Review: Wingrove House
“I chose Breast of Chicken Stuffed with Chestnut and Sage, Celeriac Puree and Wild Mushroom Sauce. This exceeded my expectations…A beautiful plate of food (in taste more than aesthetics!)”
As we drove into Alfriston I was reminded of how pretty this village is. I had been once before as part of a ramblers’ hike (one of my many indulgence-countering measures) but this time it was full of twinkle and festive adornments. The stress of the journey quickly melted away.
Wingrove House is a grand period house converted into a hotel.
Once I’d taken in its beautiful period features, fabulous terrace and gardens, and cosy drawing-room style bar, I immediately felt that this was going to be a pleasurable experience. Ian, the friendly General Manager, showed us through to the dining room and seated us in front of a roaring open fire. Big tick!
What is to be my only real criticism of the entire Wingrove experience is that the dining room is somewhat ‘cold’ in décor and feel, probably working well in the summer but not so much at this time of the year. The log fire went a big way to countering this, and I am told that the décor is to be changed in the New Year.
On to the food.
To start I went for Cream of Celeriac Soup with Truffle Croutons and my dining partner went for the Duck, Pistachio and Prune Terrine with Cranberry Relish and Sourdough Toast. While we waited, we nibbled on Cauliflower Cheese Fritters with Brighton Blue Cheese Dip. Given the trend for all things fritter or croquette at the moment, it was nice to see some classic comfort food reinvented in this way. The flavours and texture were delicious but the fritters were slightly too greasy. The soup was rich and comforting – I do so love all things celeriac. I couldn’t detect any truffle in the croutons but they were good nevertheless. The terrine was chunky, flavoursome and filling with all the tastes of Christmas.
I chose Breast of Chicken Stuffed with Chestnut and Sage, Celeriac Puree and Wild Mushroom Sauce. This exceeded my expectations. A large breast on the bone with mounds of rich sausage meat studded with chestnut and sage. All stuffed beneath deliciously browned chicken skin, served with braised kale, a creamy celeriac puree and a creamy mushroom sauce. Chestnuts and mushroom adorning the plate. A beautiful plate of food (in taste more than aesthetics!).
My companion’s Slow Braised Venison, Longman Ale, Pancetta and Rosemary with Mustard and Herb Dumplings was equally well-executed and enhanced by delicious crunchy parsnip crisps. This was all washed down by a good Chablis (sold by the glass).
Both stuffed but undeterred (we have greedy sweet tooths) we shared a Sticky Toffee Pudding.
This can often be a disappointment in restaurants but this was one of the best I have ever had. A Chestnut and Chocolate Torte also tempted me. Oh, and the Cappuccino Iced Parfait served with Shortbread spotted on a neighbouring table…Next time.
What’s most impressive is that the whole menu sounds so delicious that it really is a struggle to make choices.
Head Chef Mathew Comben joined Wingrove House in 2012 and his menu reflects a love of fresh and seasonal ingredients. He works with local suppliers and – where possible – organic produce. Desserts are clearly a strength judging by the choice on offer. They so often feel like an afterthought in restaurants, but not here.
Despite the extended journey, there will be a ‘next time’, because actually it’s really not that far if you go a little later than I did and avoid the rush hour. Thirty-five minutes and you’re in foodie heaven in a beautiful village. Go on a nice long walk and dine at the Wingrove.
Phone: 01323 870276
Featured Image sourced from: Wingrove House
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