Farmer Butcher Chef opened on Helen’s birthday, 24th November of last year and had she been home no doubt we would have been one of their very first customers. However, she wasn’t and as Christmas was approaching I was far too busy to pay them a visit but finally back in January I went there for lunch with a friend.
Farmer Butcher Chef (a bit of an off-putting name for vegetarians I would assume 😉 ) is where the Richmond Arms once was – not to be confused with the Richmond Arms in West Ashling not far away – and is on the Goodwood Estate, in West Sussex.
The restaurant’s decor is really very nice indeed with tons of things to look at on the walls, all from the estate apparently, with box picture frames holding old keys, pieces of metal guttering – which hung correctly look like pieces of art, trust me. One frame contained four & twenty blackbird pie funnels. Our table was very thick with a glass top. Under the glass it was partitioned into a number of compartments each containing various clock mechanisms, including a mouse – not real. I could have wandered around looking at everything for ages, it was like a museum. I guess the best thing you could do would be to keep going back for lunch/diner and making sure you were seated at a different table each time. Perhaps that’s the idea.
A large fire place in the middle of the restaurant cuts the room in half which makes it appear smaller and cosier. White walls of both brick and wood, white beams overhead with lots of bare light bulbs dangling down, which are so popular at the moment in eating establishments. All the chairs were different, some upholstered in fancy union flag print. A long table had several old red fire buckets all the way down the middle with fruit and veg on top, it looked really splendid.
There were two menus, one lunch/pre-theatre menu (Chichester Festival Theatre isn’t far away), £14.50 for two courses and £19.50 for three, plus the á la cart. We went for the set lunch.
I really wanted to have a glass of the local Tinwood sparkling wine as they are only about a mile or so down the road but alas at £10 a glass, Christmas only just gone and a big overseas trip looming I went for the house red merlot at half the price which was nice enough. Next time maybe. We also had a bottle of tap water on the table and John Jenkins glasses. I’ve never heard of the chap but the glasses were quite nice and delicate and we both commented on them.
Ok now onto the grub. We both ordered the same for both starter and main. First we were given a slice of fairly thick sourdough bread with a lovely scoop of whipped butter, sea salt flakes on the table if needed. The bread was very tasty and fresh. We wondered what ‘crispy pigs head’ would be so asked and were told it was the cut, forehead to cheek kind of thing.
All the meat at Farmer butcher chef is from the Goodwood estate as are most of the vegetables. They have a farm shop nearby and the abattoir they use is not far away too. They try to use most of the animal in their dishes so none is wasted. So often we tend to stick to certain cuts of meat, whereas in the ‘olden days’ we used to eat much more tongue, brains etc., nowadays we might turn our nose up at the thought of eating them.
The pigs head was very tasty, with a light crisp batter surrounding it and placed on shredded celeriac in a creamy sauce and splodges of apple sauce. The presentation was also good.
On the road to the restaurant I saw some of their sheep in a field and thought I’d probably have that for lunch. The beer braised lamb was nicely presented with prunes, sweet potatoes and pickled turnips. We also shared two side dishes of cabbage & bacon which was delicious with plenty of bacon and onion in it and green beans & kale with chopped hazelnuts, again very tasty and no scrimping on the nuts.
The lamb was nice and tender and we both enjoyed the whole dish very much.
We chose different desserts, I went for the bread & butter pudding with smoked ale ice cream and Linda the banoffee parfait, lemon & yoghurt sorbet.
Bread & butter pudding is something Geoffrey normally goes for and he would have loved this. It came in a ceramic dish and looked very much like a creme brûlée. With a crispy burnt sugar coating, underneath it was soft and custard-like with raisins/sultanas. It was very good and I loved the ice cream too.
Linda’s banoffee parfait was also nice – I had a taste – but secretly I preferred my dessert. It was a bar of banana parfait with large wedges of bananas with a burnt sugar coating and crumbs. The sorbet was nice too.
We finished off the meal with a coffee each. My black Americano was very nice and I thought had a hint of rose to it. A petit four on the side would have been nice though or a small shortbread biscuit. I’m always going on about this but it’s the little things that count. The coffee mugs and pot were very unusual, enamel with bright red speckled paint. I’m not sure I liked it but I guess it added a splash of colour.
I’ve kept this review for ages as I keep meaning to return to have the ‘butcher’s board’ which is a mixture of different cuts of meat, unusual bits as I mentioned before, priced at £20pp and I would have liked to have written about it but unfortunately I haven’t managed it as firstly, we had website problems, then I went away for a month, came home only to find the website still wasn’t working and now that it is, I have a backlog of reviews and many new places to visit, so this review will have to be on just the set lunch menu after all. Sorry.
I’m sure I’ll return soon as I really enjoyed the restaurant and the food. The service was very good too and we had a bit of a chat about the restaurant and the estate with one of the young waitresses who knew her stuff.
Living life, loving cake
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