September 24 2010
I can never get enough of Goodwood racecourse, but, as another season draws to a close, there are plenty of other compelling reasons to visit this beautiful corner of West Sussex; the Earl of March, a top-drawer gastropub in the nearby village of Lavant, is one of them.
I met the owner, chef Giles Thompson, who was formerly at the Ritz and the Connaught, enjoying a day off at the races at Goodwood’s late August meeting. The following day my wife and I looked in at both the Partridge Inn, the country pub he runs in Singleton, and the Earl of March a few miles away. Both are well worth a visit, but the food and ambience in the latter are exceptional. The Seafood Shack just inside the entrance was replete with mouthwateringly fresh Selsey crab, prawns, lobsters and home-made potted kippers which all tasted delicious served with a quail’s egg, asparagus, courgette and radish salad.
In winter they specialise in locally sourced game and Thompson, an occasional participant, lays on what I’m assured is a trencherman’s shoot lunch. The bar is liberally stocked with fine wines, champagnes and local beers. The open-plan decor is comfortable and relaxed and the service excellent. William Blake wrote Jerusalem in one of the upstairs bedrooms and the view across the rolling downs and Goodwood estate continues to inspire.