We visited Cassons in Tangmere near Chichester in West Sussex one Friday lunch time recently. When we arrived there were several diners but as we had booked it for a rather late time of 1.30pm (which was the last booking for lunch, plus we were a few minutes late) it wasn’t long before it was just the two of us.
It didn’t matter though, it didn’t make us feel uncomfortable at all and as the place is fairly small and split into three areas, it was quite cosy. Music such as Rod Stewart dueting with others, smoochy kind of music (not his Maggie May kind of stuff) played in the background which was pretty good actually and Geoff enjoyed trying to guess who he was singing with.
From Wednesday to Saturday Cassons have a special lunch menu as well as their À la carte menu, £17 for two courses and £20 for three, plus a glass of house wine, beer or soft drink. First though we were given some really nice salted almonds. These are home-made, blanched and then salted and we loved them! Also two thin Parmesan biscuits with black seeds around the edge, I had these as they would have been two cheesy for Geoff and they melted in the mouth.
I had a glass of their house wine, a Sauvignon Blanc which was very nice and we were also given a large jug of refreshingly cold tap water.
We were offered a choice of two home-made breads, both very tasty and fresh. This was served with spreadable butter, yay!
For the first course I chose the scallops which was cooked in a very light and crispy batter with leeks in a prawn bisque. Very nice indeed. Stupidly I didn’t read the menu properly and missed the ‘croquette of suckling pig confit’, had I seen it then that would have been my first choice.
Geoff had the soup of the day which was odd because he’d complained only the day before that he’d had soup a lot that week as I had made some and had no room in the freezer. Anyway, his sweet potato soup was very tasty.
For our main course we both chose the Boeuf Bourguignon. This was in a lovely rich gravy with oyster mushrooms, mashed potato which was nice and smooth, broccoli and carrots and sprinkled with pancetta. I’m not sure how they prepared the carrots but they were small and almost round. We both enjoyed this dish, the beef was very tender with no fat or gristle.
For dessert I decided to choose one from the À la carte menu instead, so obviously had to pay a little extra. This was a chocolate brownie which was crisp on the outside and gooey in the centre, white chocolate and salted caramel ice-creams which didn’t quite taste of salted caramel, but it was still tasty. The chocolate mousse was very rich and dense and very nice although it had that coarse, almost grainy texture and a cocoa powder dryness to it. A very thin wafer of mint glass finished off the dish but unfortunately again, this didn’t really taste of mint.
Geoff went for the dessert which was on the special lunch menu, and although he enjoyed it, it wasn’t anything special, ice-cream, strawberries & raspberries.
This didn’t put us off Cassons at all, we decided to have Sunday lunch there only two weeks later.
This time we booked it for 1pm and there were quite a few others in there throughout the meal, so we weren’t alone this time. We were again given the lovely almonds and Parmesan biscuits. We shared a bottle of their house red wine, Precioso Rioja which was very nice. Fresh home-made bread, multiseed or red pepper & basil.
Geoff had pigeon breast, bonbon of leg confit, celeriac purée, woodland garnish. He enjoyed it very much but I can’t bring myself to eat the darned things, I’m glad there’s one less of them out there to be honest as my next door neighbour stupidly feeds them and they coo and flap around all the time and drive me nuts.
My starter this time was the Selsey crab, sweetcorn mousse, lime mayonnaise, potato glass and lemon gel. It wasn’t too fishy -which is good, for me anyway – and was really nice with the lemon and lime, delicious. The sweetcorn mousse was smooth and creamy, the potato wafer was nice too, different and I loved the cucumber caviar which didn’t actually taste of anything but they looked really good on the plate. I just had to ask about it and also Google it. They are made by spherification, very clever and must have taken some time to do. Loved it. The dish was very well presented (as they all are) and a few pieces of popcorn were scattered on the plate too.
Geoff had roast beef which he said ‘was very nice and moist’. That’s a ghastly word and apparently it is one of the world’s most hated words 😉
I had the pork and Geoff was annoyed that I got to have a Yorkshire pudding too whereas I shouldn’t have had one as it wasn’t mentioned on the menu, only of course with the roast beef but we have it at home with every roast I cook be it lamb, chicken etc., and I’m glad I did get one as it was very tasty indeed. The carrots were the same as before, slightly rounded and were quite sweet tasting, the only let down were the roast potatoes which had the texture as if they’d been kept warm for a while, I know if my roast potatoes are ready before everything else and I keep them warm or reheat them they tend to go like this. A nice gravy though. Out of all the dishes this was the weakest, to be fair I suppose there’s not a lot you can do to jazz a roast up, especially seeing as the price was so low. I think the offers give you a peep at what Cassons are capable of if you went full À la Carte.
For dessert I had the Lemon Curd wrapped in mandarin sorbet, mandarin foam, chocolate aero, chocolate sauce.
This is how I described it before reading what it is really supposed to be – lemon ice-cream wrapped in lemon ice, balanced upon two small chocolate brownie cubes and a splodge of extra-tangy deliciously-tasting lemon mousse which was really lovely, served with sweet crumbs and a chocolate sauce. Almost right.
Geoff had Eton Mess – raspberries, strawberries, coulis, crumble, raspberry meringues, crème brûlée mousse, very tasty and well presented. We finished off the meal with an Americano each.
Cassons have two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence and the service is very good and very friendly. They regularly have offers available and special events such as a the French Bistro Evening this month, a 9-course tasting menu (now that sounds good) in July and September and of course, Father’s Day is this month and they have a special offer of 3 courses for £22.50.
Well we both enjoyed our meal so much we thought we’d return for Geoff’s birthday this month and are taking along his Ma & Pa too. Funnily enough we gave it the same ratings as our first visit without knowing, apart from one and that was the ambience which went up one notch and only really because this time we weren’t dining alone.
Return? Yes, already booked it 😉
Living life, loving cake,