Charlotte Harding gets a taste of the sea in the heart of Chichester.
Chichester Harbour Hotel has had something of a revamp.
The Jetty is a light and airy restaurant with a beautiful chandelier so our expectations for a good night were high.
But I have always been of the opinion that in such an opulent surrounding the portion sizes are on the less is more side.
How wrong I was.
As my husband Denis and I settled down in a sumptuous corner booth with the menu we were awash with choices and decided to order a couple of bits from the ‘jetty bites’ while we figured out what we wanted.
On the recommendation of our server we went for the tempura prawns (£2 each) and tempura vegetables (£4.50) both served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce.
The batter for both was crispy with the sauce adding a little heat but overall sweetness.
“There is a really interesting selection of vegetables that you wouldn’t usually have like peppers and courgettes,” said Denis. “It is a great way to whet the appetite.”
And a good start while we debated over
the menu. With the starters I was tempted by many of the dishes including the crab Benedict (£8.50) with crab meat served on a toasted muffin, with soft poached egg, and the jetty sashimi (£10.50) with sea bass, tuna, wasabi dressing, scallop with wasabi, miso pickled ginger, keta, soy and Asian salad.
I went for Alex’s twice baked cheese souffle (£8.50) with added lobster bisque sauce (£3.50) a creamy cheese souffle baked twice with a cheese crust.
It was divine, light as a feather and packed full of cheese it was perfectly matched with the lobster bisque which added a slightly salty fishy edge.
Across the table Denis finally settled on the tuna and avocado (£10.50).
Seared rare, it came with an avocado and wasabi ice cream cone, black sand, seaweed and radish salad.
“The tuna was cooked perfectly,” he said.
“It was like cutting through butter and I couldn’t get enough of the salad it was sticky, sweet and moreish.
“The ice cream was a really nice touch and surprisingly fiery but helped bring the whole dish together.”
With two courses under our belt we were excited about the mains.
Denis was immediately taken by the duck and squid (£19.95), which saw a breast of duck served with squid stuffed with a slow cooked duck leg, salt and pepper crispy squid and wilted ruby chard.
“As soon as I saw it on the menu I thought it looked appetising,” he explained.
“The duck was pink but had a crispy coating, while the duck leg stuffed in the squid was salty but soft to cut through.
“It was a really well balanced meal, it was varied and fresh.”
My main was the fish and chips, with two options to choose from either the haddock (£15) or cod fillet with crab croquette (£17.50) I went for the latter.
A sustainably sourced fillet of fish, it is in gluten free batter with fat chips, crushed peas and tartare sauce.
All I can say is “wow.”
With two portions of fish and the crab croquette I was astounded by how much was on the plate.
I have had fish and chips in some places, where you get four chips, a teaspoon of peas and a piece of fish that could pass for an anchovy. Not here.
The chips were fluffy on the inside and could easily be shared between two depending on how full you are.
Again the batter was crispy while the fish flaked at the mere touch of the fork. It wasn’t greasy at all but light and filling,.
The crab croquette was packed full of meat and was a delicious addition to the plate. The peas were fresh and added depth to the dish.
Suitably fit to burst once our mains were cleared away, we couldn’t resist at least a peek at the dessert menu. There were so many to choose, from the espresso martini sabayon with stracciatella ice cream and almond biscuit (£6.50).
Or the gingerbread and boozy plums with creme fraiche ice cream (£6.50).
Although we knew we shouldn’t we decided the best option was to share so we went for the peanut butter parfait with salted toffee popcorn crunch and toasted marshmallows (£6.50).
Again the portion size didn’t disappoint.
For the peanut butter lovers, the parfait was perfection.
It was sweet and salty and was refreshing to have. And it went down surprisingly well considering the amount we had already eaten. The popcorn added another texture while the toasted marshmallow added something different.
All in all we had a delightful meal .
And we are already planning another visit to sample all the things we missed this time at the Chichester Harbour Hotel.
Chichester Harbour Hotel, North Street, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1NH. For the restaurant call 01243 778000 or to view the website, visit www.chichester-harbour-hotel.co.uk
This is in the April edition of etc Magazine, pick up your copy now.