For a winter treat, I would heartily recommend a trip to Horsham in Sussex to sample Matt Gillan’s Great British Menu dinner at The Pass. The restaurant at South Lodge Hotel has taken the recent trend for Chef’s Tables further than most – Great British Menu gives you a hint at what goes into the making of stunning food and at The Pass, with its open plan layout, you are placed right at the heart of the kitchen.
CCTV monitors offer a live feed for those with their back to the action and the intimate restaurant, with only thirty covers, means you also get to chat to Matt Gillan and his team of chefs who personally serve your food. They are on hand to explain the inspiration behind every technique and ingredient, and it’s truly a fascinating experience.
Don’t expect shouting, barking or temper tantrums though. It’s a well-oiled, comfortable and relaxing ride as Matt’s style of kitchen management is ‘firm but nurturing’. It is more of a two-way conversation about how meals are to be prepared. Matt said ‘I’m just an inquisitive person and I like to know how things work. This is the reason why I don’t have to scream and shout at my chefs, because I’ll explain why it’s gone wrong, how we can correct it and then we won’t have the same problem. For me knowledge is power and so if everyone is knowledgeable, if you are teaching them in that way, you’ve got a really strong team.’
This was clear throughout our night at The Pass. Everyone from the chefs through to the front of house staff and sommeliers were highly knowledgeable and excited about serving Matt’s menu.