I’ve cycled past The Bluebell Inn, Cocking many times over the past few years. We saw it closed for quite a while if I remember rightly and then saw it being refurbished. Looking for a new place to try recently somebody suggested Comme Ça in Chichester. Unfortunately this has now been closed due to retirement. By sheer coincidence I was looking on TripAdvisor and came upon the Bluebell. Looking at their website I find that the manager and the head chef from Comme Ça had gone their only about 6 months ago. What a coincidence!
I asked my friend Catia to come along with me as we hadn’t seen each other for a few weeks. We used the Sat Nav to get there because the only way I know is by bike on small country lanes, not something I really wanted to do in the dark. Upon arrival we were greeted by friendly staff and seated. There is an extensive wine menu and we opted for a glass each of Sauvignon blanc.
There were two menus from which to chose from, À la carte or the bar menu. The bar menu had a lot of lovely sounding dishes on it including beef burgers but I thought, no, this used to be a chef cooking French food, it needs to be À la carte and something a little special for the blog.
I chose the Seared Scottish Scallops, with a Garlic Crouton and Mango Salsa. These were every nice indeed. Three thick and meaty scallops each sitting on a crouton, which was not too crisp as it had been soaked in garlic olive oil, but not soggy either. In fact, just the right consistency. These were served with tiny, tiny cubed pieces of mango, peppers and red onion. It was lovely and looked very pretty and colourful upon the plate.
Catia enjoyed the Terrine of Smoked Mackerel and Hot Smoked Salmon, with an Anchovy, Dill And Tomato Sauce.
As I usually go for belly pork everywhere I go, I thought I’d best go for something other than that. Roast Welsh Saddle of Lamb, with a Mint Crust, Fondant Potatoes and a Thyme Jus. The lamb was very tender with no fat or gristle and was very tasty. The ‘crust’ wasn’t so much a crust but a soft paste but this was lovely. The lamb was sitting on a large slice of fondant potato. We each had a bowl of vegetables, broccoli, French beans and one which escapes me. Although we enjoyed our meals very much, they could have been a lot hotter. Being terribly British (well I am anyway) we said nothing 😉 and it didn’t really spoil the meal nor the taste.
Catia had the Medallions of Pork wrapped in Parma Ham with a Parmesan Tuille and Apple And Calvados Sauce. I was hoping I wouldn’t be too envious. We did have a taste of each others dishes and the pork was very good and I just loved the Parmesan Tuille.
As usual it was difficult choosing a dessert. I wish more places would do an ‘assiette’ of desserts like I had in France last year at the ‘La Petite Fontaine‘ in Carpentras. A little bit of each dessert on the menu! A excellent idea I think, especially for those of us who find it hard to make decisions. Ok it was a little dearer, but well worth it.
I eventually made up my mind and went for the Duo of Belgian Dark & Caramel Chocolate Mousse, served with Banoffee Ice Cream & Crème Anglaise.
Ooh this was yummy. A circular thin slice of sponge at the bottom, topped with the dark mouse then the caramel mousse. It was soft and smooth and creamy. The banoffee ice cream was gorgeous (I’m not a bananary type of person) and the Crème Anglaise – like a thin custard – was also smooth and creamy. A great finish to a great meal.
Catia’s dessert was Normandy Apple Tart served warm with a Grand Marnier Sauce and Vanilla Ice-cream. I didn’t have food envy this time as I think I chose the best dessert. I’m not a fan of apple and Catia said it wasn’t anything special, it was just okay.
So, most definitely a place to try with lots of choice and all beautifully presented. I wouldn’t hesitate on returning, perhaps with my husband next time. They have a few bedrooms if you wish to stay the night and nearby is Goodwood, Weald and Downland Open air Museum and West Dean Gardens plus lots of countryside to explore by foot or by bike, so there’s plenty to do around the area and Chichester’s not too far away for a spot of shopping.
On our return journey home in the dark the Sat Nav had stopped working. Not to worry, “I’m sure we can remember the way home” I say. Famous last words. We were almost at our destination (Catia’s home) and just approaching the junction we needed when Catia said “Ali, we haven’t got lost!” – which is what we normally do – and then I missed the junction. We couldn’t believe it and we cried with laughter, so near yet so far. A good end to a fab evening.
Living life, loving cake