*. All for a bit of fun ;-)
We've been doing this for the last two years now and it's just occurred to me that I've never written about any of 'em. It's not that they've all been rubbish experiences or anything like that. They just didn't seem worth writing about.
But yes. The Blacksmiths Arms is definitely a good'un.
It's a pub in Donnington just outside of Chichester which re-opened a couple of months ago after a complete renovation. One of my friends had been there a few weeks before for lunch and recommended that we try it out for our next dinner outing. And so we went.
It's slightly confusing where you walk in, as it is a short hallway, with an open doorway to the left and directly ahead of you is other doorway which shows the side of the bar. (Well to me that's confusing but I'm easily confused.)
I wandered towards the bar (because there were staff there, not because of the prospect of drink!) to ask for our table. As I turned back to check the girls were following, they had disappeared! But they had just made a sidestep through the other door instead. With the low beam ceilings as well, it all seemed a bit Alice in Wonderland. (Like I say, I'm easily confused.)
The dining room itself is lovely - light, warm and homely, and not pretentious. The tables are actually quite close together but at the same time you don't feel like you're sitting on top of another dining party. Probably because there's a lot of natural light from the big windows where you can look out onto their massive gardens (spot the chickens pecking around at the back!).
Everything on the menu looked really good. And I mean everything. The three of us were umming, ahhing and debating for ages. For starters, I went for the Asian tiger prawns, which came with a sweet lime and ginger dip and cucumber, carrot and cashew salad. For the main, I had pan-fried salmon with chorizo, slow-roasted tomatoes and white truffle mash (top of post).
As you can see, this is definitely a place where you eat with your eyes! I love it when you have food presented so beautifully to you, it really makes a difference. All of us were eating slowly, trying to savour everything, not wanting the food to end! I didn't have a dessert myself, but my friends were singing the praises of the local cheese board.
The service seemed to slow down towards the end of the evening, but maybe that was because they were pretty busy by then. We were so relaxed though that we weren't too bothered. It gave us a chance to eye up the dishes on other tables at least - next time I'm definitely going to try a steak!
* Psst. Our combined rating was 29.5/30 :-)
Other restaurants you might be interested to try Continue reading this post..