The Richmond Arms – a Fork to Field Menu from the Goodwood Estate:
Ten years ago I would have hesitated to dine alone. I spent several years travelling around Europe on business and generally I ordered room service rather than sit in a hotel dining room by myself. Luckily for the most part I was treated very hospitably by the businesses I was visiting and seldom needed to do so. Now though, I’ve come to rather enjoy the experience of dining alone. It gives me a chance to take as many pictures as I want without upsetting anyone else and means that I can concentrate on what I am eating rather than making conversation.
When I arrived for dinner at the Richmond Arms the restaurant was quiet. The hotel offers a formal menu in the Richmond Arms and a more casual all-day dining experience in the Bar and Grill together with the option for hotel guests to use The Kennels, normally only open to Goodwood club members but a little way from the main hotel building All the restaurants focus on making the most of substantial produce from the Goodwood Estate, including vegetables, meat, dairy produce and fruits. I tried my best to pick dishes that would showcase some of that, although I’m rather sad now that I didn’t pick the pork or beef from the menu, or for that matter try the cheese. It wasn’t until the Goodwood Estate farm tour on the next day that I realised a little more about the specialities of the Estate. Like the sheep (there was no lamb or mutton on the menu in January) both pork and beef are rare breeds that have then been crossed to produce meat that retains plenty of flavour but suit the modern palate in terms of fat content. The beef is grass fed organic deep-red Sussex and the pork free range, organic Gloucester old spot.
Goodwood breads to start turned out to be an assortment of flat breads with a collection of home made accompaniments (tapenade, salsa and oil with aged balsamic). A lovely way to begin the meal.
An amuse bouche of venison jus appeared, reassuring me that my main choice would indeed be a good one.
White bean veloute arrived in two parts, the chorizo and foraged wild mushrooms served in a bowl which was dressed at the table with a frothy veloute that complemented the bowl perfectly, bringing the flavours together with a creamy texture.
The venison was a sublime dish of perfectly cooked meat with a garnish of sprout tops, wild mushrooms and braised red cabbage. Generous portion sizes meant that I really didn’t need sides, although I would have been tempted to order the pomme dauphine or the dripping chips if I’d been dining with someone else. Of course I could have ordered the beef fillet, which comes with the dripping chips and a garnish of watercress and horseradish butter. There’s always next time…
For dessert, I ordered a chocolate and matcha dish. But, the chef had just started offering a rhubarb plate and wanted to get some feedback.
A delicate and beautifully presented plate of rhubarb with a little nutty crumble, a tiny portion of pistachio cream and the lightest of sugar topping was actually not a bad ‘extra’.
The chocolate matcha plate was visually beautiful and well balanced with the piquant matcha helping to lift what might otherwise have been a refined take on death by chocolate.
Coffee came with petit fours – tiny, home made delicacies that I could have skipped dessert altogether for…although, now I’ve tried I know I won’t be doing that.
I would have liked to see wine suggestions against the menu dishes and perhaps a little more about the food that I was being served. It’s special and deserves to be shouted about. But, perhaps the very English nature of the venue has led to such reticence. The Richmond Arms has a good wine list with a reasonable selection of wines by the glass with bottles from around £23. Main courses are around £20 and starters from £6.50 to £14.00. There are special offers for dinner bed and breakfast available from the website.
Many thanks to Goodwood Hotel for their hospitality. I stayed as a guest of the hotel.
The Goodwood Hotel,
West Sussex, PO18 0QB
T: 01243 775537