Sussex is the fifth restaurant from the Gladwin Brothers, perhaps the most notable being Rabbit in Chelsea and The Shed in Notting Hill. Then there is The Fat Badger in Richmond and The Black Lamb in Wimbledon, with a lot of the produce sourced directly from the family farm in West Sussex, as well as some of the wines from their boutique vineyard and winery in Nutbourne, such as their superb Nutty Vintage Sparkling Wine we enjoyed with our Mushroom Marmite Éclair appetiser, which has the most delicious creamy filling which I hasten to add, tastes nothing like Marmite!
The rustic restaurant itself appears to be hidden away as you walk through the main entrance into the bar area, as the bright, cosy dining area is located around the corner, adjacent the bar with a large almost floor to ceiling window at the far end that lets in plenty of daylight onto the black-painted half-wood panelling, wooden tables and comfy banquettes and chairs.
We were at Sussex to try their three-course Pre-Theatre Wellington Set Menu for two, which is priced at £48 per person. Call it four courses if you want to include that tasty Éclair.
You have a choice of two starters, so we had one of each so we could try them both which I would recommend. The Citrus and Gin-Cured Chalkstream Trout comes with a citrus gel, dill emulsion and some trout roe and compliments the Cobble Lane Cured Meats with pickles and crispbread perfectly, and set us up well for the main event, which as the menu name alludes to, is a large Sussex Beef Fillet Wellington to share, wrapped in tasty puff pastry. It is accompanied with what must be the best roast potatoes we have ever had. They are jacket potatoes that are cooked and left overnight before being cut and roasted into crispy smaller wedges. The seasonal greens were perfectly cooked, and we washed it all down with an excellent bottle of Terranoble Pinot Noir Reserva, which comes from the Casablanca Valley in Chile. It pairs particularly well with beef, chicken and duck, and is light, fruity and ripe with lots of cherry fruit to it.
A mention should be given to the comprehensive wine list in fact, which has a selection of labels from not only from the family Nutbourne vineyard but also from around the world, starting from £36 a bottle and £8 a glass.
Then, if you have any room left, do try the seasonal dessert. We were served with a slice of rich dark chocolate beetroot cake that was so moreish it had to be finished, along with a double espresso which rounded off what was a rather superb meal.
I would recommend pre-ordering your Beef Wellington in advance if you think you will be rushed to make your theatre performance, as it takes 40 minutes to prepare, otherwise, just relax and soak up the atmosphere of this “Fork to Farm” country restaurant in the heart of Soho. It certainly makes a welcome change to some of the other offerings in the area and you will be well looked after by the friendly and hospitable staff.
Located in the heart of London’s West End, Sussex is just a five-minute walk from some of London’s biggest theatres, including the Prince Edward Theatre, Apollo Theatre and Soho Theatre, making it the perfect pre-theatre dining spot.
Sussex Bar & Restaurant, 63-64 Frith Street, London, W1D 3JW, England.
Tel: +44 (0)203 923 7770
Located in Soho, the closest Tube stations are either Tottenham Court Road (Central, Northern and Elizabeth lines) or Leicester Square (Northern and Piccadilly lines). The restaurant is open Monday from 5:00pm to 10:30pm, Tuesday to Friday from midday to 10:30pm and Saturday from 5:00pm to 10:30pm. The Bar is open until 11:00pm. The pre-theatre menu is available Monday to Saturday and needs to be pre-ordered.
Type of Restaurant: British Local & Wild Restaurant and Bar
Price Band: Medium to high
Insider Tip: You must try the roast potatoes!
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a former member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of Sussex Bar & Restaurant and by Simon Burrell