On the Sunday before Christmas, one of my closest friends and I went on a culinary adventure at The New Inn, to celebrate our enduring friendship and the triumphs of the past year. We were pleasantly surprised when we found the entire experience was nothing short of extraordinary, leaving an indelible mark on our foodie hearts.
Seated in front of a crackling wood-burning stove, complete with that delectable scent that only a pub in the midst of the Sunday rush can evoke, the atmosphere embraced us with warmth and charm, setting the stage for an unforgettable afternoon. A bottle of Manoso Rioja, carefully chosen for its perfect balance of depth and flavour, seamlessly complemented the ambiance.
Our culinary journey began with the ruby red Beetroot and Cauliflower Fritters – a tantalising starter that danced on our taste buds. Accompanied by the heavenly focaccia, boasting a crisp, salty crust and a pillowy soft interior, it was a symphony of flavours and textures which left us excited to try the next course.
For the mains, my lovely friend opted for the locally bred chicken supreme, a succulent and flavourful delight. The vegetables they came with were a visual feast – a perfect rainbow of colour and texture for our palates.
Yorkshire pudding, steamed carrot, celeriac mash, spiced red cabbage, perfectly cooked curly kale, and the most deliciously fresh and crunchy roast potatoes we’ve ever encountered (in a restaurant, don’t worry Granny!) came together to create a harmonious feast. We were delighted to learn about the chefs’ dedication to perfecting the goose fat, rosemary roast potatoes. We found out that they regularly engage in a friendly competition to create the absolute best roastie! Winner.
My choice, the glorious slow-cooked porchetta, was a true masterpiece. As a side note, I have spent many a Sunday hunting for the perfect crackling and after years of comparing the various ways chefs prepare it, I have to say I think I’ve finally found the best crackling in Sussex (I know, big words, but just trust me)! The paper-thin crisp crackling was a delightful contrast to the earthy richness of the meat – this dish was a triumph.
Dessert proved to be a luscious indulgence, the ideal conclusion to the satiating roast. The Chocolate and Amaretto Marquis with hazelnut and cranberry biscotti was a rich and worthwhile treat that persuaded us to make room in our already contented tummies. The Raspberry and Lemon Trifle Coulis added a zingy tartness, creating a perfect balance with the softly delicate custard and fresh cream.
In the midst of foodie heaven, we embarked on a little adventure into the garden which, though closed for winter, is still worth a gander. Guided by the fabulous manager, who took exceptional care of us, we discovered The New Inn’s collection of fresh flowers, artichokes, and seasonal herbs which grace the garden during the spring and summer. The anticipation of returning in the warmer months, with a playground for our kiddos, is definitely pencilled into our 2024 diaries.
As I look back on our afternoon at The New Inn, it’s crystal clear that it was more than just a meal. It was a celebration of culinary artistry and friendship, warmth and hospitality. The memory of the afternoon will be forever etched as one of our fondest foodie adventures. Three cheers to The New Inn for an outstanding dining experience that completely blew away our expectations! We can’t wait to come back with the family in the spring.