Utterly superb use of locally sourced ingredients within 1 Michelin starred gastropub setting - one of my favourite venues on earth
Another visit, another triumph. There were some minor changes on the menu from previous tasting menus and I get the feeling from needing to make this booking 4 months in advance for a weekend lunch that the secret of this pub is definitely over. No matter, as I knew it would be wise to book for the summer in plenty of time, especially for the occasion it was which was my milestone Birthday. I did a count recently – of the 18 three Michelin starred, 30 two Michelin starred and 81 one Michelin starred venues I have been to thus far (+ 110 non-starred great eateries), I am probably the happiest here at The Sportsman, for the sheer power of the ingredients and simple care of the dishes in the unassuming and comfortable environment it is. This, combined with how reasonable the price tag is for its quality and the even more reasonable wine list makes me me say this with no qualms at all: in my view it was one of the gems of the planet.
Again, on this vist, no dish was in anyway a dissapointment and I loved the mushroom mousse on delectably thin, cripsy tart as well as the turbot with upgraded tomato cream sauce – I didn’t think it would actually be possible to overtake the vin juane sauce but I think this actually did and I loved every second of every course. This was another wonderful meal and a double-absolute pleasure to share it with those closest to me on the quality occasion it was.
Food Grade: 96%
Had a lovely a’la carte dinner on this occasion celebrating a get together which was superb. In essence it was all the favourite bits of the tasting menu blown up in larger form(!). So clearly I went for the surf and turf after offering an excess charge for additional pork scratchings at the start of the meal for everyone (usually only available on the tasting menu) – unfortunately they only had one pig from the previous day to utilise so we could only have two portions which was nearly a heart break not to treat everyone with a mountain of it. However, it made yet another sublime and wonderful food experience.
Food Grade: 97%
This guy gets it!! And gets it big time!! Chef Steve Harris has nothing but total respect for the ingredients used and everything served is done whereby the main songs are never tampered with too much and made complicated and this is just the brilliance of it. Lovely to pop in on a fly by visit and an early supper and was a far better memory of the evening than the date I had to attend to afterwards.
Food Grade: 93%
Another wonderful occasion here celebrating Father’s day with best bud and his Dad as well. If it was possible the menu was even better than the first time. A sheer thunderbolt of a meal with virtually nothing to fault. The pre-desserts themselves were almost more special than numerous desserts at other places experienced (so many simple options for everyone) and the whole experience was wonderful.
Food Grade: 95%
I am simply in utter awe of this place and will have difficulty keeping this succinct. My best mate and myself were lucky enough to have a dinner sat next to Andy Hayler (only man on the planet to have eaten in every 3 Michelin starred restaurant on the planet) and when asking him for little gems that exist in the UK he mentioned this option. As the first pork scratching canapés entered the mouth, few moments in my life have rivalled the instant explosion of love for flavours. From there on, all the dishes were utterly potent but so simple at the same time on an incredibly reasonable menu. Steve Harris sources all of his ingredients locally, right down to the salt from the beach barely 100m away from the pub itself. I loved the fact that a tasting menu of wine was not paired as it all added to the unpretentiousness of the menu and the drinks menu was superb in itself (a bottle of white Châteauneuf-du-Pape for £35 to accompany all the fish courses) and actually, one of the blissful parts of this place as a gastropub is the option to simply have a pint with your food whether at lunch or dinner depending on what you actually wish for. The staff, in spite of their young, average age know their products so wine recommendations for courses were freely available.
The interior has lovely wooden tables complete with log fire at the bar end to keep the feeling comfortably causal and all those that serve dinner clearly share the passion of the food served and enjoy describing all that has been prepared. Another word on that is needed: the lamb fillets in breadcrumbs with a mint and syrup dip was phenomenal, the turbot with dessert wine cream sauce (vin jaun) and slice of pork rind on the top was uttterly magnificent, the mushroom ravioli with droplets of truffle made the mushroom simply sensational and even the herb bread with salt crust with locally made butter was worthy of a mention in itself.
I cannot emphasise enough how enjoyable and memorable the food and full tasting menu was at this establishment (the tasting menu which is only available on various parts of the week). There are only two places in the world whereby I feel worthy of giving 100% based on the food and this is one of them. I would recommend this eatery for virtually any occasion, no matter how informal or special and it would most likely cater for any group or situation. My only regret is that reviews like this might increase the likelihood of finding it tricky to get a table(!) and I will look forward to going back at anytime.
Food Grade: 96%
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