With thanks to Christian Doyle for the photos.
Menu tasting events involving local producers at The Swan Hotel are becoming a regular occurance since the arrival of new general manager Beata Slapikaite. They’re a great idea, offering customers the chance to try a range of dishes from the upcoming season’s menu, meet the chefs and staff and discover local suppliers from around the area. I’d heard such rave reviews from the last event that I couldn’t wait for this one, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The event wasn’t a formal meal, but a mix of buffet and table service. At one end of the room was a groaning table of treats, replenished throughout the evening and presided over by two unflappable chefs. At the same time, waiting staff buzzed around tables with mini-tasters of what seemed like dozens of scrumptious dishes – far too many to list, and all far too tempting to turn down. What made this a perfect Food Festival event was that there was so much information about the provenance of the dishes available – so I know which meats came from Arundel Butchers, which breads were from Slindon bakery, and that the eggs were from Park Farm, just up the road. In fact, one of the chefs very kindly pointed out the farmer whose chickens had laid them, sitting a couple of tables down from us.
The ‘field to table’ theme continued with the raffle, which was a gigantic seasonal veg box from the Sussex Produce Company, which came with a list of its contents and where they were grown: “Marrow, Brussel tops, Angmering, Rainbow Chard, Steyning…” and the menu cards available to take home including the contact details for produce suppliers.
Plenty of restaurants pay lip service to sourcing ‘local and seasonal’ ingredients, but this was the real deal in action, perfectly executed. Can’t wait for the next one!
To join the Swan’s mailing list and be notified of similar upcoming events, simply call in, send an email or ring 01903 882314. Tickets for the Drip Action Dinner Theatre Food Festival events have now sold out, but there will be a Drip Action Christmas Dinner Theatre event on Saturday 3 December. And it being that time of year, a reminder that bookings for Christmas Dinner at the Swan Hotel are now being taken…