Review from OneTinyLeap

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Possibly the Best Pub Lunch in Sussex?

A hearty walk in the Sussex countryside should always be followed by a good pub lunch.

Last week we were invited to stay at the lovely Woodstock Suites in Charlton, and to eat that evening at the Earl of March in nearby Lavant, a picturesque little village about five miles from the cottages.

The pub overlooks the rolling hills of the South Downs, with a large patio perfect for basking in the summer sunshine, with a cold beer or a glass of bubbly (I prefer the latter). We hadn’t been so lucky with the weather so booked a table inside the pub. The décor was instantly appealing – modern yet cosy, with spacious brooms lit by plenty of natural light.

Run by Giles Thompson, formerly the Executive Head Chef at the Ritz Hotel in London, I was expecting big things, and boy, did it deliver. It’s sometimes difficult for us to have this kind of dining experience in a family-friendly setting, so this was a promising treat.

We had booked the table for 6pm, so the restaurant wasn’t yet too busy. The very friendly waiting staff seated us quickly, and quickly brought us the kids menu, sweetly dubbed ‘for Mini Gastronauts’.

I love the creative dishes’ names – it’s the little things that matter, and someone had clearly given them some thought. Soon after, we were given some huge crayons for Charlie to play with, even before he even asked for some. We had brought some activity books along, so he was delighted with them.

For once eschewing his beloved fish ‘n’ chips, he plumped for bangers and mash, or ‘Pork Snorkers with Yummy Mash & Gravy‘, which we all agreed looked absolutely delicious, and disappeared within moments!

As a family, we really appreciate the staff being so nice and friendly with our son – it made our experience exponentially better.

Our own menu was positively droolworthy. Rob started with the Henfield Oak-smoked salmon, with potato blinis and creme fraiche, while I had ‘Textures of Seasonal Asparagus, Slow Cooked Crispy Hen Egg, Forager’s Hollandaise’.

My plate was a real foodie experience – the plate itself was beautiful and creative, full of textures from an asparagus mousse to the tempura, plus the perfectly runny crispy hen egg oozing out of its crispy coating, all of which were real winners for me – I’m still salivating thinking of it.

Our starters were followed swiftly by a pot-roasted lemon sole for Rob, accompanied by crushed peas, Jersey potatoes and a sauce of brown shrimp and caper butter, whilst I had chosen the fillet steak, which can sometimes be a boring, safe choice, but it was much recommended to us, so I had to say to oblige and say yes. The meat was flavour-full, a tender medium-rare piece cooked to perfection, drizzled with a mouth-watering rich sauce – a true melt-in-your-mouth experience that I can still remember.

We didn’t really need dessert, but couldn’t not ask for the menu. I never seem to be able to resist it when I read the words Sticky Toffee (which was served with Salted Caramel Sauce, Toffee & Honeycomb Ice Cream), and Rob opted for a mouthwatering strawberry crumble dessert (sorry I didn’t write it down and forgot exactly what it was – but just look at the picture to your left and imagine how good that tasted).

The entire meal was beautifully cooked, well-presented, and delivered by friendly and helpful staff. One of the things I’ve always loved about the UK is its country pubs, and the Earl of March in Lavant is without doubt one of the best I’ve ever had the good fortune to dine. If you ever find yourself in West Sussex, especially if you’re visiting nearby Goodwood, make sure you book a table at the Earl of March – I promise, you won’t regret it.

You can also enjoy a proper Sunday lunch at the Earl of March, which I can’t wait to try out. I mean, every Sunday lunch deserves Oysters as a starter, wouldn’t you agree?


Customer Feedback

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It’s always a pleasure to receive feedback from our customers:


I just wanted to e-mail you following an evening meal I had at The Earl of March on Monday evening. I don’t think I have written a feedback e-mail for years and years so it must have been memorable!

I was with my wife and three sons (11,10 and 8) and wanted a pub meal at the end of a day exploring the South Downs before coming home to Fulham, London. We stopped off with no plans and – as ever – having no idea what to expect. Pubs can so often divide into two camps – a drinking pub with poor food or a bit of a gastro pub with no ‘pub’ atmosphere and one where kids would definitely be out of place. I see too many of the latter and try to avoid the former, when my wife’s in tow!

It was quiet when we arrived and I thought we had arrived at more of a restaurant and it may not have worked with our kids. Instead, we were instantly warmly welcomed and shown to a table at the bar for a drink or two whilst our table was prepared. Menus were swiftly bought – a kid’s menu, a set menu, a la carte AND a specials board. Since this was a stop off on the way home, I didn’t want to spend a fortune or be there for hours but, equally, wanted some good food in proper, rural surroundings. And that is exactly what we got.

Service from the Head Waiter (perhaps owner or general manager?), barman and waitress was all superb and friendly. Great not to be rushed to order and enjoy a couple of drinks in the bar before being taken over to the restaurant table. The food was superb and, I thought, exceptional value for money. We enjoyed an excellent large glass of wine – sadly no more since we were driving.

One of the normal niggles with kids is their never ending demand for ketchup which always comes in minuscule quantities. We had to keep asking for more but those requests were handled with efficiency and a smile.

I don’t really know what else to say but thanks. A real find. Whilst a Londoner through and through, it is a stop at an establishment like yours that makes me realise what I am missing!

I have no idea if/when I will go down your way again but will certainly always make a point of visiting if I do. I recommend the excellent Singleton Open Air Museum to lots of friends and, in future, will include a recommendation to the Earl of March to ensure they have a great day!

Keep up the good work. Please give my thanks to your kitchen team and all the staff.

Review from LapinBlu

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It was my birthday last week. A quiet affair with little ceremony this year, but thanks to the timely invite from Giles Thompson (formerly of The Ritz), Owner & Executive Chef of The Earl of March; I was happily able to share a foodie experience and spend some quality girl time with one of my besties.

On a gloriously sun filled spring day, we wound our way through the Sussex hills towards Lavant, (near GoodWood), to the home of this rather humbly understated “Country Pub Restaurant” (with it’s menu, ambience & food values, it’s so much more than that!)

Upon arrival, we entered via the garden, which immediately conjured images of warm hazy evenings full of bubbled chatter – a backdrop of the rolling downs, glowing as the sun sinks low. Even in early Spring, it was just stunning (if perhaps a little chilly for some!)

Inside, the bar area is warm and welcoming with it’s log burning fire, quieter nooks and quirky heritage decor. The main restaurant is airy but maintains an intimate, refined atmosphere.

We were there mid-week, and it was comfortably peopled so as to feel relaxed and able to chat, but not feel overheard or looked. I could easily imagine the weekends would be filled with rosy cheeks & canine companions, families & friends, warming the cockles & filling the belly after one of the many local hearty walks, or a sea-salted trip to the Witterings, perhaps.

It’s the food here that makes “pub/restaurant” a bit of an understatement, though. Locally sourced and seasonal wherever possible, Giles takes the attitude that:

The best ingredients are fresh ingredients, and we are lucky to work with so many local food producers.

Our crab, for example, is hand-caught in Selsey, and all our beef comes from Sussex. We use free range eggs from Hallgate Farm and even sell them in the restaurant to our customers. We also enjoy our wine from the local Tinwood Estate.

For starters, we shared (being lunch time after all!) a salad of grilled halloumi with winter vegetables & truffle vinaigrette. The presentation was rustically simple, which was almost a tease, since the delicious blend of carefully balanced flavours & textures packed a mouthwatering bang!

For main, we went with the very attentive & helpful staff advice and shared the special of Côte de Boeuf. Superbly cooked, and complemented by crispy tripled cooked hand-cut chips & a garlic butter sauce, it was an absolute treat.

And for dessert, well, I was disappointingly rather full, but we managed to sample the plum crumble anyway, which rounded out the meal to perfection.

I think we both came away & spent the afternoon in a delighted foodie haze – concocting plans for Sunday walks & Summer evenings, when the cosy private dining room becomes a seafood shack (by all accounts, the lobster, crab & oysters on offer are top-notch!)

Field Notes:

\\ Go Hungry! Fine dining is on the menu, but the portions are good.

\\ Kids are welcome. There’s a mini gastronaut menu, although I might be tempted to save this one as a grown up retreat!

\\ Starters range from around £7.50-9.50, Mains £15-22, Desserts £5-8.50

\\ There are excellent walks locally and straight from The Earl so it’s worth checking out circular routes if you like to build up your appetite.

\\ There is a private dining room seating 12-14 at no additional fee. Decorated as a huntsman’s lodge, it’s an understated & cosy way to gather as an alternative to the main restaurant.

Huge thanks to Giles & everyone at The Earl of March for inviting us along & providing such a treat! If you’d like to find out more about menus, opening times or events, just click here – treat yourself x

Review from Graphic Foodie

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PicMonkey Collage GF

Whilst Brighton pub kitchens are hotly competing against one another with every street food trend or attention grabbing concept in the book (innovation and gimmick run a fine line), it’s nice to be treated to some refined, high-end pub food for a change. And, God help me, food not served in either a dog bowl, chopping board or camping tin.

So it was a pleasure to find myself at the Earl of March in Lavant, just outside of Chichester, with gorgeous views over the Sussex Downs. It’s only an hour drive from Brighton but we built up an appetite kicking through the autumn leaves and feeding the cygnets and Swanbourne lake in Arundel on the way. Nice.

The pub garden was full of people cashing in on the last days of summer but we took to the formal dining room inside which was comfortably and tastefully furnished. There’s also a cosy bar area too with just a few quirky touches that nod to their position at Goodwood.

This is at the premium end of pub dining (which you would expect from owner Giles Thompson who was formerly the executive head chef of the Ritz London) but I noticed a well priced set menu (two courses £19.50 or three for £21.50) so we ordered from this and the standard menu to compare.

My starter of Spring’s of Henfield Oak Smoked Salmon is guaranteed to be delicious but they sympathetically and elegantly crafted it with pink peppercorn creme fraiche, a light potato bilini and pickled cucumber to make the perfect light and fresh starter.

The new classic posh pub starter of pig cheek on the set menu was given substance with beans and the crunchy, crumb crust contrasted well with the sweet softness of the meat. A honey and sage sauce forced us to also sneak in a few crafty finger plate licks too.

I’ve always wanted Junior Foodie to try whitebait (I encourage anything with heads, ears, tails.. I don’t want a squeamish child on my hands) thinking he may try one or two for novelty, but he wolfed down the entire portion which I thought was quite generous for a decider course. I snatched one and don’t blame little chap at all for clearing the plate.

The main of guinea fowl was probably the most tender version I’ve tried as it tends to be quite tough. Again it was beautifully presented, served with complementary robust flavours from the oxtail pomme purée and roasted jus. It’s exactly the plate of food I want to see in this sort of place.

My blade of beef from the set menu was a little simpler, but none the less enjoyable with good flavour. I used to be a fillet girl, but have definitely seen the light with slightly less tender but flavour packed cuts. I adored the jus soaked classic boulangere potatoes at the bottom and delicate ribbons of yellow courgette.

It was nice to see the kids fish and chips come out as a decent size and the rough cut chips were cooked and given a good shake before frying as they had the most delicious crispy edges. I may have stolen a few of these like the bad mother I am.

The dessert Mr GF was always going to pick was his staple sticky toffee pudding. I often find this dish to be teeth chatteringly sweet, but this one was nicely balanced and light with just enough naughtiness in the sauce to make it indulgent.

Not something I would normally go for was the Apple Compote. This was an early taste of Christmas with winter spices like cinnamon and star anise and a good hit of festive booze from the Calvados cream. The textures at the bottom layer were particularly gorgeous with plenty of crunchy caramelized nuts to contrast with the sweet reduced apples.

Food is clearly paramount at the Earl of March and I don’t think you could complain about it at all. What I also liked was the presentation. Nothing was superfluous, everything has its place visually and for taste. Pub food in particular is generally suffering a phase of silliness at the moment. Yes, food should be beautiful but not at the mercy of taste and they hit the balance perfectly here.

The only quibble I had was service but I think we had a case of new girl on our hands with our waitress staring blankly at the till for a forever rather than look after the tables.We were also not shown the specials board, which with lamb rack and wild mushroom gnocchi, Yorkshire grouse and Hampshire venison with gooseberry gastrique on made me stick out my bottom lip when I noticed it later. I think she also forgot to add the kids meal but the kitchen, clearly powered on rocket fuel, managed to produce it in no time, without our own meal getting cold or the boy noticing and having a scale ten toddler meltdown. Later on we were served by other members of staff that were friendly, smart and efficient so in general, I think you’d be very well looked after here.

Although at the upper end of the price bracket for pub dining, the quality and location make it well worth the trip from Brighton. I wouldn’t hesitate to return.

Review from Sussex Life Magazine

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The Earl of March in Lavant is grand by name and proved equally resplendent in taste, as Alice Cooke found out.

Purporting to be a country pub restaurant, as The Earl of March does, is in my eyes far too modest. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of brilliant rural pubs in Sussex, but the food here is so much more than you’d ever expect from pub fare.

There’s sumptuously fresh seafood, tender and fantastically flavoured local meat, and vegetables that “have travelled as little as possible before they get to your plate,” according to our waiter. Which brings me to the staff, who are charming, smiley and reassuringly au fait with everything on the menu and the wine list.

The latter is an oenophile’s delight, with local offerings alongside choice pickings from around the world, and yet while this is all very impressive, the food is the real champion here…

To start we had emulsion of watercress with seared diver scallop, pancetta and truffle oil, which was one of the ever-changing seasonal chef’s specials, and steamed mussels in cider and parsley cream with frites. These were both spot on, and I also noticed the neighbouring table starting with grilled halloumi, salad of marinated summer vegetables, confit lemon and truffle vinaigrette, which looked equally mouthwatering.

To follow this we enjoyed (which is in itself something of an understatement), breast of guinea fowl, panache of seasonal vegetables, oxtail pomme purée and roast jus; and sirloin steak, garlic butter, hand cut chips, grilled field mushroom and plum tomato. The steak is something that you find on nearly every menu, granted, but when it’s done brilliantly, boy is it done brilliantly, and this was superb. The guinea fowl was tremendously well seasoned and flavoured – it was rich and succulent but not too gamey.

There’s a sporting-themed party room that you can hire out for events, which can also be opened out on to a patio. This looks like it would be gorgeously cosy in the winter, but in summer it’s equally appealing, with its homely décor and comfortable private setting.

The whole scene is helped by the fact that the Earl of March looks out over Goodwood and all that the beautiful estate entails. For those who aren’t familiar with the area I am talking enviable rolling downland, but also a car park full of amazing sports and vintage vehicles all year round.


Review from “Muddy Stilettos”

By | Reviews

PicMonkey Collage

Gem of a Gastropub on the South Downs

I popped down to the South coast recently to catch up with my friend Fran, who I’ve known since, er, 19-something-other when we were both barely knee-high to a grasshopper if we stood one on top of the other.  Lots of chat, lots of wine, you know how it goes.  We took the opportunity to try out the Earl of March in Lavant, near Chichester – and what a treat that was.

As locations for pubs go, it’s pretty much got it.  Lavant, in West Sussex just north of Chichester, is perched on those gorgeous rolling downs, so the view is stunning.  I was lucky – we were there on a perfect sunny evening – but it would be hard to imagine it ever not looking impressive.  And we were only about 20 minutes drive from the coast, too.

We started out on the terrace, which is full of comfortable chairs – with cushions and blankets in case you need to snuggle in as the sun goes down.  All a bit blissful, actually.  Sunshine, glass of wine, delectable specials board brought right to us.

I had heard great things about the food at the Earl of March – and that they had local Selsey lobster on that night – so my expectations were riding pretty darn high. The chef there, Giles Thompson, was, earlier in his career, Executive Head Chef at the Ritz and later Head of School at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in Marylebone.

The menu alone was more than enough, but the specials board – complete with the promised lobster in various guises – was super-tempting.  I went for the Terrine Maison of Duck (which was rich and delicious), with truffled field mushrooms and pistachios,The Earl’s Relish (which was sweet and delicious), cornichons and toasted soda bread (which was dark and crispy).  Fran had the smoked salmon, which looked absolutely stunning on the plate – and which she tells me was delicious.

I just had to try the lobster (obviously) so I went for Lobster Thermidor, which I’d never had before – but now want to eat every single day.  Fran’s steak was huge and beautifully cooked, with crispy chips that looked like chips ought to look but never really do.

There wasn’t a huge choice for pudding – but, to be fair, we didn’t have much space left and the ones we we did manage to squeeze in (well, it would be rude not to…) were utterly fabulous.  Fran’s brownie was achingly rich and gooey, and I had trouble not actually licking the plate to get every last delicious drop of the salted caramel sauce in which my sticky toffee pudding was happily paddling.

It wasn’t just the food, though.  The pub’s been beautifully decorated in ‘country plush’ (is that really a thing?) and it managed to feel grown-up and relaxed  as well as more than a little bit special.  I was gazing enviously at the little almost-private room that larger parties can book – or sometimes just sneak into – but the main dining area was so lovely that I really shouldn’t have been.

The service was friendly and relaxed, and I could quite happily have sat there all night, talking, ordering more wine, enjoying the view, and just lapping up the Lavant luxury that is the Earl of March.  Lucky for me, it’s not that long a drive – took me a couple of hours from Tring – and that’s perfect for a sneaky weekend away on the coast (right, Mr C?).

The Muddy Verdict

Great for: treating yourself – or, better still, being treated to a fab dinner out, celebrations, hot dates, birthdays, anniversaries, that sort of thing.

Not so great for: well, there is a very well-thought-out children’s menu (for Mini Gastronauts!) but I’m not sure I’d take mine there necessarily – although possibly for Sunday lunch.  If they’ve been very good.

£££: on the main menu, starters range between £8 and £15, with mains starting at about £15 and heading up to £23 for the loin of venison.  Puds are between £6 and £9.  The Set Menu, only available at lunch, sits at £19.50 for 2 courses, or £21.50 for 3.  There are some bar food choices, too, and sandwiches for between £7 and £10.50.

Review from “RetrEAT”

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PicMonkey Collage 2

‘Can We? Shall We? One day very soon, let us go away together just you and me. Can We? Shall We? Call in sick one day and travel to the sea and hold hands all day. Can We? Shall We? Eat our sandwiches on the train, get drunk on fresh air and come home tired and never tell anyone…. Ever.’

There is something so indulgent about taking an impromptu day off and heading off somewhere you know you won’t bump into someone you know. So when The Earl of March invited me down to their countryside coaching inn, near Goodwood, it seemed a perfect opportunity to do that.

There are many places to explore and walk en route or near The Earl of March but my recommendation would be a refreshing visit to the amazing West Wittering beach (an expanse of sandy beach) or an explore of the neighbouring Kingley Vale – a national nature reserve. There’s also any of the walks listed here.

We opted for a stop off in Arundel and a walk along the river before heading back to the A27 to complete our journey. You’d be forgiven for thinking the areas around the A27 might be slightly bland as the journey along it is just that but actually as we pulled off and past Goodwood we were really quite blown away by how gorgeous it was.

The Earl of March itself sits just before Lavant, a small village which is the gateway for the southern side of the South Downs. What was so nice about it was the unbroken link to the countryside – the only thing separating you from the field of high grass is a minimal fence so you really get a sense of English countryside which is only heightened by the biplanes taking off from Goodwood airstrip. You can see how William Blake was inspired to write the words to Jerusalem sitting at the back window of the pub in 1803. We chose to eat our meal inside despite the weather being rather wonderful, but instead decided to move outside after the main for coffee and dessert. I’m not sure what it is for me with eating hot food outside, unless it’s barbecued it doesn’t seem right somehow! The staff were really accommodating and jiggled a few things around so I was able to have the dog sat with us while being near a window (for both photos and views purposes).

The Earl of March is owned by Giles Thompson, a charming countryman who was previously the executive chef at The Ritz and has 2 AA rosettes and an RAC award under his belt from his time at Danesfield House. On chatting to Giles, you get the sense the local area is held in his heart and the pub being a hub of the community is really important to him. The pub still has such a sense of the traditional coaching inn of it’s former life at the bar but with a comfortable, light dining area also.

The food at The Earl is incredible – fine out dining where the portions are actually generous! And there was a real sense of the countryside about all the food we ate – they source everything locally and the food also reflects the seasons. I could really imagine coming here in the winter and hunkering down in front of one of the fires with a haunch of venison.

But this time I chose a starter of Pan Fried Pigeon Breast, Braised Chicory, Beetroot and Horseradish Pistachio Pastille. I’d never eaten pigeon before but it has definitely got me hooked – rich and deeply pink it melted in my mouth and was perfectly complimented by the other elements of the dish. My fellow diner (Suzanne) chose Steamed Mussels in Cider & Parsley Cream and the gorgeous bread left over from before our starter was appreciated by both of us as we mopped up the remaining sauce once all the mussels had gone – it would have been a crime to leave it, it was buttery, creamy and delicious.

My main, with my weakness for samphire and salsify, could be no other than South Coast Stone Bass, Roast Salsify, Sweetcorn, Warm Samphire Potato Salad and Cockle Butter. The skin of the bass was ohh and ahh inducingly crisp and the sweetcorn was an unexpectedly brilliant addition to the meal. My companion chose Pan Roast Breast of Duck, Thyme Poached Carrots, Pickled Pear, Wild Mushroom Polenta with Kale & Chestnut which really was quite incredible (we of course tasted each other’s dishes!) – a forkful of beauty!

We both commented on how the food felt really down to earth (especially on the stoneware plates) while being very cleverly crafted for flavours that perfectly complement each other. I also had a great chat with the assistant manager about the local wines and gin – he was clearly very passionate and even bought us a glass of the Blanc de Blanc from Tinwood to try which really was pretty special. It was all topped off by a slice of sticky toffee pud with salted caramel sauce and a coffee in the garden which was the perfect end to a wonderfully indulgent few hours enjoying the view from this brilliant countryside gem.

Had we more time we perhaps would have considered what was on at the close by Chichester Festival Theatre (for which the Earl offers a pre theatre menu) or even picked up the Centurion Way which the pub sits right on for a post lunch ramble or cycle (I have my eye on this circular ride) but it’s solidly on the list of things to do as I can’t wait to return.

So, whether you go this weekend, or you treat yourself to a cheeky day off, the Earl of March is a perfect retreat that encompasses amazing food, excellent staff, gorgeous location and an honest interior. If you have kids there’s plenty of room for them to roam and dogs are welcome in the bar and garden. Go check out the menus on the website and get planning a visit to Lavant.


Review From “Bakes, Book And My Boys”

By | News, Reviews

It’s not often being gluten free that you can head out for dinner and head to somewhere unique. Unfortunately these days it seems to be the chain restaurants that are heading up the allergy free food. However not you’ll be happy to know if you live in Sussex!

The Earl of March is a beautiful country pub restaurant with views over the gorgeous South Downs and Goodwood. In fact one my favourite poems – Jerusalem was written by William Blake sitting in the rooms looking out over these gorgeous views. It’s easy to see what inspired him!

The views alone require a visit I think but just wait until you’ve sampled the food. I was happily assured by their staff that the chef wouldn’t need any prior warning and could make whatever I ordered up gluten free on the day. The Earl of March was taken over by Giles Thompson in 2007 (former executive head chef at the Ritz) and his dishes shine through with talent. Simple but amazingly scrumptious they are full of flavour and beautifully presented.

Incredibly family friendly we turned up with our two boys and were greeted with smiles all evening by the staff and fellow customers. Immediately they bought out bread to starve off their hunger and were quick on the ordering. Determined to try the full range we all ordered something different and in all honestly were swept away at each mouthful – boys included. Their meals were simple but perfect! They chose from the mini gastronauts fabulous tasting sausages with mash or Chicken breasts with chips. Wonderfully delicious and perfect sizing for growing boys!

We however decide to choose their set menu (£19.50 for 2 courses of 3 for £21.50) and started off with Pork Rillettes. Beautifully done with red wine poached pears, celeriac & cornichons and topped with toasted hazelnuts each mouthful was full of flavour. Incredibly tasty it was the perfect way to start.

My husband then went for mussels and I went for the Roast Pave of Local Cod, with bacon parsley & corn crumb with a warm samphire & potato salad. The mussels were amazing, in a beautiful sauce accompanied with chips and bread to soak up the sauce I think I might just revisit for these alone!

The cod was cooked to perfection and melted in your mouth. Cooked to perfection it flaked under fork and the added flavours just tipped it over. Perfect and of course gluten free!

Dessert next and we both went for the crumble. Pear, blackberry & almond crumble with Lemon sorbet. Rather than a boring oat topping for my gluten free dessert they produced a beautiful nut topping which tasted divine against the fruits and lemon sorbet just stopped it being too rich.

A stunningly simple but gorgeous meal every bite had been cooked to perfection. The beautiful food aside the staff were fabulous, double checking the allergies for us at every turn, they were great with boys who were never left to get bored and the clientele were great too. I also noticed as were leaving around the corner towards the bar they had cushy seats with a range of books to borrow while you ate there or popped in.

We will most definitely be back whether it’s for a light snack or a just because meal! The prices were reasonable especially when you consider who the chef was, lovely service and wonderful food. An all-round fantastic gluten free friendly restaurant! 5 stars!

Review From “Live Life Love Cake”

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The Earl of March, Lavant, West Sussex

We’d been invited to The Earl of March, country pub and restaurant in Lavant, West Sussex and as it was on our ‘must do’ list, how could we refuse? It is owned and run byGiles Thompson the former Executive Head Chef of The Ritz in London. It specialises in game and seafood, as it is a country pub but is also close to the sea.

We booked a table for 7pm and there were already a few customers finishing their meals, as they’d obviously come for the set menu which is available between 12 – 2 and 5 – 7pm and is great value, 2 & 3 courses for a reasonable price.

The Earl of March has a very nice ambience indeed. It was warm and cosy with cream walls, low ceilings, softly lit with down-lights and candles and light music played in the background. Upon the walls were black and white photos of Spitfires and other old aircraft as well as vintage cars, as it’s not too far from Goodwood Aerodrome and racing circuit.

We were warmly welcomed and served by two very nice ladies throughout the evening. A jug of water was placed on the table straight away along with the wine and food menus. There was also a chalk board showing a good selection of specials. The haggis sounded great and so too did the surf & turf.

We were given a selection of bread served with spreadable butter. Fresh brown bread plus a few slices of tasty focaccia with rosemary, which was excellent. Geoff was very pleased with his starter the French onion soup, which was quite thick with lots of onions and topped off with a large crouton with melted Gruyère cheese. Geoff’s not a fan of cheese but ate the lot and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I order the Tartin of roast red onion & beetroot with goat’s cheese ice-cream for my starter. This was presented really well. Chunks of cooked white beetroot, tiny cubes of carrot jelly, candied nuts which were nice and sweet, as was the onion tart. On the top of the tart was the goats cheese ice-cream – this was still a little hard and frozen unfortunately but was still very nice and it went very well with the sweetness of the tart.

Geoff had the sirloin steak, hand cut chips, grilled field mushroom and tomatoes and garlic butter. The steak was superb. Tender, juicy and lean. The only disappointment were the chips which tasted of nothing. It was a shame as they looked quite crispy.

I chose the slow roast shoulder of Southdown lamb, crispy sweetbreads, roast roots, Anna potatoes, Port wine jus. This dish was so tasty. The lamb was very tender and just fell apart, the Anna potatoes were not unlike Dauphinoise potatoes but without the cheese sauce. The sweetbread was in a crispy breadcrumb but I’m afraid they were too chewy for me, although Geoff ate the half I gave to him. The thick slice of roasted parsnip was nice and soft and the jus was rich, sticky and to die for.

Geoff enjoyed his dessert which was mulled berry crumble and ice-cream. The berries had a lovely sharpness to them.

Of course, I went for the triple chocolate brownie as I adore chocolate. This was served with a few large berries, chocolate sauce, some sort of soil and some micro celery leaves to garnish. The brownie was delicious and served slightly warm with the centre oozing out. Thetoffee & honeycomb ice-cream was tasty too. I’m rather a connoisseur on brownies and I gave it 9/10.

We enjoyed a nice bottle of Tempranillo Rioja with our meal and after our desserts we each had an espresso. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and we were comfortably full.

The lounge area looked very comfortable and cosy with leather sofas and an open fire. Magazines and books are available to read and also dominoes and playing cards if you fancied a game. At the rear of the restaurant is a large garden and outdoor seating area which over-looks the pretty countryside. The Earl of March can be hired for weddings and private parties. It’s on the Midhurst Road and is only a few minutes drive away from Chichester if you want some retail therapy, a country walk at West Dean Gardens, a spot of history at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum (both in the opposite direction) and of course, Goodwood.

Ambience – 9

Value – 7

Service – 9

Quality – 8 (because of the chips)

Living life, loving cake,

A x