I had a fantastic meal at The Gingerman on Norfolk Square a few months back.
The Ginger Fox
Muddleswood Road, West Sussex, BN6 9EA
I had a fantastic meal at The Gingerman on Norfolk Square a few months back, which I still think about regularly - great food, great service, just great.
And so, when my parents recently visited from Dublin, I got straight on to The Ginger Fox, near Hurstpierpoint, to book a table for lunch. Not only had a friend recommended it as the perfect place to take kids, its Twitter feed regularly tortures me with post after post of gorgeous-looking food.
Just 15 minutes from Brighton by car, The Ginger Fox is a whitewashed, thatched pub, clad in ivy and set in a huge garden dotted with picnic tables - chocolate-box picturesque and providing a wow moment for my parents, who never cease to be impressed by the beautiful unspoiled countryside we have such a short drive from the city.
I have to emphasise the child-friendliness of this place. The garden is on a single level, hemmed in by hedges to prevent straying, and there are rope swings and a slide/climbing frame area. The kids’ menu is £7.50 for two courses, and crayons come as standard (though no child is going to sit and crayon with a garden like this to explore).
The kids’ food also arrives really quickly - which all parents know is Very Important Indeed. As someone who’s often terrified about bringing their small children anywhere half-decent, it was a huge treat to linger over really good food while they played safely. Ginger Fox, for this alone, I love you.
The food was just as good as I’ve come to expect from this restaurant group and, as is always the case, decent portion sizes, too. Cured mackerel with heirloom tomatoes and quail’s egg (£8) was summer on a plate, a black olive crumb adding a whack of saltiness, and a smoked mackerel pâté delicious spread onto thin, crisp toasts.
My dad loved his gazpacho with burrata, tapenade, confit tomatoes, and edible flowers (£7.50), but unfortunately so did the toddler, who devoured the lot while he looked on proudly - and a touch mournful.
Rose veal doesn’t appear on menus as often as I’d like, so I went straight for this as my main (£19.50). Juicy, pink rump (who doesn’t like a bit of that) on an earthy, velvety wild mushroom purée with a lovely slab of confit veal belly was a classic pairing, a chicken boudin blanc and feather-light gnocchi adding texture.
Vivid-green asparagus and broad beans brought splashes of colour, but also made this a more rounded dish. This is something I love about the Ginger restaurants – each dish is the full shebang, and spendy side orders aren’t necessary.
A caramel mousse with Granny Smith sorbet (£8) was sticky and sweet, yet ultimately very refreshing, with little batons of crisp, juicy apple. I finished with a ice-packed glass of Luscombe lime crush – mouth-puckeringly sour, in a good way, we all decided it would be incredible with gin. Please say hello to my new favourite mixer.
I’m such a fan of the Ginger Group’s ethos. So much consideration goes into the whole customer experience, from start to finish, whether it’s more high-end dining at the Gingerman, dinner with mates at the Ginger Dog or a family day out at the Fox. It’s rare for me to feel completely relaxed during a meal out with my kids, so I have to give this place a big thumbs up – embarrassing mum style.