Neighbourhood restaurant in Horsham proudly upholding a Michelin star in 2017
A second visit on a chance pass by led me back to Tristan and was a timely return. The same owners as before are still very much would expect, as Tristan Mason in the kitchen and his wife look after guests in the same, hospitable manner as I remember. The set menu lunch on this occasion was another pleasure and exceedingly good value at £30 for what turned out to be a 4-course menu with the amuse bouche. I have always shone to restaurants that can do this above others and provide an array of things for such good value and taste good – and this is still, very much one of these restaurants and is an example of where I would be happy to send anyone slightly daunted by fine dining. Coming here would completely reverse their thinking and this was grand to have my good memory of this restaurant reaffirmed with this visit.
Breads were sourced in from coburn in Brighton and the amuse-bouche on this visit consisted of a nettle veloute with peas, potato and Carroway pepper – a perfectly good start. The black olive tapenade remains and for good reason, in that, it is a very good dip to have for bread.
Starters included foie gras, trumpette powder and pea veloute which was light and with gentle pickling which was a useful addition to the foie gras. Crab as the other starter came in the form of crab veloute with prawn oil, braised fennel and calamansi (citrus somewhere in between a lemon and lime). This was a pleasurable combination with sweetness to compliment the rich veloute.
Quail with roast garlic with snail butter (minced with butter) puffed rice was the clear winner to be taken by both at the table for the main. The quail done well and the garlic and snail butter was a perfect match. The two desserts were then had – a souffle with oat, chamomile, vanilla and yoghurt cream was warming and cooked perfectly inside. Additionally, a dehydrated raspberry crumble came with shards of matcha, raspberry and ice cream closed off the meal.
This was a pleasure to be back and was great to see the restaurant performing at its good standard and not seduced into raising prices deliberately for the awards. Long may this venue continue to thrive as a result.
Food Grade: 74%
The stand out aspect from this visit was the bold move of the restaurant to include a set menu in the evening which is a superb option for having dinner and not wishing to spend several hours in the process. It is also fantastic value for money as the set menu in this Michelin starred restaurant turned out to be £25 for 3 courses which, with a sublime cod with cacao bean puree amuse-bouche made it a four-course meal. Some lovely options here, cooked well and showing a very good return for the bill.
I really enjoyed the flavours and textures of the crab starter with its citrus gel and cauliflower and the foie gras was beautifully smooth with a great supporting element of the toasted nuts which I haven’t had before and was a brilliant coupling. The partridge was succulent but I found I didn’t need anywhere near as much of the salsify powder provided as was a powerful bitter; in fact this was the only element that didn’t really gel with me. Otherwise, the food all round was carefully considered, including the pepper butter at the start (quite a kick and original as a result) and olive spread as extra bits of efforts from the kitchen which I think does make a difference.
What was a little bizarre was the position of the restroom in the upstairs dining area which was directly next to the kitchen entrance so you will need to dodge waiting staff as you need to cut right across their cross-lane in a congested corner of the restaurant. As I could see the staff having to knock on the door of the kitchen to avoid a clash with anyone on the other side (whilst holding finished plates), making way for customers is another constraint so I actually didn’t go to the restroom upstairs to avoid causing more strain and was strange to see. However, this is not show-stopper and certainly, not much an exquisitely old building that the restaurant has based itself in can do to change this at this stage.
The hospitality was genuine and clearly many a strong, local following was evident for a much-loved neighbourhood restaurant. Very good food here and exceedingly good value, all served with a top-level smile.
Food Grade: 78%
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