Crab and Lobster – Fabulous Dining and a Comfortable Stay:
The Crab & Lobster hotel and restaurant is located in the picturesque village of Sidlesham near Chichester in West Sussex which has a history steeped in Saxon lore and Viking blood. The latest incarnation of the hostelry is 350 years old and is a rather lovely wooden beam/open fireplace kind of place and I have been invited to review the hotel and restaurant for a night. I had a plan-I would start off by visiting Chichester with its glorious Cathedral, shopping and world famous theatre, then check in and have a meal at the Crab & Lobster’s two AA rosette restaurant. After a great night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast I’d clear my head with a walk down the road to Pagham Harbour nature reserve…however the weather intervened and rain stopped play…The good news is that the rooms are large, clean and comfortable, stylishly blending the traditional with the contemporary and the bed was the most comfortable I have slept on for a long time.The bathroom has a powerful shower, original wooden floors and plenty of room to loll around decoratively. With the weather as it was we worked up a healthy appetite with a brief kip and as the clock struck six headed for the bar…A perfectly executed Bloody Mary and Campari Soda later it was time to focus on the restaurant’s modern British menu-I was excited because of the emphasis on local seafood-it would have been churlish not to have crab…and lobster-but there is plenty of meat and it’s all locally sourced.Thai style Selsey crab cakes came with a mango, sesame and chilli jam. They were meaty, fresh and authentically spiced-crisp on the outside and but still moist and full-flavoured inside.Selsey Crab and Tiger prawn cocktail, baby gem, cucumber, caviar and shellfish mayonnaise was a beautifully presented deconstructed take on the 1970s classic. The crab was a subtle mix of white and brown meat.With a grown-up wine list and 30 wines by the glass there is plenty of choice at a variety of price points. We opted for the José Pariente Bodegas dos Victorias, Verdejo, DO Rueda Superior 2013. It was crisp, grassy and citrus with a good body and well-balanced acidity. The highlight of the meal for me was the 1/2 Selsey lobster with black garlic butter, house salad and hand cut chips. The lobster was tender and oozing sweetness from the butter and black garlic.Some really fresh John Dory came with herb new potatoes, seasonal greens and lemon caper butter. The deliciously crisp skin was a little over-salted but otherwise this was a perfect summer dish.Stem ginger treacle tart with clotted cream ice cream was something of a revelation. The tart was lovely and loose tart with the spiciness of the ginger offset by the coolness of the ice cream and the sweetness of the fruit.Vanilla yoghurt terrine, honey roasted figs, honeycomb and hazelnut granola was a beautifully constructed exercise in textural contrast and gradations of sweetness.The great thing about staying overnight in a place with great food is that you have breakfast to look forward to on the next day. The Crab and Lobster has a breakfast selection of fruit juice, yoghurt, fruit, cereals or muesli, tea or coffee, toast and preserves followed by a hot dish. The smoked salmon and eggs on a toasted muffin and poached natural smoked haddock with a free-range poached egg were simply presented and perfectly executed.The Crab and Lobster is perfectly located if you are visiting Arundel, Chichester, the races at Fontwell or just want to mooch around the south coast. The restaurant makes it a destination in its own right especially if you are a lover of seafood!
A night’s stay for two at the Crab and Lobster on BB basis costs from £165. A night’s stay for two in Crab Cottage on BB basis costs from £280. Main meals in the restaurant start form £16.50, starters from £6.75 and desserts from £6.95. For more information please visit http:/www.crab-lobster.co.uk or call 01243 641233.