Crouchers Hotel & Restaurant is in Chichester, West Sussex, but not in the centre, they are on the road to the yacht basin and eventually West Wittering. Years ago I remember going past ‘Crouchers Bottom’ – as it was named back then – with big plaster casts of bare bottoms on the wall. I appear to be the only one in my family who remembers this…perhaps I dreamt it.
We had a warm and friendly welcome and were shown to a table in a lovely airy and light room where several other people were enjoying their lunch. A set menu was available, two courses for £15.50 or three for £21.50. We were given some fresh home-made bread. Salted white and walnut & raisin.
Geoff, as per usual, went for the soup. Spiced Tomato & Cumin soup with red pepper salsa & crème fraîche which he said was very tasty with a little kick from the cumin.
I had the Stilton Crème Brûlée served with parmesan espuma, apple jelly & Stilton biscuit which was absolutely divine! The soft Stilton base wasn’t too strong with a lovely burnt sugar crust. Placed upon this was a wonderful crisp and fresh parmesan biscuit. The espuma wasn’t quite foamy, more of a whipped cream texture but was still very tasty. Upon the plate were circles of bright green apple jelly and some sprigs of basil (?). Whatever it was was very fragrant.
Lots of textures in this dish. I loved it!
Geoff had the Corn-fed chicken with crispy bacon and parmentier potatoes, spring vegetables with a warm confit chicken leg supreme, which was a little like pulled pork. I had a taste of Geoff’s chicken which was very tender.
I thought I’d go for something a little different, a bit more adventurous for me anyway. Pan fried calves liver with pancetta crisp, wholegrain mustard mash and a red wine jus. I don’t have liver much at home, I find that once I’ve cut out all those horrible tubes I’m left with hardly anything at all. This, however was very tender (no tubes) and so many flavours. I found some onion in a creamy sauce hiding underneath the liver. The only thing I didn’t like – and nor did Geoff when he tried some – was the mustard mash. Neither of us are fans of mustard but we do have it in sauces when we dine out but there was a little too much in this for our liking and it seemed to dry the mash out.
We ordered a side dish of beans – at an extra cost – which came with peppers and red onion. The beans were crisp and crunchy and the pepper and onions really made the dish.
For dessert Geoff went for the Set orange rice pudding, confit plums, poppy seed tuile and a coriander gel. He enjoyed his rice pudding but wasn’t overly keen on the coriander gel, although I thought it was lovely. The poppy seed tuile reminded us of the desserts we had at The Kitchen in Southsea.
My dessert was ordered from the À la carte menu so I had to pay a couple of pounds extra. It was worth it though. It was SO good I’ve had to show you three photos of it. This is White chocolate & caramel fondant served with chocolate ganache, raspberry pieces & raspberry sorbet. The sorbet was deliciously rich, the ganache too and very thick with a sprinkle of chocolate soil.
The fondant was similar to those ‘melt in the middle’ puds you get from M&S etc., but so much better. The centre was hot and runny and a little like dulce de leche, quite rich and thankfully lots of it.
Oh my goodness, you will not believe how wonderful this was! I didn’t want it to end. The best dessert I’ve had for a while.
I just had to finish this lovely meal off with a coffee as it was served with petit fours. I’ve often said that more places need to serve these and finally I’ve found a place which does. These were all home-made, a rich chocolate, a crisp shortbread and an apple jelly.
The room we were sat in overlooked a well-kept garden, in fact all the grounds looked up-together and well looked after. We didn’t get to look around too much outside as it was raining, so no photo of the front of the hotel & restaurant either I’m sorry to say but it is sign posted so you shouldn’t miss it.
There were several rooms which went into one another, all a little different as you can see by the photos. Whilst we were there some people came in to have Afternoon Tea.
Easy listening music played softly in the background. We felt so comfortable and peaceful sitting there we didn’t want to leave.
We thought Crouchers Restaurant was top-notch and thoroughly enjoyed our meals. There’s no doubt that we shall return very soon.
Living life, absolutely loving Crouchers!