Friday, 23 March 2018

THE DEAN INN - West Dean, Chichester

This week it was a refresh and revisit mission. We would be heading out to The Dean Inn to see how the land lay after a change of management. Being one of the pubs in the legendary slice of pub paradise, we were expecting big things, so we saddled up and set forth.

On our way in, we passed through the garden area. It looked a wonderful place to spend a Summer afternoon, and boasted some amazing chunky wood tables. The pub has a clean and airy feel to it and the cherry was placed upon the pub cake when we were met with a cheery welcome. We collected drinks and homed in on a table, where our menu's were to be brought to us, extra points there. The first items on said menu were of particular interest. There were a handful of snacks on offer between £3 and £4.50 including ox cheek croquette, bubble and squeak rissole and fishcake bonbons. Kind of a British tapas vibe there, something we have thought a worthy idea for a few years now. I was drawn to the salted cod in crispy batter with triple cooked chips at £13.50, while Dad went right off piste and ordered two starters as a main. This is a wonderful way to get a wider sample of what is on offer.

Shortly after ordering, we were given some homemade bread and butter, that's always extra points from me, I'm anyone's for a bit of fresh crusty bread. We really didn't have to wait too long before our food arrived, and we could tell, even before taking a bite that we were in five star town. Before getting in to the food, it is important to mention the service we received. It was exemplary. Our waitress was friendly, genuine, happy and professional, effortlessly making you feel looked after but never pestered. So, back to the food. It was an interesting twist on a classic fish and chips to use the salted cod, and it stood up to the crisp batter it lived in. The chunky, triple cooked chips were a thing of beauty, and the home made tartar sauce was delicious. Dad was almost left speechless by his double starter dinner. He couldn't pick a winner from his scotch egg or squid and crab cake, all of it being amazing. He did manage to give me a useful sound bite though. "Possibly the best cooking we have come across". High praise in deed. I would have to echo his sentiments, but there was still room for one more fruity surprise. Upon paying the bill, we were treated to an orange and passion fruit pastel from the chef. It was truly divine, and a perfect end to a perfect lunch.

In short, our lunch was a gastronomic triumph. Some of the meals here might cost you a few quid more than other pubs, but believe us, it will be worth it. You are talking high quality restaurant food here. The attention to detail and the effort given to create this food is obvious to see, and if you take our advice and try it yourself, you won't be disappointed. When you throw in some homemade bread and perfect service, it's a no brainer.

Atmosphere          8
Service                 10
Food                    10
Value                   8
Verdict                 5*

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