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Review: Muddy visits Fork, Lewes

A small boutique restaurant offering outstanding food in the heart of Lewes, Fork is building a great reputation with locals.

THE LOWDOWN 

Since re-opening post lockdowns, Fork’s new chefs Andrew and Adam, (both classically trained and having worked at Sussex stalwarts Drakes and Ashdown Forest Hotel respectively), have stepped up with fresh ideas and upscale menu presentation. It’s top-end cuisine hasn’t diminished it’s friendly vibe though, and we couldn’t wait to sample the scoff!

THE VIBE 

Situated on Station Road, the traditional looking exterior was attractively lit to welcome you in and the place was nicely buzzing.  Walking inside jazz music greeted you giving a relaxed atmosphere and the long narrow restaurant with minimalist décor extended through to the back to a cute courtyard with tables for summer dining.

There’s a rather impressive open steel kitchen down one side, where the chefs busied themselves preparing all the local produce right in front of you. It was a mix of locals and those from further afield when we visited – couples on date nights and small groups celebrating birthdays.  

The décor is neutral with light wooden walls, modern tables and chairs.  The best tables are either at the front with its original window or tucked away at the back. In good weather you might want to reserve the outside courtyard to eat alfresco or if you were looking for a cool private group dining experience.

Service was friendly, thoughtful and couldn’t welcome us enough. The manager and staff were attentive without being fussy and offered us complimentary nibbles while we waited. 

SCOFF & QUAFF 

Having dined in Lewes a few times before, the food here will be the biggest draw for locals.  This chef has finesse – every plate’s presentation is high-end restaurant standard, using only locally sourced Sussex and Kent produce, original flavours and fabulous textures to make dining out a real experience.  

The menu is modern English, and I was pleased to see a great range; from ‘BBQ’ Ham Hock Terrine to Royal Oak Swede Tart Tatin, and Pollock as their Fish of the day (caught at Newhaven) to Guinea Fowl ‘Provencal’. We were offered nibbles of Arancini Beetroot croquette (flavoursome, light and fluffy with a nice bit of crunch), and for starters we ordered Chard Asparagus, Sussex Blue cheese bonbon and potato dressing (light and gorgeously cheesy!) and their ever-popular Crispy Asian Cod (a complete triumph).

For mains we plumped for the Salt Baked Celeriac ‘Steak’, with Red Leicester rarebit, garlic and pea velouté and Bolney Sussex Spring Lamb Rump with spring pea, garlic confit potato and gem fondue. Both were great generous portions and beautifully presented with delicate presentation touches.

Dessert was Blood orange mousse, chocolate cremeux , feuillantine, blood orange sorbet (smooth and tangy) and Passionfruit & Cardamon Tart with passionfruit cremeux, burnt meringue (melt in the mouth and zingy sweet flavours ) to round off the meal. 

The two or three course lunch menu looked pretty impressive, and I’d imagine presented to the same high standard.

The wine menu showcased some local Muddy faves Albourne and Wiston Sussex Estate and many you’d enjoy exploring from around the world including Italian Terra di Chieti D’Abruzzo, French Chablis and German Pinot Noir, with prices from £24 to £65.

OUT & ABOUT 

Catch world class opera at nearby Glyndebourne

Did you know that the district of Lewes was once home to the Bloomsbury group and the setting for the Battle of Lewes? The area is steeped in history and culture with historic country houses, a Norman Castle and the former home of Virginia Woolf at Charleston to visit. There’s also world-class opera at Glyndebourne, indie cinemas and a wealth of small art galleries and quirky museums to browse.

The stunning gardens at Charleston

THE MUDDY VERDICT 

GOOD FOR: Treating yourself for a fabulous yet informal lunch or dinner with your partner or friends, and special celebrations if you are looking for something intimate, welcoming and not too showy.  

NOT FOR: This is a small and sophisticated restaurant with all the food made to order, so not ideal for larger boisterous groups. Although there is no specific kids menu they could accommodate smaller portions, but this is perhaps one to enjoy without the little un’s in tow.

THE DAMAGE: 

I would say this is at the slightly more premium end of gastro dining pricing but worth it for the quality. Set menu is £35 for two courses and £45 for 3 courses. 

Review: Kerry Yates

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