Home Food & DrinkRestaurants Get local and wild at the unique Sussex Restaurant in Soho

Get local and wild at the unique Sussex Restaurant in Soho

by Rachel Blackmore
Sussex Restaurant

Some years ago, I used to live in Sussex – Lewes to be specific – and this may have affected my preconceptions about Sussex restaurant in Soho. When it comes to food, I associate Lewes (a town fond of tradition and the kind of gentle weirdness at which Britain excels), and Sussex more generally, with the local, the hearty and the creative. It’s actually a fitting name for this Soho establishment, where Chef Director Oliver Gladwin showcases what is locally farmed, foraged and hunted, and finds inspiration in the best of seasonal ingredients when creating his menus.

We arrived on a wintery night, stepping out of the cold air into an immediately warm and welcoming dining space at Sussex restaurant in the heart of Soho. Lighting is pleasantly dim, décor is a mix of British brasserie and art deco with unobtrusive music and an island where the cheese begins eyeing you up from the first five minutes. More on that later.

Sussex Restaurant

Dining at Sussex Restaurant

We were shown to our table and presented with a glass of Nutty Vintage 2018, from Nutbourne Vineyards (in Sussex, obviously). Light and elegant, it was the perfect start as we perused the menu and ordered a couple of sharing nibbles: the shallot dip was excellent and the caraway crispbread a delightful twist, but why must chefs persist in serving things in threes to parties of two or four? We almost fell out over meticulously splitting the third Iron Age boar chipolata, which is a testament to the quality of the food, if not the serving choices.

The menu at Sussex restaurant, one of which was individually edited for Charlotte to exclude dishes containing her allergies, is constantly changing, but mostly features European dishes. Charlotte opted for ricotta and spinach ravioli with truffle oil, vinaigrette and hazelnuts, while I chose beef carpaccio with wild herb dressing and pickled girolles. Both dishes might have benefited from a little refinement (thinner pasta, thinner carpaccio), but the accompanying Nutbourne Vineyards Bacchus 2020 was a good match, with a tartness that brought the food alive.

Sussex Restaurant
Sussex Restaurant

For the main course, Charlotte chose the venison and found it perfectly cooked, paired with a silky artichoke puree, charred baby leek and cherry jus to balance the dish. My dish was a little more of a puzzle; listed as langoustine bisque, cockles, ravioli and wild leeks, I was expecting a punchy flavoured sauce from the shells and maybe some meat, given that there was no other langoustine on the menu that day that would contribute its carcass to a bisque. When I enquired whether the langoustine was in the ravioli or the bisque, was told the pasta contained ‘sea beetroot’.

It was only later, speaking to the excellent manager Rachael, that I discovered this was an error and it was in fact the same spinach and ricotta ravioli which had appeared in Charlotte’s starter. Portions at Sussex restaurant are a good size, but we had sensibly also ordered truffle and pecorino potatoes, which were very well salted and full of flavour. The wine was a Montagny Premier Cru Burgundy 2020 from Maison Jaffelin, which was an excellent accompaniment, given that a light hand on the seasoning meant the flavours of the dishes were quite subtle.

Main Sussex Restaurant
Sussex Restaurant

We rounded off the dinner with a selection of the British cheeses that we had been admiring throughout the dinner (and nervously watching decrease in size!). A Lincolnshire Poacher, Bath Soft and a goat cheese were served with Sussex honey, crispbreads and a homemade chutney and we were not disappointed! We finished with a forced rhubarb frangipane tart which was very typically British and the perfect way to end the meal with its delicate Bakewell style crust and sweet filling, complemented by a tangy rhubarb ice cream.

Dessert Sussex Restaurant e1679827112853

Why is Sussex restaurant special?

It’s true that Sussex restaurant doesn’t just source its ingredients from Sussex, but there is something undeniably Sussexy – perhaps undeniably British – about this restaurant, from the lively mixed clientele to the quietly eclectic décor to the charmingly puzzled staff. In a world where we are all increasingly trying to make choices that are wholesome and sustainable, Sussex restaurant’s concept of eating ‘local and wild’ is a step in the right direction. It’s a unique find in Soho and it unashamedly celebrates the best of British produce with a creative twist and great enthusiasm; this palpable pride is something which – unlike many of its other features – might be quite un-British…

Sussex Restaurant
63-64 Frith Street
United Kingdom


  • Rachel Blackmore

    As a child, Rachel began a lifelong love affair with words; she has been known to eat several whole ones after wine-fuelled debate. A passion for learning has led her to acquire Masters degrees in both English and Education, and she continues to pursue her interests through school-based ERC-funded research and writing fiction. With Dutch, Irish and Indonesian heritage, she loves travelling, experiencing different cultures and trying to learn new languages. Rachel is intrigued by anything unusual and sometimes gets so excited about food that she neglects to take a photo.

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