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Squirreled away down its own private lane, Ockenden Manor resolutely upholds the traditions of English gentility, combining Elizabethan pedigree with nine cares of fastidiously nurtured grounds and a requisite quota of hand-painted ceilings, stained glass windows and antiques. However, chef Stephen Crane’s gastronomically soothing menu is the real attraction here, and his line-up of accomplished modern dishes yields the utmost satisfaction from impeccable ingredients – perhaps Selsey lobster salad with summer vegetables and smoked potato, a four-part assembly of Goodwood Estate lamb (saddle, breast, falafel, sweetbreads) accompanied by baby artichokes and courgette provençale or honey-roast quail with boudin blanc, truffled Yukon Gold potatoes and charred broccoli. To conclude, desserts promise favourites such as Eton mess with raspberry sorbet, caramelised lemon tart or warm apricot and almond cake. The serious-mined wine list includes some enterprising Sussex representatives and a goodly Coravin selection by the glass.
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