The Richmond Arms at Goodwood has been transformed into a ground-breaking restaurant whose inspiration comes from the estate’s self-sustaining and multi-award winning organic farm
A complete make-over in the interior of the restaurant reflects its unique relationship with Home Farm and the new approach is sealed with a new name for the enterprise: Farmer, Butcher, Chef.
The internal changes are more than merely cosmetic. From the life-size cow sculpture at the entrance to the framed displays of corks and keys, and the lighting constructs, everything reaffirms the philosophy.
In the relaxed ambience there is a sense in the styling of the manual endeavour that underpins the farm and the centrepiece display of historic fire buckets containing fresh vegetables emphasises that earthiness of goodness from the ground.
Goodwood has been farmed by the family for more than 300 years and has been repeatedly commended for its beef, pork and lamb.
It is uniquely placed to control every aspect of the produce from ‘field to fork’ and to ensure both the highest standards of farming combined with showing the utmost respect to the animals.
That ethos is reflected in an ever changing menu which ensures that nothing is wasted. As a result, unusual and rare cuts are a key element of the approach. The word ‘butcher’ is included in the name because he is directly involved in designing dishes according to what cuts are available.
As a result, it will be the first in a group of nationwide venues to receive the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts ‘Sustainable Food Philosophy Seal’.
Inspiration for Goodwood’s latest food venture comes from the relationship between farmer Tim Hassell, butcher John Hearn and chef Darron Bunn.
Darron said: “This restaurant is the embodiment of everything that we do at Goodwood, celebrating our slow-grown livestock and ensuring we use every part of the animal. Working so closely with the farmer and the butcher is a totally new approach for me, where the availability of produce dictates our menu and dish design. The passion that goes into the welfare of the animals at Goodwood Home Farm is inspiring.”
Our verdict: When we reviewed the new restaurant it was instantly clear from a glance at the menu how embedded the new approach was. Starters included crusted beef shin (£8.50), oregano rubbed pig jowl (£7.50), beer braised lamb belly (£7) and venison tartare (£8.50) - although there were non-meat alternatives.
A key element of the main course is a Butcher’s Board (£20 per person) featuring a choice of lamb, beef and pork. Atop the page are illustrations showing where the cuts are from. Below, a listing of each.
So the lamb featured: rack of lamb, braised shoulder hot pot, devilled liver and heart, rosemary cured lamb belly, cabbage and wild mushrooms.
The beef, which we chose, included skirt steak, sticky beef short rib, oxtail faggot, crusted shin, crispy tongue, gem salad and dripping potatoes.
There were other mains available including ale braised pork collar (£17), beef short rib (£18), haunch of lamb (£19) Red Sussex rump of beef (£18) and estate pheasant (£17) - as well as a vegetarian dish (£14) and a fish of the day (market price).
There is no doubt that the estate’s meat dominates this menu. While there are vegetables and sides - they were more apparent on the decorative display than on the menu. The inclusion of unusual cuts has also enabled an exacting pricing policy to be followed.
Given the provenance of the produce and the venue, the prices are remarkably low and extremely competitive. Desserts were around the £7 mark.
We avoided meat for the starter, choosing an excellent wild mushroom mousse (£7). A Bramley apple crumble souffle (£7.50) proved a stunning conclusion to the meal.
The butcher’s board while refreshingly simple in presentation was hugely generous in its offering of meat. Unusual cuts are extraordinarily demanding on a kitchen. Cuts are often ‘forgotten’ because the meat is less tasty or tough so serving them at their best without slow-cooking them to death requires consummate skill.
It is worth noting the terrific professional welcome of the staff; the clever wine list that included a great local Tinwood sparkling brut at £10 per glass and a lovely Bolney pinot noir all served in glasses that were so light to hold we had to ask if they were actually made of glass. They were.
This new restaurant is a bold step for Goodwood. It is about identity; of looking holistically at all the estate’s recognised strengths and bringing them together in one room and on one plate; and the art of redefining dining - by shunning more complex presentations for an approach which is utterly true to the Goodwood heritage and at a price that is as sustainable as the meat.
The Restaurant Inspector
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