I love Arundel. I’ve been visiting the lovely little market town since I was a child. I remember enjoying the Walter Potter Curiosity Museum where you could find stuffed animals like the lamb with two heads, the kitten with six legs and the big glass cabinet with stuffed bunnies dressed up sitting at school desks and more (search Google images!). Ah, those were the days…alas, the museum has long since gone.
There’s lots to do in Arundel, West Sussex, they have the Castle which is fairly expensive but well worth it (especially if it’s a nice day where you can enjoy their gardens too), the River Arun where you can hire a boat, Arundel Wetland Centre, the Gothic Arundel Cathedral, some really old and beautiful architecture and lots more. And of course, there are tons of eateries!
We’d booked several days earlier and were greeted by a very friendly lady who hung our jackets up and showed us to our table by the window where we could people watch. The Parsons Table is easy to miss as it’s set back a little from the street in-between a couple of independent boutiques and opposite Tarrant Street Espresso – which is a nice little place to grab a coffee and a cake supplied by The Hungry Guest.
We were given a bottle of tap water for the table and a little skillet containing fresh slices of bread supplied by The Hungry Guest (they who make the best chocolate brownies ever), potato & rosemary (couldn’t taste any rosemary) and sourdough. We were even given another skillet of bread once we’d greedily polished off the first.
For starter Geoff decided upon one of the specials, pressing of rabbit, red wine gelee, fennel, grain mustard.
It was similar to a pork pie and as Geoff is a pork pie kinda guy he enjoyed it but especially so because of the chutney it came with as it added flavour whereas otherwise, it was just like eating a normal pork pie.
I had the grilled mackerel, pickled diakon (winter radish), cured tomato tapendade. The mackerel was beautifully cooked and delicate and the tapenade was very tasty.
Peace was soon shattered as someone brought in a young toddler along with the ubiquitous noisy electronic game or video meant to keep it quiet (it never does) … whilst the parents sat with their heads buried in their phones the embarrassed-looking grandparents tried to placate the toddler. We used to take our kids to Charlie Chalks and wouldn’t dream of eating at a fancy restaurant (nor any place, fancy or not) and spoiling others meals but then times are different. I guess that’s the problem with going out at lunch time instead of the evening.
There were some specials on the board and we agreed to share both the local Trenchmore Farm beef shin and the cod. However, much to our dismay the table round the corner had ordered the last of the beef. To console myself I ordered a large glass of Portuguese wine at £10.50, gulp!
Geoff went ahead and ordered the roast cod, potato puree, ruby kale red wine sauce.
It was very nice – I had a taste – and it was unusual to have a red wine gravy with fish but it went well. There were no bones present and it was light and flaky.
I had the bubble & squeak skillet. Chestnut & yellow Chanterelle mushrooms, kale, Hallgate Farm egg.
And very nice it was too. I don’t think I’ve ever had yellow chanterelle mushrooms before. The yolk of the egg was only slightly runny, personally I would have liked it more so.
Dessert time is the best time! Geoff had the pear & ginger crumble with honey ice cream. I was expecting him to ask for the ice cream to be changed to plain old vanilla like he normally does but he didn’t and he loved it! He said that the three flavours, pear, ginger and the honey complimented one another.
I had one of my favourite desserts, vanilla panna cotta which came with mulled blackberries and an orange sesame tuille. It wasn’t quite set as a panna cotta normally is, it had more of a mousse texture to it. I’m not sure what the blackberries were soaked in, they had an odd but not unpleasant taste to them. I gave Geoff one and told him to tell me the first thing which came to his mind and he replied with ‘TCP. Hmm, not quite as strong as that but I thought of dental mouth wash. Mind you when I was a kid I used to gulp it down at the dentist instead of using it to swill out my mouth so I quite liked the odd tasting blackberries. Gosh, I was a weird kid wasn’t I, liking stuffed animals and drinking dental mouth wash!
To finish the meal we had an espresso each which came with a homemade shortbread biscuit.
The Parsons Table is definitely a very nice place to eat, the lady who served us was spot on with the service. The restaurant is fairly small and intimate with around 40 covers split up between three areas, plus in the summer months there are a few tables outside in the little courtyard which is very pleasant with shrubs, flowers and small trees.
Ambience (without the baby) 8 😉
Overall – Geoff gave it a 9 but as I’d recently been to The Leconfield in Petworth and given them a 9 I’m afraid I had to give The Parsons Table an 8 as the former was just that little bit more tastier.
Living life, loving cake