Restaurant Interlude wins national award

food served at Restaurant Interlude Credit: Expozure Photography
Restaurant Interlude Chef Delport Credit: Expozure Photography

The 2024 National Restaurant Awards feature Restaurant Interlude, at Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens in Horsham, as one of only two Sussex restaurants in its Top 100. Launched in 2007, the awards celebrate "the brilliance and vibrancy of the UK's eating out scene, and reward the very best chefs, front of house staff and restaurants the country has to offer."

Restaurant Interlude, which is open for lunch and dinner, was ranked at number 83 in the awards and was nominated for the Estrella Damm Sustainability Award category. South African chef Jean Delport and his team also won a Michelin Green Star earlier in 2024, one of the first restaurants in Sussex to receive the accolade. It recognised Interlude's outstanding sustainable practices and ethically sourced seasonal cuisine.

The National Restaurant Awards judges commented how Delport, born in South Africa, arrived in the UK with his wife Anya in 2017 to oversee the launch of Restaurant Interlude at the invitation of the estate owner Penny Streeter OBE. At the time the plan seemed ambitious, foolhardy even for the 28-year-old, the judges said:

"Delport and the estate's South Africa-based entrepreneur backer Penny Streeter's decision to jump in at the deep end with a high-end dining experience raised eyebrows at the time. Yet Streeter's faith in Delport's abilities turned out to be well-placed, with Interlude winning a Michelin star in less than a year.

"Delport's cooking is grounded in French technique but also explores his South African heritage. Nods include spiced vetkoek (a South African-doughnut) served with lobster and wild garlic parfait; a take on traditional Afrikaans onion salad with lamb and magnolia vinegar; and crispy, painstakingly-deboned chicken feet that celebrate the population's willingness to eat every bit of the animal. The main course is always a celebration of braai, for example chicken paired with juniper berries and confit chicken hearts.

"Much of the produce is sourced from the estate itself, with Delport having drafted in foraging experts to help identify all manner of ingredients including elderberries, mushrooms and even birch trees. The drinks list is focused on wines from owner Penny Streeter's Benguela Cove winery in South Africa but - more recently - Interlude has launched its own wines made with grapes grown on the estate."

In June 2024, the Streeter family launched three new sparkling wines - Blanc de Blancs, Brut Reserve and Brut Rosé - produced exclusively from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes from the 38-acre Leonardslee Family Vineyards estate.

Leonardslee Estate

Delport's seasonally-inspired tasting menu connects guests with the Leonardslee Estate through its flavours, he says: "Each week we forage our woods and gardens to see what's available to harvest. Guests can truly taste the seasons reflected on their plates, from berries in summer, to mushrooms in autumn, to preserved fruits and vegetables in winter."

Chef Delport leads a team of seven kitchen staff in preparing unique multi-course dining experiences, such as braised estate rabbit with winter purslane and estate venison with juniper-infused sauce. An onsite vegetable garden, chicken enclosure and beehives that produce estate honey supplement foraged goods.

Guests arriving at Restaurant Interlude are welcomed in the grand hallway, with drinks in the bar and then seated together around 6pm in the restaurant, enjoying views across the English Heritage Listed woodland gardens in the steep valley below, as well as east and south towards the South Downs.

The Michelin Green Star award also recognised Leonardslee estate's considerable work in the restoration of its historic buildings. Restaurant Interlude is within Grade II Listed Leonardslee House, built in an Italianate style in 1855. It features ten luxury en-suite bedrooms, with each featuring the fabric and wallpaper style of a quintessential British interior design house, with a strong commitment to sustainable and artisan composition.

Penny Streeter and her design team from the Johnston Parke Interiors studio focused on British-based suppliers. They sourced antiques to reduce any environmental impact and commissioned furniture suppliers who make their products in the UK. This included David Seyfried for upholstery, Hypnos for beds, BTC Original for lighting, as well as Edward Bulmer, and Farrow and Ball for paints.

Restaurant Interlude offers environmentally-conscious diners the opportunity to taste the best of West Sussex's natural produce. Reservations are available Thursday to Sunday with seatings beginning at 6pm. Book online on the restaurant's website.  Dinner: Thursday - Sunday from 18:00. Lunch: Friday – Sunday from 12:30

Visit www.restaurant-interlude.co.uk

You may also be interested in

Introducing Adventure Connections – The hen and stag do experts

Introducing Adventure Connections – The hen and stag do experts

Sussex-based Adventure Connections, group accommodation experts, is a highly focused...

READ ARTICLE

The Speech Surgery: modern day etiquette with Heidi Ellert McDermott, founder of Speechy

The Speech Surgery: modern day etiquette with Heidi Ellert McDermott, founder of Speechy

The Speech Surgery: modern day etiquette with Heidi Ellert...

READ ARTICLE

Creative ways to preserve and display your wedding bouquet

Creative ways to preserve and display your wedding bouquet

Your wedding day is one of the most magical days of your life, so you'll no doubt want to...

READ ARTICLE

Submit your wedding to be featured in Your Sussex Wedding Magazine

VISIT SITE

Follow Your Sussex Wedding Magazine on Facebook

VISIT SITE

Subscribe to Your Sussex Wedding Magazine for free

VISIT SITE

Selden Barns Wedding Show

VISIT SITE