Restaurant Interlude will launch in the Leonardslee Estate woodland gardens on 19 October.
Diners at the 36-cover restaurant will be given the choice of two set menus – a £90 and a £120 option – to create a “dining experience” that allows the chefs to make use of the best seasonal produce from the surrounding 240 acres. Where ingredients cannot be sourced in the estate, the restaurant will use produce from local farmers.
Dishes listed on the sample menus are unusual and ambitious, including the likes of ‘untraditional crackers’, stones and smoked cream; crisp potato with osetra and ox-eye daisy; estate biltong with onion and chickweed; beef marrow, heart and tongue; fallow deer with local braai and sour raspberry; spring violet with iced herbs; and strawberry wall with pistachio and wasabi.
Executive chef Jean Delport takes his experience from training at restaurants across Cape Town and Ireland, having attended South Africa's prestigious Zevemwacht Chef School. His most recent role was at Benguela on Main in South Africa’s Somerset West, which is part of the Benguela Collection hospitality group owned by Penny Streeter. The 400-acre Mannings Health Gold and Wine Estate is also a part of the Benguela Collection, which includes the Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens estate where Interlude is located. Guests at Interlude can enjoy a selection of wines from the owner’s vineyard at Benguela Cove, Hermanus in South Africa.
Working under Delport will be head chef Ruan Pretorius, who comes from a role as head chef at respected South African wine farm restaurant, Terroir.
“Interlude connects lovers of fine dining with the very spirit of Leonardslee, the finest woodland gardens in England, carefully curated for over 200 years," says Streeter.
"Every dish in each seasonal, multi-course tasting menu is designed to a hunter-gatherer farmer 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.”
Although small, Horsham and its surrounds have seen their fair share of fine dining. Great British Menu chef Matt Gillan left The Pass in neighbouring Lower Beeding after having secured the restaurant a Michelin star and four AA Rosettes. Also in the area, Restaurant Tristan this year retained its star for the seventh consecutive year, alongside its three AA Rosettes.