Restaurant Review: Gravetye Manor, Sussex

Ben Brown
Ben Brown
Jan 14, 2018 · 8 min read

Location and Decor

Gravetye Manor is very much a country manor house converted into an exclusive hotel. According to the Gravetye Manor website the hotel is the original home of William Robinson who lived there from 1884 as a professional botanist and gardener. Located in the middle of a massive, 52 acre, estate, even the drive to the hotel from the main road takes about 5 minutes. If you’re looking for somewhere to get away from it all, Gravetye Manor won’t disappoint!

Gravetye Manor — Dining Room
Gravetye Manor — Lounge Area
A drink before lunch
Gravetye Manor — Drinks before Lunch

Menu

Gravetye Manor offers a number of different menus depending on what you are looking for. When we visited the restaurant had a very good value set menu at £35 for three courses for lunch, and £45 for dinner. Most of the diners we saw took up this option and it looks really great value. It even included a small amuse bouche, although overall less bells and whistles than the more expensive menus. The a-la-carte menu, priced at £70 for 3-courses offers around 6 choices per course. Finally the 7-course tasting menu is a tour-de-force of everything Gravetye Manor has to offer for £85.

Gravetye Manor — Tasting Menu
Gravetye Manor — Sourdough Bread

Tasting Menu — Starters

The meal started with the Gravetye Garden Winter Salad, a lovely combination of vegetables and flowers from the kitchen garden. This is served with a sunshine yellow, confit egg yolk (cooked slowly in fat) that bursts across the vegetables as you eat. A great start, amazingly prepared and picture perfect food!

Gravetye Garden Winter Salad
Roast Breast and Leg of Norfolk Quail

Tasting Menu — Fish

Moving onto the fish, our first course provided a cold dish of Cured Hampshire Chalk Stream Trout. Served on top of pickled beetroot, with trout roe and given an Asian finish with a dashi broth served at the table. The bright pink trout was cool and refreshing and from a flavour perspective this dish really stood out for me.

Cured Hampshire Chalk Stream Trout
Isle of Gigha Halibut

Tasting Menu — Main Course

Now we were finally onto a main course, which during these winter months is invariably venison. The Pine Smoked Roe Venison dish was Gravetye Manor estate venison, smoked locally and served up as pure meat and then an extremely rich patty made up of other cuts of the venison. The richness is offset with a sweet vegetable puree (not exactly sure what vegetable, although I’d have to guess some type of squash) and deep Chartreuse sauce and toasted seeds. The dish was a great contrast to our earlier lighter starters, very rich and full of flavour. The patty in particular was extremely rich and I’d struggle to eat much more than provided.

Pine Smoked Roe Venison

Tasting Menu — Desserts

Our first dessert was a lovely, fresh, combination of Coriander and Coconut Parfait. This was a cool, extremely tasty palate cleanser after a rich venison course and the flavours certainly left me asking for more. Presented with a number of additions, what could have been two simple quenelles of parfait was a visually beautiful, if somewhat muted, dish. My favourite dish overall (admittedly I do have a sweet tooth) and I would easily demolish a double portion!

Coriander and Coconut Parfait
Roasted Acorn Soufflé

Service

Throughout our complete experience at Gravetye Manor we always felt really well looked after. When ordering it was slightly disconcerting to see people who arrived after us in the lounge and ordered after us seated first — but we were in no rush. The table service throughout was extremely professional. The staff, overall are fairly young and most that we met appeared to be French. Perhaps to get that level of service requires going to a country famed for restaurants like Gravetye Manor. Overall we felt really well looked after, without being swamped. Its easy in somewhere of this stature to feel stuffy or out of place, but it was so relaxed throughout that this never felt like this. As it should be the service enhanced what was an exemplary cooking display.

Ambiance

We finished our meal by moving into the lounge again for coffee. As a tea drinker it was nice to see a large selection of different blends. These were all served with a small tray of jellies and chocolates — all hand-made I would guess! Sitting in the lounge in front of the roaring fire was a great end to our relaxing experience and nearly led to a quick nap after lunch.

Gravetye Manor — Open Fire
Coffee, tea and sweets

Gravetye Manor — Overall

As you can probably tell from the review, we had a great time at Gravetye Manor. I’d really love to visit after the renovations as having this same meal in a restaurant with a view would even further enhance what it has to offer. I’d also love to try the bedrooms, which I’m sure will live up to the same high-standards.

Ben Brown — My Personal Blog

A personal blog from a London based engineering leader passionate about food and travel.

Ben Brown

Written by

Ben Brown

London based Engineering Leader, Technologist and Foodie. Loves travelling and eating and blogging about it afterwards!

Ben Brown — My Personal Blog

A personal blog from a London based engineering leader passionate about food and travel.