P U B P E R F E C T I O N A R R I V E S I N
Worthing There is little doubt that beautiful Sussex is a foodie heaven, boasting an incredible array of restaurants to suit every taste and every budget.
So where do you start when choosing which direction to turn when heading out and about for dinner and drinks? I urge you to start meandering off the beaten track every now and then and explore the wonderful pockets of hidden gastronomic delight that are dotted about throughout the county. This month we start with a hop, skip and a jump over to the coastal town of Worthing to reveal a couple of hidden gems.
Worthing, over the past four years, has seen a vast overhaul in its nightlife offering. With many young families, creatives and professionals buying up properties in this more affordable area on the coast, the demand for upmarket bars, restaurants and pubs has soared and Worthing has certainly come up trumps delivering on that front! It is remarkable the amount of independent restaurants Worthing has to offer, with very few chain restaurants being based in the town. What is even more remarkable is the fact that some of the very greatest cuisine is coming from the humble pub kitchens! Two such pubs taking pub grub to another level are The Egremont and The Corner House. The Egremont is the brainchild of local visionary Greg Grundy who rescued a near derelict landmark public house at the heart of Worthing's conservation area from almost certain closure. He transformed it from a no-go venue to the No1 rated pub in Worthing on Trip Advisor, one of only 8 Worthing pubs to be included The Good Pub Guide and is now receiving national-acclaim from press such as Imbibe and awards such as ‘Drinks List Of The Year’ for the category: Gin List Of The Year. To demonstrate the magnitude of this achievement, the other finalists in various categories included: The American Bar at The Savoy Hotel, Sexy Fish, The OXO Tower, MASH,
The Boisdale, and Prince Harry's favourite bar Mahiki. What an outstanding achievement for a small Worthing pub to measure up to these internationally recognised and celebrated brands.
“With pub closures running at 16 per week nationally, it cannot be understated how the re-opening of this pub and turning it into a profitable employer has been our major achievement. Where most landlords would have surveyed local pub-goers to discover what gimmicks would appeal, we took the opposite approach. To establish our business’ starting point we asked our locals who never went to this pub what put them off from going in and made sure our pub did those things right. The initial result was a fairly traditional pub that never served mean pints, never closed its kitchen at 2pm and never had dirty toilets. From this base we then set about making the pub a preferable place to be rather than your living room and judging by how busy we are we appear to have made Egremont irresistible.” Irresistible is certainly the right word to choose. I visited The Egremont on a sunny but frosty winter afternoon, with the hopes of a hearty lunch to warm the cockles. My cockles were warmed instantaneously when I stepped foot in this inviting and visually captivating pub. Greg has managed to successfully fuse traditional pub accents with imaginative modern twists, quirky memorabilia and homely comforts. It’s very clear that this pub takes presentation very carefully, from the beautifully printed menus on the tables, to the back of the bar displays, the spotless toilets and the eclectic yet perfectly harmonious features such as lighting made from a medley of instruments and stained glass windows. The Egremont menu sets out to offer traditional pub fare plus chef specialities,
all cooked freshly and to the very highest of standards. The portions are hefty but the prices are certainly not. I opted for the King Prawn Penang Curry and the hubby partner went for the ‘Pie N Mash,’ a traditional beef & onion pie with parsley liquor, served with mashed potatoes, gravy and (optional!) jellied eels. As a staple pub offering, a lot rests on a pie and mash and this one does not disappoint. Declared by my hubby as the best pie he has ever eaten, this was made to the precise London East End recipe; the pie had a suet pastry crust, with the top designed to dip in the rich meaty goodness that filled the inside. My dish was equally as impeccable. I often order by the rule of going for what an establishment specialises in, such as ordering steak from a steakhouse or, like my husband did, a pie from a pub. However, in this case I decided the real proof was in the more obscure dishes. Proof indeed! This Penang Curry was singing with flavour, bursting with freshness and as authentic as you would receive at any top notch Thai restaurant. Greg prides himself on using local suppliers as much as possible, ploughing money back in to the local economy, with fruit and veg from the grocer a few doors down and meat from a local Worthing-based butcher. He is also adamant to ensure that, in the spirit of consistency for his guests, food is served 7 days a week and to keep them on their toes, a specials board is available daily, plus ‘Fish Fridays’ boasting local catches and an infamous ‘French Night’ every Wednesday. It’s not just the food that keeps the punters flowing. Celebrated as a Gin and Beer lover’s haven, The Egremont team are not only fastidious about keeping the extensive beer offering in supreme condition but they also offer a unique experience for ale fans as they are the only pub in the area that brews and retails its own beer under the Kemptown Brewery name. The Egremont also hosted