The Curlew Restaurant

Junction Road Bodiam East Sussex TN32 5UY

An isolated crossroads in the middle of nowhere is the setting for one of Sussex’s best restaurants, the Curlew – one of only three in Sussex to hold a Michelin star. The former seventeenth-century coaching inn is a bit of a trek to get to, but worth every mile of winding country road: The Independent’s restaurant critic described her meal there as a ‘flawless showcase of Modern British cooking’, while The Observer’s Jay Rayner was so impressed with one dish he said he wanted a picture of it on his bedside table. The nice thing about the Curlew is that despite its Michelin star it’s not at all stuffy. The decor is smart (grey panelled walls, oak tables) but with a quirky twist (one wall is plastered in cow wallpaper, another is hung with mismatched plates); and the menu is short and simple – there are just six options per course, each described with a minimum of waffle. Typical main dishes might include Pork with pickled cabbage, caramelised onion and rosemary gnocchi, or Wild sea bass with leek and potato, shrimp, caper and vermouth, while puds run to the likes of lime and yoghurt parfait with compressed cucumber, gin sorbet and mint honey, or banana tart with rum and raisin ice cream and banana milkshake. Happily for foodies, the Curlew is exceptionally good value – the restaurant’s aim is to deliver three courses, plus all the complimentary trimmings, for under £40 – and it’s even more of a bargain if you plump for the fixed-price ‘Short Menu’, available during the week.

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