By Hannah Brookes
Crompton’s is already a much-loved bar and restaurant in central Horsham. However, this May they’ve given their mouth-watering menu a makeover. While quintessential pub classics like Wild Boar Sausages and Sirloin Steak still make an appearance, there’s now a fine selection of tapas-style starters to choose from. I can’t think of anything finer than sitting in the garden of Crompton’s with friends and working our way through those dishes of delicious food. However, I couldn’t wait for the sun to come out so I made my way to 12 Bishopric to give the new menu a whirl.
Thanks to their central location, Crompton’s is the perfect venue for lunch in Horsham. I walked through the door at 1pm – although quiet to begin with, it wasn’t long before the bar was alive with chatter as locals came to refresh themselves and fill up on food.
The revamped menu is well-laid out with the tapas dishes at the top and sharing platters and bigger meals further down. With tasty morsels like Baby Chorizo, Cajun Spiced Whitebait and Sweet Potato Wedges now available, I admit my eye didn’t really wander past the ‘Small plates’ section.
I have found one problem with the new menu – with such a variety of flavours on offer, it’s very easy to get carried away. After much deliberation, I went for Lamb Koftas with Mint Yoghurt, Salt Cod Fritters, Pork Stuffed squid and Slow Cooked Pork Belly. It wasn’t until my dishes arrived (in quaint terracotta bowls) that I realised I had a very large meal before me.
Not to let food defeat me, I tucked straight in and began my feast with the Lamb Koftas. Small but mighty, these balls of well-seasoned lamb were full of flavour and worked brilliantly with the minted yoghurt. I’m always disappointed when side sauces run out before I’ve finished – thankfully, the portion of yoghurt matched the size of the Koftas so there was more than enough for dunking.
The next dish to feel the force of my fork was the Slow Cooked Pork Belly. Oh my, where to begin? To be blunt, it was amazing. Breaking apart instantly into soft, delicious chunks, this expertly cooked piece of meat was heaven right through to the last mouthful. I’ve had pork belly in the past with a crisp layer of crackling on top – although this was absent on Crompton’s plate, I certainly didn’t miss it.
Starting to feel full but not ready to give in just yet, I turned my attention to the Salt Cod Fritters. Fried but not greasy, these crisp balls of fish had a similar taste to Spring Rolls but with a subtle twang of the sea. I also discovered they tasted great with mint yoghurt.
My last tapas dish – Pork Stuffed Squid – was a clever combination of surf and turf. Owing to slightly chunkier-than-usual pork, they were a little tricky to eat. However, the pork was perfectly cooked and worked well with the squid.
So, on to my verdict. Anyone who has tried Crompton’s jenga style chips (which I thoroughly recommend by the way) will know the restaurant doesn’t believe in small portions. Two of these new tapas dishes could easily be a main meal for one person. With so much choice, the best way to sample them all would be to come to Crompton’s with friends or come every day for dinner. Trust me when I say that with food this good, both options are very appealing.