A great restaurant – or cafe, bistro or even chippy – is one in which everything just feels right.
It’s not about the cost, whether high or low, but about the authenticity which, when boiled down, means people doing what they should – and therefore doing it well.
Farmer Butcher Chef, on the Goodwood Estate, is a case in point. Frankly, the Dish Detective is in love.
If we’re honest, the Dish Detective doesn’t usually move in these circles. But we pushed the boat out to mark an occasion and, it must be said, a visit to Farmer Butcher Chef will make you wish you had three birthdays a year.
The restaurant is based on two principles. Firstly, it takes as much as it can – meat, dairy, vegetables – from Goodwood Home Farm, all of a mile up the country road. Secondly, it uses as much of each lamb, pig or cow as it can, following the sustainable ‘nose-to-tail’ trend. The Dish Detective loves both of those principles, but it loves the food here more.
For example, after ordering, a tray of unexpected complimentary appetisers was brought around. A crispy, deep-fried ox tongue with a side order of rosemary ketchup was one, with smoked pheasant samosas another. There was also a take on a mini-rarebit, and lamb chips – more like croquettes – with gentlemen’s relish and a huge pork crunch – a posh scratching. All exquisitely executed.
Then starters. A beer braised lamb belly; a small cube of lamb sitting on turnips, and scattered with barley, with flavours that blended into one other and meat that was similarly melting. And also a duck egg en cocotte – usually baked with cream in a ramekin, here it was presented in a miniature frying pan, with air-dried pork and mushrooms as a take on a fry-up. Not just witty, but delicious, with the pork an extra-intense hit of bacon-type flavour.
But even this was nothing to the main course – a butcher’s board of beef for two. We wandered around the animal, trying oxtail faggots, brisket, sticky short rib and more. It was served with dripping chips and a celeric gratin, and it was overwhelming and utterly wonderful. Proper cooking, from people who care not just about the food but the ingredients. It’s not the cheapest night out, but it’s worth every penny. Save up. Go here. Savour it.
Tel: (01243) 755070
(ratings out of 5)