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Michelin Star Awarded to First Vineyard Restaurant

Set within the historic Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens estate near Horsham, Restaurant Interlude is believed to be the first UK restaurant associated with its own vineyard to win a Michelin Star – UK and Ireland 2020 Michelin Guide Awards, Hurlingham Club, London, October 7 2019.
Open for just one year, the restaurant’s tasting menu is inspired by the Grade I Listed woodland gardens, with ingredients foraged or grown on the 240 acre Leonardslee estate, and other produce sourced from selected local farms. Restaurant Interlude is open for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday weekly, with ten tables. Bookings are online at https://www.restaurant-interlude.co.uk/reservations.
The restaurant has views across the gardens and its Pinotage vineyard, planted in 2018. There are 72,000 vines under cultivation across 15 hectares at Leonardslee and a neighbouring site at Mannings Heath Golf and Wine Estate, part of the Benguela Collection vineyards and hospitality group in the UK and South Africa.
Owner Penny Streeter OBE brought Executive Chef Jean Delport from his native South Africa to open the restaurant in October 2018. He is only the second South African chef to win a Michelin Star for his restaurant, and one of the youngest recipients, aged 31.
Jean Delport, who manages a team of seven kitchen staff, commented: “We are delighted to receive this recognition by Michelin after just one year. Interlude connects lovers of fine dining with the very spirit of Leonardslee, perhaps the finest woodland gardens in England, unspoilt and carefully curated for over 200 years.
“Every dish in each seasonal, multi-course tasting menu is designed to a hunter-gatherer concept of food that’s foraged, cultivated and raised on the estate or close by. It is savoured and enjoyed as an intimate dining experience; a small, exclusive dinner party within the estate’s Italianate mansion house.”
Diners can feast on the seasonal menu that might include: estate rabbit, winter purslane, hogweed cider and charcoal; fallow deer with local braai and sour raspberry; or oyster, foraged greens and juniper.
Guests arriving at Restaurant Interlude in the estate mansion house, built in 1855, are greeted in the grand hallway with music from a self-playing piano and drinks in the bar. They are then seated together at around 7pm in the restaurant, enjoying views across acres of gardens in the steep valley below, and east and south across to the South Downs.
Jean has particular experience, from South Africa, of how to complement innovative tasting menus with fine wines. Guests at Interlude can enjoy a selection of vintages from the owner’s vineyard at Benguela Cove, Hermanus, as well as from other estates in South Africa.
Penny Streeter OBE opened the restaurant on October 19 2018, after 18 months’ extensive restoration of the Grade II Listed mansion house and the creation of new kitchens. Her Benguela Collection vineyards and hospitality group includes the 400 acre Mannings Heath Golf and Wine Estate, located three miles from Leonardslee, and the Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate in the Walker Bay region of South Africa.
Executive Chef Jean Delport formerly worked with owner Penny Streeter at her restaurant in Somerset West, Cape Town for several years. Jean trained and won awards at the prestigious Zevenwacht Chef School in South Africa. With a background in classical French and English cooking, including several seasons in Ireland, he is noted as an innovator, changing and improving upon his own menus and selection of ingredients regularly.
Chef Ruan Pretorius began his career, and was finally head chef at restaurant Terroir in the Cape winelands in South Africa. Terroir is one of South Africa’s most decorated restaurants, in the top 20 of the country for 19 years running. He decided to join Jean Delport in the UK to meet an exciting new challenge at Restaurant Interlude.

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