The Sportsman is widely acknowledged as not just one of the best pubs for food in the country, but one of the best restaurants in the UK.
In fact, as well as topping the Top 50 Gastropubs list this year and in 2015 and 2016, it won first place in Restaurant Magazine’s National Restaurant Awards or NRAs.
Sportsman chef-patron Stephen Harris is “obsessed” with terroir – the idea that a restaurant’s menu should religiously reflect its surrounding geography, history and produce – and as such, produce served at the Sportsman is sourced almost exclusively from the land surrounding the pub.
Harris, a completely self-taught chef, who abandoned a high-flying career in the City to open his “grotty boozer by the sea”, picks seaweed from the Sportsman’s adjoining beach, makes his own salt from the sea, and uses meat from Seasalter’s bountiful farms.
Menu highlights include roast saddle of Monkshill farm lamb with mint sauce; thornback ray with brown butter, razor clams and sherry vinegar dressing; and braised brill fillet with mussel and bacon tartare.
Desserts include dark chocolate and salted caramel tart with vanilla ice cream; apple soufflé with salted caramel ice cream; and jasmine tea junket with rosehip syrup and breakfast crunch.
Don’t forget to try Harris’s famous slip sole grilled in seaweed butter. Although the chef himself has repeatedly expressed his dislike for the idea of ‘signature dishes’, this would be his. It’s the purest expression of what makes the Sportsman fantastic: simplicity, thoughtfulness and, most importantly, deliciousness.
The Sportsman is also remarkably cheap for an eatery of its standing. Tasting menus cost from £45 – £60 and à la carte dishes rarely breach the £30 mark.
The Sportsman / CHEF
I never had any lessons. I’d only worked in a few restaurants before I set up the Sportsman