East Sussex National Hotel ~ Pavilion Restaurant…A Michelin Style Dining Experience.

February 19, 2017

Michelin Star Restaurants are an elite selection of fine dining establishments. They are awarded stars to denote the level of exceptional cuisine ranging from one to three stars. The Michelin Guide suggests that a restaurant of one star is worth trying if it’s on your journey. Restaurants with two stars are defined as being worthy of a detour, and those awarded with three stars representing the highest level of cooking and worth a journey in their own right. Obviously these restaurants are often booked up weeks, if not months in advance. As parents of 4 young children my husband and I find eating out at all, never mind experiencing the luxury of a Michelin Starred restaurant, a rare treat. 

Hotel, Sussex, Uckfield
The Entrance to the East Sussex National Hotel
We are fortunate enough to live just a couple of miles from the East Sussex National Resort and Spa. The Pavilion Restaurant, part of the resort, is a relaxing and stylish venue with fantastic views sweeping towards the South Downs. We dine here occasionally…and always find the experience a real gastronomical treat. I started asking myself, as it’s unlikely we’ll be visiting any genuine Michelin Starred Restaurant’s in the immediate future….could our local Pavilion Restaurant be worthy of the award? 

Sussex, hotel, restaurant, East Sussex, view, Sussex downs, Uckfield, lewes
The Pavilion Restaurant with views towards the South Downs

We recently stayed at the East Sussex Hotel and dined on their Market Menu. Whilst we have found the service inconsistent in other areas of the resort, the service and attention we receive in the restaurant is always exemplary. We are greeted by an efficient M’aitre D who is able to direct us to our table. The table is laid with linen table cloth and serviettes which are placed on our laps as we are seated. We are offered drinks and water and left for a short period to browse the menu. The Market Menu offers a set menu as part of the stay but we always find the food to be of an exceptional standard. We are offered a choice of three options for each course, between us we choose devilled crab, ham hock pressing, chicken breast with King oyster mushrooms and dark chocolate tart. 

Our starters arrive within minutes of placing our orders. My devilled crab on sourdough with lime, chilly and mango coriander tastes fresh and zesty. The serving of crab is ample with a subtle taste of the sea; the mango, lime and chilly adding a little kick of vibrancy to the dish. Matt went for the ham hock pressing with piccalilli purée, black pudding bonbon and pea shoot. This dish is beautifully presented. The saltiness of both the ham and black pudding complimented by the refreshing piccalilli and pea. 

Crab, mango, sourdough, restaurant, Sussex, Uckfield, food
Devilled Crab on Sourdough
ham hock, black pudding, food, Sussex, restaurant, Michelin
Ham Hock Pressing with Black Pudding Bonbon

We both opt for the chicken breast, chilly lemon, coriander and honey glaze served with King oyster mushroom, sun dried tomato and watercress. The chicken is gently chargrilled but with subtle Asian flavours mixed in. The King oyster mushrooms a surprisingly satisfying alternative to a potato accompaniment. We agree that whilst the dish isn’t heavy it leaves us happily fulfilled. 

Chicken, chicken breast, mushroom, tomato, food, Sussex
Chicken Breast with King Oyster Mushrooms and Sun Dried Tomato

To finish the meal off we were served an incredible serving of dark chocolate tart with milk ice cream and roasted coco nibs. The crispy roasted coco added a hint of toffee treacle. The tart light but perfectly dark with the milk ice cream taking the edge off the chocolate bitterness. A dreamy combination and the perfect finale. 

Dark Chocolate Tart

 As ever the entire dining experience was a luxurious treat. From the venue to the standard of service; the presentation of each course to the careful blend of flavours in each dish. Sadly I can’t compare the Pavilion Restaurant to a Michelin starred experience directly, as I’ve yet to dine in one of their elite venues, but this experience is certainly luxury to me….and worth a detour! If you would like to experience dining at the Pavilion Restaurant at the East Sussex National you can book a table directly through bookatable.co.uk

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