Set within the historic Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens estate near Horsham in West Sussex, Restaurant Interlude opens on December 3rd at the end of lockdown and has just won an AA Rosette award. This follows the achievement in 2019 of a first Michelin Star for executive chef Jean Delport and his team.
The AA Rosette awards began in 1956 and were the first nationwide scheme for assessing the quality of food served by restaurants and hotels. The award inspector said:-
“Interlude occupies a glorious setting in the woodland gardens of Leonardslee Estate. The grand old house doesn’t lack for character with its high ceilings, ornate fireplaces, oil paintings and chandeliers, while the kitchen takes its cue from the seasons and makes full use of pickings from its own gardens, as well as foraging and tapping into the local food network for top-notch Sussex produce.
“Expect bright, lively flavours in epic-length tasting format, from beef tartare smoked with gorse flowers, to poached plaice with parsley purée and knotweed vinegar, or 28 day-aged Middlewhite pork with wild garlic and capers.”
Restaurant Interlude’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. Bookings are online at https://www.restaurant-
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.
Jean Delport manages a team of seven kitchen staff and says:
“We are delighted to receive this recognition by the AA. Interlude connects lovers of fine dining with the very spirit of Leonardslee and its woodland gardens, 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 atmosphere 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 for a single sitting in the restaurant, enjoying views across acres of gardens in the steep valley below, and east and south across to the South Downs.