Taking a step outside of the hectic city system, and escaping the tourists as they pile in for the long, summer season, transforming the tiny streets of Brighton into a chaotic mayhem, is something all of us city-dewellers revel in once in a while.
Tucked away, just a couple of miles out of the city is Stanmer Park, a beautiful woodland, filled with walks and open lands, where Proud Country House is situated amongst the natural surroundings.
Built in the 18th Century for the Pelham Family, Proud Country House has been restored and modernised, with a large garden, marque and seating area outside. On the inside, the large, high ceiling rooms, are filled with cosy tables and sofa areas, offering a range of seasonal produce and dishes to feast upon.
With the summer weather in full swing (at least temporarily), we hit up the opportunity to try out the Spring/Summer menu from Source.
The latest menu incorporates all of the best seasonal, and local produce Sussex has on offer. Source has a ‘farm to fork’ concept, using all of the best local produced including meats, fish and freshly-grown produce. All of which is from a twenty mile radius of the restaurant.
Arriving on the warmest day of the year so far, we eagerly ordered a large glass of their ‘Spinnaker White’, from Robertson, South Africa, priced at £7.95 per glass. Perfect for a warm spring lunchtime.
The restaurant echoes British traditions, with both the menu, and the stunning formal decor, replicating the 18th Century style, with a slightly modern tweak. With the sun shining, the restaurant area was on the quieter side, while the garden was filled with families and couples enjoying the weather.
Still being early, we decided to go straight to mains. Being an avid lover of halloumi, I decided to opt for the Harissa Spiced Halloumi and Smokey Aubergine Tower, and my friend went with the Sussex Beef and Carrots Pie Pastry and Stew option.
The food arrived in good time. The halloumi and aubergine tower, a layering of red, yellow, and green roasted peppers, juicy roasted aubergine and tomato, and lightly spiced halloumi. All of which was warmed, and layered in-between a red onion marmalade adding a touch sweetness, against the salty cheese. The tower was accompanied by a seasoned salad of iceberg lettuce, cucumber, tomato, raw broad beans, carrot, pickled ribbons of cucumber, topped with blackcurrants, and a basket of skinny fries. The summery mixture all accompanied one another delicately, and perfect for a vegetarian on a warm summers afternoon.
The Pie Pastry and Stew offers a choice of three fillings: Sussex Beef and Carrots, South Down Lamb Navarin, or Pork, Apple and Cider stew, all topped with a traditional short pastry filler. My partner opted for the beef and carrots stew, filled with seasonal vegetables including carrots, peas and courgette. The gravy was on the thinner side, so a spoon is definitely required, however adding chunks of the pastry helped mop up the juices. All of which was served in a medium sized bowl, topped with the pastry. As both lovers of anything pastry related, the short crust topper did not disappoint, perfectly flaky and buttery smooth. Although perhaps seen as a more winter style dish, it would be a great alternative for a cooler summers day.
Of course, what’s a lunch-out without dessert right? And every time I see a brownie on the menu, I can’t help but pick it out, and what’s best is that it was completely vegan! We decided to share the Raw Chocolate Brownie, with every vegan’s favourite ice-cream, Booja Booja vanilla style, and a bowl of refreshing mango and blackcurrant sorbet to cleanse our palettes. Both of which were perfect to finish with.
Source at Proud Country House is open seven days a week, offering a delicious range of seasonal dishes to enjoy, while taking in the beautiful countryside scenery.
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