travelled further for their dinner than the produce!
Entering past a full-size cow statue, the restaurant itself is an offbeat blend of vaulted barn ceiling, wood panels, wooden tables with mismatched chairs, contemporary Edison bulb light fixtures and eye-catching decorative pieces all fitting in with the overall theme including pictures, hoses, old keys and farming equipment.
The result is a contemporary yet cosy space that offers formal dining in a more relaxed setting and we were soon drawn in by the menu, marked at the centre by a list of tempting ‘Butchers Boards’. Designed to share, the heaving platters named simply ‘Lamb’, ‘Beef’ and ‘Pork’ showcase a range of traditional and new cuts, and cooking techniques and were evidently a firm favourite around the dining room.
Aiming to try as much of the produce as possible though, my guest and I decided to opt for individual starters and main courses, which we waited for excitedly as we devoured our warm slices of freshly baked sourdough bread.
First up my guests crusted beef shin – the slow-cooked, tender beef was rich and heavenly, topped with British crayfish and chanterelles. I, meanwhile, devoured the oregano-rubbed pig jowl, a new cut for me, which was divine – more flavoursome than a cheek or belly, the rich mix of light and darker meats was offset with fennel, pickled potato and a sweet apple sauce.
Eager for more, my guest’s main arrived in the form of haunch of lamb. The tender pink meat, prepared with a delicious outer glaze came perched on honey-glazed swede and sprout leaves with devilled livers; it tasted even better than it looked. My red Sussex rump of Beef was cooked to perfection, accompanied with an oxtail bon bon, stuffed shallots and salsify; every mouthful truly was a taste sensation – and the triple cooked chips were amazing too.
Feeling quite full, but with no hesitation, we also plumped for pudding. My choice of the Bramley apple crumble souffle bought us 15 minutes of downtime between courses, which I was glad of as it enabled me to polish off every mouthful. Beautifully risen and smooth as silk, the sweet apple pudding with crunchy crumble was offset by the acidic and alcoholic depth of the accompanying cider brandy ice-cream – if I could’ve got away with it, I would’ve licked the dish! I had barely noticed my guest’s bread and butter pudding until I heard murmurs of appreciation as he cracked through the caramelised sugar topping to find a sweet pudding below laden with custard.
It’s not often that I am equally impressed and sated by all three courses from a menu, but Farmer, Butcher, Chef exceeded all expectations, producing some of the most flavoursome and exciting dishes that I have had the pleasure to devour. Next morning, departing the Goodwood Hotel through rolling Sussex countryside bathed in early spring sunshine, my mind was already searching for a free date to return.
The Goodwood Hotel,