Our favourite lunchtime eateries in Sussex
HOW ABOUT A SPOT OF LUNCH?
Our favourite lunchtime eateries in Sussex
As Milton Friedman so famously said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” True, perhaps, but there is certainly such a thing as a great lunch, a delicious lunch, an unforgettable lunch, a special lunch. In Sussex we are lucky enough to have a seemingly infinite selection of places to dine at lunchtime, and many of them are absolutely superb. Take a look at our top selection below, and prepare to feel hungry…
The Blacksmiths, Donnington
A family-friendly pub in Donnington village, The Blacksmiths is dedicated to providing a delectable span of dishes that emphasises only the best local produce. From September the country pub will be launching its new autumn menu which will also see the return of their popular weekday special of a sumptuous home cooked pie and pint for just £10 per person every Monday – ideal for autumnal days by the cosy fire. With an elegant restaurant and private dining area plus three uniquely furnished bedrooms upstairs, it is the perfect bolt hole for a celebratory lunch, dinner or weekend away in the countryside.
The Leconfield, Petworth
With accolades from food critics in newspapers such as the The Independent and listings in The Good Food Guide and Michelin Restaurant Guide, plus an award for outstanding customer service, it is not hard to see why this restaurant is a must-visit! Every effort has gone into creating an informal yet smart and inviting dining space and to source seasonal local produce of the highest quality. The menus showcase the best of great fish caught off the south coast and meat and game reared in the surrounding countryside. Lunch can be served in the courtyard garden in summer months while open fires provide a warm and cosy interior in colder months. Set menus are offered alongside a la carte options and the restaurant boasts an excellent wine list.
The Barley Mow, Polegate
Offering home-cooked food, and superb service with local real ales and fine wines, The Barley Mow is an excellent choice for an exquisite lunch. With so much choice, from the specials’ board to the extensive menus (which include lighter bites, larger meals, vegetarian options, gluten-free and plenty for the kids), there is something to please every palette. Dishes include classic Gazpacho, smokey slow-cooked pulled pork and handmade haddock fishcakes.
Gravetye Manor, East Grinstead
Dining at Gravetye Manor is a special treat, where the lunches are just as sensational as dinners. The dining room is wood panelled and classically traditional, and the lovely garden is the ideal place for a leisurely lunch. Gravetye Manor has a one-acre walled kitchen garden, which, during the summer months, provides almost all of the fruit and vegetables that are used in the kitchen, assuring you of the very freshest ingredients. Why not try the two course lunch for £25, or the three course lunch for just £30? You’ll have a choice of delicious food and the menu includes Sussex pork belly, poached skate wing, and chestnut cake.
Drakes Hotel, Brighton
The multi award-winning restaurant at Drakes offers high quality seasonal ingredients and creates robust, uncomplicated flavours that are at the heart of this dining experience. Here you can enjoy a set lunchtime menu (with dishes such as butternut squash risotto with mascarpone and duck breast with potato galette, grilled broccoli, and sweet potato purée), three course lunch (maple glazed duck breast and imam byaldi with chickpea parcels amongst other things), or a special Sunday lunch (game terrine with Madeira jelly and spiced pineapple chutney, or perhaps pan roast cod with sautéed potatoes, spinach and caper beurre noisette) in refined and elegant surroundings that include subtle lighting and exposed brickwork.
Pelham House, Lewes
The restaurant at Pelham House focuses on simple and delicious food, using good quality seasonal and locally sourced produce from Lewes and the county of Sussex. The constantly changing table d’hote menu is the creation of head chef Oliver Pink, and it means that every visit to Pelham House is something different. There is really nothing finer than a long, lazy Sunday lunch. Whether you’re into traditional roasts or something more modern, there is a mouth-watering menu to suit you. Does a seafood cocktail laced with Malibu and pomegranate or pink breast of Barbary duck, puy lentils, and star anise jus sound good? There is plenty more besides.
Pier 9, Hastings
Pier 9 has a beach chic feel to it – light and airy with a touch of the contemporary, this is classic Sussex in one room. And the food – including the exceptional £10 lunchtime menu – matches it perfectly. Eat delicate gazpacho with amontillado sherry, grapes and toasted almonds, or perhaps the linguine with shrimp, chilli and coriander for a true summer lunch in beautiful surroundings.
The Wild Mushroom, Westfield
The Wild Mushroom offers fine dining in chic surroundings in a converted Sussex farmhouse. It’s a secluded and intimate dining experience for all. Exceptional wild and natural, seasonal and local ingredients include local organic meat, Rye Bay and Hastings fish and shellfish, as well as foraged seasonal ingredients – that’s what makes The Wild Mushroom such a special place for lunch. The menus are small but enticing, and include delicacies such as cuttlefish and broad bean risotto; braised ox cheek with mustard mash, roasted baby onions, and claret jus; and salted caramel parfait.
Murrays Restaurant, Chichester
Murrays restaurant, located within the beautiful Ship Hotel, offers a truly wonderful dining experience. With its alluring colonial splendour full of cosy and soft tones, the restaurant perfectly complements your choices from the exciting, seasonally changing menus. Murrays blends deliciously indulgent flavours, elegant presentation and exquisite service to make your reservation an utterly memorable occasion. When in Chichester, Murrays is a must!
Rickshaw Oriental, Brighton
This modern eatery in the centre of Brighton perfectly blends the cuisines of Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Korean and Indian cooking. With a large selection of delicious dishes, including plenty for vegetarians and vegans, the lunchtime menu showcases the best of Oriental fusion with offerings such as Korean Bibimbap, Katzu Curry, and Vietnamese Thit Heo Kho Tieu. The open-plan restaurant and bar provides a great atmosphere for both casual and business get-togethers with flavours to tempt even the pickiest of palates.
The Town House, Arundel
The Town House is a grade II listed building built in the 1800s, but the ceiling in the dining room is much older, having been originally constructed and installed in Florence, Italy in the late 16th century. The food is just as fascinating as the exquisite architecture, and when it comes to a special lunch, there are no finer surroundings in which to dine. With a two course lunch for £17.50, and a three course lunch for £21.50, you can dine in style as you eat garlic sautéed wild mushrooms on toasted brioche with fried duck egg, or perhaps seared calves liver and smoked bacon with rosti potato and creamed spinach.
Jeremy’s, Haywards Heath
Jeremy’s Restaurant provides that perfect combination of a country idyll matched by creative cuisine and warm friendly service. Ingredients are of the highest quality; produce is sourced as locally as possible – herbs, edible flowers, lavender and wild garlic are grown and picked in the garden and regular forays to the gastronomic regions of Spain and France result in exciting ideas and flavours being added to menus. Lunch here is divine, and includes sumptuous dishes such as goats’ cheese and herb mousse with red pepper, aubergine, and black olive; Goosnargh duck with potato rosti, tenderstem, hispy cabbage, and lovage; and south coast red mullet with razor clams, celeriac, fennel, and apple.
Restaurant Tristan, Horsham
Housed in the historic town of Horsham, this 16th century building where original oak beams meets contemporary style sets the scene for the stunning bar and dining room. This is where the old and the new come together to create the most wonderful dishes and lunchtime treats, and the restaurant itself has become a favourite fixture in the area; Restaurant Tristan was the first Michelin starred restaurant in Horsham. Here you can dine on veal belly with snails and roasted garlic, peppered monkfish wish asparagus and Alsace bacon, and a chocolate soufflé with Thai basil. There are set menus as well as six and eight course tasting menus to give you a real sample of what Restaurant Tristan has to offer.
The Salt Room, Brighton
The Salt Room is a modern British seafood and grill restaurant. Its focus centres on celebrating the fruits of the sea, delivering the finest seafood and grilled meat cooked over charcoal to the table. The emphasis here is on sustainability, championing local produce and continuing the ethos of sharing plates. Located opposite the West Pier, this seaside dining retreat has uninterrupted sea views that can be enjoyed from the inside via its glass fronted windows, and for when the temperatures rise, outside on its shaded terrace. Samples lunch dishes include slow cooked and coal roasted beef with nashi pear, onions, and oyster leaf; and South Indian fish burger with pickled red onions, 15 green chilli slaw, and apple and herb relish.
The Catch, Brighton
Lunch at The Catch in Brighton is to be enjoyed and savoured. The food is prepared using the ripest, freshest in-season ingredients, and chef Adalberto Battaglia wants every one of his diners to sample the tastes and textures of his creations the way they were always meant to be. These creations include tagliatelle with sea bass ragout, burrata cheese and cherry tomatoes, slow braised shank of lamb in pinot blanc and mixed leaves, and chocolate crêpe served with handmade sabayon. There is also an extensive ‘comfort food’ menu.
The Half Moon, Plumpton
The Half Moon in Plumpton is a beautiful 200-year-old traditional country pub. Nestled at the foot of the South Downs National Park in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the Half Moon is situated 10 minutes from both the historic county town of Lewes and the charming village of Ditchling. The menu in this ‘quintessentially English pub’ changes with the seasons and uses only the finest locally sourced produce. The lunch menu is to die for, and includes Merguez sausages with harissa and tzatziki in a sourdough rye bread; pork and game terrine; piquillo pepper and basil risotto and plenty of delicious sides and specials.
South Lodge, Horsham
There are two wonderful restaurants to choose from at the lovely South Lodge Hotel in Horsham. The first is Matt Gillan at the Pass, a 4AA Rosette and Michelin Star winning restaurant that allows diners to be closely involved in how the food is prepared and served. The second is the Camelia. With 2AA Rosettes to its name and using the hotel’s own garden as inspiration for dishes (and as a place to grow ingredients), this is a stunning place to enjoy lunch.
The Glass House, Albourne
Wickwoods Country Club, Hotel and Spa in Albourne has a secret: the award-winning Glass House restaurant. With food served all day using fresh and locally sourced produce, the menus offer a variety of dishes with something for everyone, including lighter bites and a two course set menu priced at £14.95 (three courses for £18). And what do you get for that price? Something to please everyone! There is plenty to choose from including crisp bubble and squeak cake; poached egg and bacon; glazed pork loin steak, mash potato, green beans, applesauce and red wine jus; and sticky toffee pudding, caramel sauce, and vanilla ice cream.
The Old Greenhouse, Chichester
The Old Greenhouse is a beautiful restaurant in a stunning B&B in a pretty little village. But it’s more than that; this restaurant only opens to pre-booked tables, and is an intimate affair, with room for just 16 lucky guests at a time. The menus are designed just for you in advance, and it’s more like having a private chef than dining in a restaurant. The food is all prepared freshly, and the products are locally sourced wherever possible. This is a very different, yet unforgettable way to enjoy a great lunch in the most comfortable of surroundings, and all for a set price that may just surprise you.
La Cave à Fromage, Brighton
La Cave à Fromage is a treasure trove. Nestled on Western Road, La Cave offers an array of handpicked cheeses from across Europe and the UK, complemented with the finest wines and cured meats. Experts talk you through the various offerings, from their port soaked Stilton which is matured on site to their French goats’ cheese or Lancashire bomb. You can take a selection of cheeses with their accompanying delights home for a truly Continental lunch or take a seat, order a £10 cheeseboard or charcuterie-board and enjoy the relaxed ambience of La Cave. It’s a fail-safe lunch stop.
Semolina is an independent bistro serving a homemade seasonal menu created around local ingredients from Sussex suppliers. What could be better than that for a perfect lunch? Everything is made from scratch, and that includes the ice cream, pasta, and bread. Why not indulge in smoked beetroot with Sussex goats’ cheese and candied pecans; pan roasted wild bass with summer soup and pistou; or maybe seared pork fillet with noodles and pak choi. There is a set lunchtime menu as well if you prefer.
The Set, Brighton
The Set offers three tasting menus that change as the seasons change, giving you the chance to sample superb cuisine that is fresh, modern, and local. This intimate, 20 seater restaurant gives you the best view in the house, overlooking the kitchen where you can see your lovely lunch taking shape. Fancy beef brisket, oyster sauce, cucumber, and watercress? What about artichokes, masala, sag aloo, and pea salsa? Or maybe strawberries, baba, croissant ice cream, and white chocolate…
The Fig Tree, Hurstpierpoint
The Fig Tree restaurant is set in the picturesque village of Hurstpierpoint in the heart of the beautiful South Downs, and has a fast growing reputation for exceptional quality and presentation. Using local suppliers and the freshest ingredients, the dishes here are exceptional, and lunch is a definite must. Whether you choose from the set lunch menu, the Sunday lunch menu, or the a la carte menu (including Spanish potted crab with chilli, basil and roast vine tomato; and chargrilled 28-day matured sirloin steak with chop house butter, Bedlam Golden Ale butter onion rings and fries) you’ll find something inspiring to suit your craving.
Amelie & Friends, Chichester
Amelie & Friends is a stylish family-owned independent restaurant in the centre of Chichester. The interesting and varied menu is prepared in-house from fresh ingredients, and the wine list features delicious handmade organic wines from small independent producers. If the weather is fine you can even dine in the lovely walled garden. And as for the food, it is just as gorgeous as the dining room itself. For lunch you can enjoy salmon and sole terrine with beetroot and lemon; crispy fried halloumi burger with red pepper ketchup; or even pork belly with bacon jam, chicory mash, buttered cabbage, crispy crackling and jus.
24 St Georges, Brighton
In the heart of Kemp Town, 24 St Georges is committed to using local and seasonal produce. The modern European menus change regularly to reflect this ethos, and each dish is lovingly prepared in such a way as to bring out the very best of these fresh ingredients. The menus are creative, but the aim is simple: to provide an experience that you will enjoy, and food that looks and tastes fantastic. Speaking of fantastic food, rabbit and crayfish ballotine, summer risotto with seasonal vegetables and flowers, and chocolate and beetroot sponge are all available, along with plenty more.
The Fish Factory, Worthing
From the homemade pasta to the scrumptious sauces and gravy, all the food is made from scratch on the premises, and even the bread is baked in the restaurant’s own bakery. The ingredients are all sourced from their country of origin, which means that the chorizo comes from Spain and the pasta is made with Italian flour. The fish is freshly caught (and only obtained using sustainable, fish-friendly methods) from the local area, and when sitting in this gorgeous restaurant you can even smell the sea. Dishes include Fish Factory paté, seafood chowder, or a delicious fish buttie!
No 32, Brighton
No 32 is a restaurant, bar and late night lounge in the heart of Brighton, serving freshly made food and drinks seven days a week. From traditional grills to fashionable burgers and delectable cocktails, you can eat, drink and dance in this all-encompassing modern setting. Open for lunch from 11:30am, at No 32, you can take advantage of some fantastic lunchtime offers including a burger, shake and fries for just £10, 2-course set menu for £12 or 3-course set menu for £15. A must lunchtime stop, whether you’re in the area shopping or meeting with business associates.