Strongly recommend going here!
Brighton Photographer & Reviewer, Emma Harrel, January 2017
Situated 20 minutes outside of Brighton in the scenic countryside of the South Downs, Wingrove House can be found in a small village called Alfriston. It’s a 19th century colonial-style Country House serving light lunches, dinner & traditional Sunday lunches. We were booked in for 7pm on a Saturday night, and as it’s January it was dark so, although we couldn’t see much of the beautiful surroundings or make use of their outdoor terrace, the winter character of the place still drew much cooing. The outside of Wingrove House was beautifully lit at night, with a fountain, which had actually frozen over due to the cold! We were warmly greeted inside and was offered to sit in the lounge area with an open fire and a drink. We didn’t give it a pass.
Cosy lounge with a modern feel
The lounge area was really cosy with a modern feel to it, and was filling up with various groups of people who had also come for the restaurant. Whilst we perused the menu and warmed up, we ordered a couple of local ales to get our taste buds working. The menu was priced at two courses for £29 or three courses for £35 and the location of the ingredients had been labelled on the menu.
Perusing the menu by the fire
I quite liked the sound of the spiced parsnip & apple soup, but as I had had soup for lunch that day I settled on the butternut squash, feta and chickpea fritters, pomegranate and fennel salad.
Dan was eyeing up the Lambs kidneys with smoked bacon and amontillado sherry on mustard sourdough and fried quail egg, which we had been told by our friendly waiter was a bit of a hit since it’s been put on the menu.
For our mains, I went for the wild mushroom, leek and puy lentil strudel, with a white wine and tarragon sauce and sweet potato puree. Dan went for some more offal with the Pan fried calves liver with caramelised baby onion gravy, carrot puree and crisp pancetta.
Heading to the restaurant
We enjoyed our drinks for a little longer in the lounge before being seated in the restaurant. On our way through we were shown a very grand looking room with a large table and plenty of chairs which can be hired out for private parties and meetings. Walking pass the kitchen where you can hear the action happening, we walked into the restaurant. It was very spacious, but was kept cosy with ambient light and another roaring fire. We were seated just near the fire which I was very happy about! Our waitress was very attentive and friendly, checking we needed drinks and topping up our water. She brought us some tasty crusty bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to nibble on with our ale.
The first dish to be placed on the table was Dan’s lamb kidneys which looked super tasty, and the quails egg made for an elegant touch. I could smell them as soon as it was on the table! The combination, Dan told me, was beautiful, with the mushrooms, bacon and soft kidneys all adorning some toasted sourdough.
Fresh and sophisticated flavours
My chickpea fritters looked good too. They were little balls, reminding me of vegetarian scotch eggs with the texture, almost like falafel. I like the piece of feta hidden in the middle. The dip it came with was sweet and yogurty, and the pomegranates gave a nice tart punch to the mix. A fresh little starter with sophisticated flavours and the perfect portion!
A buzz in the air
The atmosphere of the restaurant was perfect, it was filling up nicely, there was the fire to keep us all snug and even though it was starting to get busy, the restaurant is big enough so that you’re not too close to your neighbouring diners so to give privacy.
Jaw dropping mains!
When our mains arrived my jaw dropped, as the presentation was exquisite. My puy lentil strudel was sat on a bed of bright green kale placed on a swoop of sweet potato puree. The puree was rich and sticky, almost like honey had been added to it, and the colour was so vibrant. The triangular lentil strudel had a golden crisp crust, and the filling was full of flavour with a good bite to it. I loved the white wine and tarragon sauce. We were given sides of seasonal vegetables for the middle of the table in little pots, which was unexpected as it wasn’t on the menu, but definitely welcomed!
Over to Dan’s liver. After the first bite, Dan said, without a hint of hyperbole,
“This is the best liver I have ever tasted, bar none!”
The liver was succulent and melted in the mouth. Dark and decadent flavours, it was a bold dish that Dan didn’t regret ordering. The smells were delicious, we both thoroughly enjoyed every bite full of our food.
When our empty plates had been collected we were offered the dessert menu. I decided I would go for a coffee with the petit fours and Dan decided on the warm chocolate brownie, chocolate fudge sauce, and vanilla ice cream. The fudge sauce was thick and creamy, the brownie was warm and gooey and I loved that the ice cream came in a little brandy snap cup! The berries that garnished the dessert acted as a great balancer. The petit fours were fudge, brownie and fruit cake, each little sweet delights, a perfect end to a terrific meal.
High-end menu & execution
I would very strongly recommend going here. The menu and execution are seriously high-end. Make this the next restaurant you try. It would be a fantastic place to have a celebration meal or group get together. And I would love to go back in the day, perhaps when it’s warmer to sample their alfresco dining area with the views!