The roar of the engine of a classic car as it whizzes past me on the race track, an excited crowd of people dressed in vintage clothing, drinking champagne and taking a ride in a helicopter. Those were just a few of the amazing experiences that I had last year at the Goodwood Revival, a festival celebrating the golden age of motoring and one of the flagship events held at The Goodwood Estate.
After such a fun day last year, I was excited to be invited back to the estate and experience more of what this 12,000 acre property has to offer. Home to the Duke of Richmond for over three hundred years, the property has an incredibly rich heritage both for sport and arts and is a rather unique place.
It’s an easy journey for me as the trains run directly from Victoria station to Chichester so in about an hour and a half, I had left London far behind and I had found myself in the Sussex countryside. If you’re planning on visiting the estate for one the flagship events (there’s the Festival of Speed and the Qatar Goodwood Festival as well as Goodwood Revival) or for one of the sporting experiences such as driving, golf or flying then the Goodwood Hotel makes the perfect base. Or maybe like me you’re there just to spend the day eating, drinking and indulging!
As a dedicated foodie, there’s nothing quite like knowing exactly where your food has come from and the new restaurant at the Goodwood Hotel does just that. Named Farmer, Butcher, Chef – the restaurant is a celebration of farm-to-table dining with the produce coming from the estate itself. My day of discovery started right at the origin as I was taken to see Goodwood Home Farm, a 3,400 acre organic farm that is at the very heart of the estate.
Farmer, Butcher, Chef is not just about high quality produce and fantastic food. It’s also about the personalities behind the restaurant’s story. The first of whom being farmer, Tim Hassell who has managed the farm for eight years. Tim told us that all the livestock is raised in the most compassion way possible and all crops grown on the estate are used to feed the livestock. We were taken on the tour of the farm with a chance to see the happy cows and their calves frolicking in the fields…
And the pigs enjoying a good roll around in the mud! Pigs are easily my favourite farm animal and there is a mixture of two traditional breed: Gloucester Old Spots and Saddlebacks, crossed with Large Whites. We also saw the cutest and tiniest piglets clustering around Mama Pig. The other main livestock bred at the farm are the lambs which particularly enjoy the chalk ground of the area for grazing.
After see the produce it was time to see how the butcher and chef worked with the livestock to create the show-stopping food served in the restaurant. Lined with lavender outside, Farmer, Butcher, Chef is also rather aesthetically pleasing.
And inside the bar and restaurant is reminiscent of a country pub; this isn’t white table cloth dining, it’s fun, casual and relaxed. It’s a place to take all the family but still enjoy really really good food.
Beer fans will be delighted to know that Goodwood Home Farm produces an organic ale and lager and has done for sixty years! The Goodwood Organic Ale and Lager is made with organically grown malted barley and hops to give the high-quality taste. It’s the perfect pairing with some of the signature bar snacks served at Farmer, Butcher, Chef as well as some of the locally produced cheeses.
The organic milk produced at Home Farm goes into making a range of handmade cheese in the estate’s own Cheese Room. There’s the Charlton which is rich and tangy, Levin Down (my favourite) soft and creamy and Molecomb Blue, an award-winning soft blue veined cheese.
The pork crunch is one of the most popular items on the menu, honestly I’ve never seen a pork scratching that big! It’s served with tarragon mayonnaise. The crisps are home made and seasonal while the beer nuts are made using the Goodwood beer.
Crispy ox tongue with rosemary ketchup was also on the table…
Along with Charlton rarebit and sourdough… which everyone around the table loved!
As we were enjoying the bar snacks, out came Darron Bunn, the eponymous chef of the restaurant. Darron worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants in London before winning a few stars of his own at his restaurant The Greyhound in Stockbridge and later at Orestone Manor in Torquay. He is clearly incredibly passionate about his current role on the estate and creating new items for the menu. We didn’t meet butcher John Hearn, the third member of the team but he has been at Goodwood for three years following his lifelong dream to qualify as a master butcher. A trade that is rare nowadays with the rise of supermarkets.
Farmer, Butcher, Chef is also quite perfect for a day like today as you can fling open the doors to a sunny terrace and enjoy your ale in the warm weather.
We took a (brief) pause from eating to take a look around the Hound Lodge, once one of the most luxurious dog houses in the world, the Hound Lodge has been restored to be a luxury private space for humans…
We were greeted by the butler, whose job it is to take of every need for residents of the Hound Lodge. With ten rooms, the cottage is separate from the rest of the hotel and can be exclusively booked for corporate events or for special occasions with friends.
As the name and history of the building suggests, it’s entirely doggy themed with portraits and statues of dogs everywhere.
If you’re booking the Hound Lodge, you’ll not only get the benefit of the butler but there will also be a private chef and meals included in the price of the booking. Dinner takes place on this gorgeous 18th century Georgian dining table and everything is catered to the needs of the guests.
The bedrooms are utter cosy luxury – even the mattresses are stuffed with wool from the estate’s own sheep! The hound paraphernalia also spills out into the bedrooms and several of the rooms have private terraces and there are lots of personal touches such as mini decanters of whisky and hot water bottles tucked in the sheets when it’s cold. Roll tops baths and vintage fixtures complete the classic picture of English country life.
After coffee, cake and a chat with the butler, it was time for me to check into my own accommodation for the night.
The Goodwood Hotel is a former 18th Century coaching lodge and has retained the British charm of its former incarnation. My suite wasn’t as fancy as some other English country hotels but it was spacious with a separate living area and lots of cosy throws and snuggly cushions.
You can dress as casually as you like for dinner at Farmer, Butcher, Chef but never one to waste the opportunity to wear a nice dress, I put on one of my favourites and headed out to meet the others.
Our first stop of the night was for a gin and tonic at The Kennels, a central clubhouse for all of the Estate’s Sporting Members.
Not only are there plenty of cosy corners for the members to relax and two dining rooms serving lunch …
But four-legged friends are fully catered for too. Every doggy member has a personalised bowl as well as other tasty treats – probably one of the only private members clubs for dogs.
The gin trolley experience is available throughout the year and The Kennels resident gin expert talked us through some of his favourites including several local produced gins.
He then whipped me up a G & T with a chilli and sprig of coriander to spice it up.
And a few more of those famous bar snacks from Darron Bunn.
To round off a really wonderful day, it was back to Farmer, Butcher, Chef for dinner.
Starters around the table included citrus cured sea trout with hand-picked crab, pickled cucumber and dill for me, Red Sussex Beef Tartare with dripping toast and smoked egg yolk and by far the most popular choice; baked scallop with broad beans, seaweed and brown butter shrimp. All paired with a delicious local sparkling wine and the information that Sussex vineyards are producing award-winning wines every bit as good as their European counterparts. One of the most well-known is Nutbourne in West Sussex, a 26-acre vineyard run by the Gladwin family, who own three restaurants in London: The Shed, Rabbit and Nutbourne.
On the advice of Chef Darron Bunn we decided to order the butcher boards to share as main courses.
The pork board contains larded loin of pork, crispy belly, sticky baby back ribs, spiced pig tail and white bean stew, pig ears, and kale, apple and beetroot slaw. It was no surprise how good it was considering the organic pork belly has been named one Britain’s Top 50 Foods at the 2016 Great Taste Awards.
Herb crusted rack of lamb, devilled liver, lamb faggots, lamb bacon, roasted courgettes, runner beans and confit tomatoes.
Finally, everyone’s favourite was the beef board which included beef fillet Wellington, crispy shin, glazed brisket, beef dripping potato, ox tongue and little gem salad. The beef is hung for 28 days to achieve the best flavour and colour and is not only served here but also in some of the best London restaurants including The Ritz and the Sky Garden.
As well as the meat boards, there’s a number of innovative main courses on the menu – non-meat lovers can opt for the fish of the day. In this case cod with fresh asparagus which was utterly delicious though I will say this is perhaps a restaurant for vegetarians to avoid as there as very limited options if you don’t eat meat at all.
Dessert is unmissable and a particular favourite is baked Alaska with rhubarb.
I headed up to my room feeling happy after a gorgeous day on the Goodwood Estate and so much fantastic food! A huge thank you to the team for hosting us for such a wonderful experience!
I stayed at the Goodwood Hotel on the Goodwood Estate as part of a press trip.