Getting out of the city for bank holiday weekend is a clichéd but wonderful feeling. We arrive at Chichester train station after an hour and a half on the train from Victoria leaving all the rush and frantic pace of London 4 glorious days away. As chance would have it a lovely chap called John in his old London taxi collected us and drove us the less than 10 minute drive to The Earl of March. John was regaling us with stories of how the gastro-pub used to sit more in the spit and sawdust category but told us fond memories of the Jazz nights that used to go on into the small hours of a Thursday night.
The Earl of March is situated in a beautiful countryside spot with a magical garden which will really come alive in the summer, having had a whiff of the Great British Summer this weekend this is a very exciting prospect. We were warmly greeted and shown to the table that I must have changed the dates, times and number of at least seven times prior to arriving, each time they were as pleased to help as the last.
We ordered a bottle of prosecco to the table and breads and butter swiftly followed. There is a fine line between a slow pace and a relaxed pace when it comes to service and The Earl of Mach gets it just right with the cosy surroundings and overly warm staff, they certainly err on the side of relaxation.
The menu struck us as being very traditional and British pubby with classics such as fish and chips done to perfection and added modern pizzazz with elements such as champagne risotto to bring it into the desired realm. We all had exceptional starters which is often a worry because a meal needs to build and crescendo.
On the right is the scallops with black pudding which was simply divine. This combo has become something of a classic now, but done well with good quality ingredients this boat need not be rocked. To the left is the pigeon starter – is was fascinating with many intriguing elements to explore.
The champagne risotto on the left and venison to the right. The venison was perfectly pink and had rich jus to complement it perfectly. The duck egg on the Champagne Risotto really stole the show. Who knew an egg could be slow boiled for two hours to craft the most succulent gooey ness in a yolk with later learnt this is called a ‘sous-vide’ egg. We were so intrigued after interrogating the poor waiter that we Google the technique – check here if you are intrigued.
Regrettably we did have one criticism and that was of the desserts which we felt were a slightly greedy indulgence anyway but disappointing none the less. The brownie was tasty but dry and we had to summon extra sauce, naming it a biscuit would have been far fairer. The crumble was tasty and well presented and the lemon sorbet accompaniment was surprisingly good. But the crumble just lacked either the thick buttery indulgence of a traditional crumble topping or the novelty of a fun twist on a classic – the lemon wasn’t quite enough.
However overall we were over the moon to find another southern local restaurant to stand above the average pubs and predictable high street chains that have become only too familiar. This is was a welcoming yet sophisticated affair which would be appropriate for a special occasion or simply a quick dinner. Very much looking forward to seeing the garden in all its glory in the ever more quickly approaching summer months.