We had been meaning to try this 2-Rosette awarded restaurant set in the grounds of Borde Hill Garden (West Sussex) for a while. We have eaten at its younger sister Café Elvira a few times but were always intrigued by the more luxurious Jeremy’s just next door. In the surrounding villages, Jeremy’s seemed to be well-liked and was often mentioned by locals as a place to go.
There is absolutely nothing conventional about the experience of dining at The Man Behind the Curtain. It is avant-garde in every sense: in name, décor, location, people, ambient music and of course, the food. You just have to visit their site’s homepage to get a feel for what I mean – there is a cat with an astronaut helmet floating in space next to a giant open mouth with a man’s face inside and some other strange elements scattered around. Got the idea yet? Me neither.
We had been past the Rose & Crown a few times and kept telling ourselves we should go in one day. From the outside, it is a beautiful well looked-after 17th century building, inviting, quintessentially British countryside village type. Inside, the same. Think low ceilings, chunky furniture, Labradors asleep under tables and locals enjoying a good pint. But more on that later.
As we arrive, a warm and believable smile greets us from behind the bar. The same smile also greets us at the table this time coming from a different person, together with my complimentary glass of Prosecco (it was Mother’s Day and I was going to be duly acknowledged by these warm and amenable strangers that work at the Rose & Crown). A good start, that’s for sure.
Reviewing Heston Blumenthal’s 3-Michelin starred Fat Duck is a near-impossible task. I am already lost for words and haven’t even started.
The Fat Duck is not a place where you go to have dinner. It is more like going to the theatre. It is a theatre of food.
The outside of the restaurant is very pub-like, set in the heart of the leafy village of Bray. By the time we arrived I was feeling butterflies in my stomach in anticipation. As you go in, the room is surprisingly simple, plain, almost dull. But then this place is all about the food, why waste time on props and décor and draw attention away from what really matters? Still, the tables were impeccably set, the cloth immaculately white and smooth. We sat, asked for a glass of champagne, and then the show began.