We find out what it’s like at No. 1 Broad Street in Cuckfield
- Credit: Archant
Johnny Stanford creates a menu to remember at his new Cuckfield restaurant as Laura Paton discovers
It's not every day that a head chef takes your table reservation, so I'm caught off guard when Johnny Stanford answers the phone at No. 1 Broad Street. I'd been chomping at the bit to visit his newest venture. Following a stint at Brighton's Pascere, he stood behind the burners at Jodie Kidd's pub in Kirdford before bringing his "no-holds-barred dishes" to West Sussex, where doors opened in late March. No holds barred? Johnny explains: "It's a term used by Philip [Bunn, the restaurant's owner] to describe the way I marry ingredients, which work in harmony but aren't an obvious match. He's given me the opportunity to be as creative as I like, and that creativity filters through everything, from the wine selection to the front of house service."
Tucked away in the village of Cuckfield, No. 1 Broad Street is a handsome double-fronted building with a slate roof and pillar-box red steps. Conveniently positioned opposite the public car park, come by car and it's hard to miss. Cross the threshold and it's all white and bright with low beams, idiosyncratic art and soft, plump dining chairs to sink into.
A constantly changing menu showcases the best of what's in season. "We put on 'specials', using produce that's in short supply," says Johnny. "When it's gone, it's gone until next year!"
A dish of creamy Jersey royals, wild garlic, Wigmore and pickled baby turnip (£9) is as fresh and light as the season it exemplifies. The waiter tells me the velvety cheese is made in Berkshire from ewe's milk. And the wild garlic? "Picked just down the road".
My companion says I'd better hurry if I want to try her starter. I snaffle a forkful of the delicately cured and blow-torched mackerel with buttermilk, salsify and nasturtium leaves (£8.50) before it's gone.
I'd subsist on pork alone if it always tasted like the salt-baked rump and braised jowl (£20). While the rump is pink and succulent, the jowl is a mass of dark, tender strands. Baby leek, shredded white cabbage and Granny Smith apple all temper the meat's richness, while a glossy sauce ties everything together. My companion is tucking into the roasted cauliflower, 'cauliflower cheese', pink grapefruit and hazelnut ensemble (£17.50). The whole dish has a wonderful nutty butteriness, but the portion is a touch on the small side.
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For dessert the salted-caramel chocolate cremeux, coffee cream cheese and malt ice cream (£8.50) has my name on it. The cremeux takes you to the brink of indulgence, while the bitterness of the cream cheese is the perfect foil for the chocolate.
The sharp lemon posset is served with honeycomb, honey and thyme ice cream (£8). After encouragement from the waiter to try the ice cream with a spoonful of the citrussy posset, we're in agreement that it's a winning combination.
If I was to sum up this restaurant in one word it would be 'harmonious'. From the relaxed surroundings and friendly, knowledgeable staff to the stunning food, everything worked. It's a meal I'll savour for a long time to come.
No. 1 Broad Street, Cuckfield, RH17 5LJ; 1broadstreet.co.uk
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