Review: The Ginger Fox, Albourne, Near Brighton
One of the Brighton-based Gingerman restaurant group, The Ginger Fox pub is in a remote countryside setting, close to Devil’s Dyke. I had been many years ago when it was fairly newly opened and getting surprise rave reviews from critics of the nationals. I remember it always being nice but a bit… um poncey. I think they were trying too hard, and the clientele were very much the local ‘yah-yah’s’ which made the place a bit stuffy and formal for me.
Anyway a friend and I stopped there for dinner unexpectedly as The Sportsman pub at Goddards Green were full (having an early St Paddy’s shindig apparently). Well we were frankly lucky to get a table there too as even at 7pm it was almost full. The diners didn’t look like they had changed since I last went (grey, conservative, twin sets etc) and I was certainly one of the youngest at the chirpy age of 34!
A lovely waitress showed us a table and took our coats and we chose a bottle of Malbec to drink while we munched on warm complimentary bread with balsamic and rapeseed oil that you pour yourself from the bottle on the table. The menu isn’t extensive, 5-6 choices for starters and mains, although there are specials on the board. I chose the Chorizo Glazed Rarebreed Pork Belly with Carrots and Chicory and my mate went for the Foie Gras Ballotine with Champagne Rhubarb and Sesame Toast.
Our plates arrived beautifully presented. My pork belly slice was on top of a smear of sticky chorizo syrup and was garnished the tiniest baby carrots I have ever seen and a little bit of lettuce. The pork was soft, sweet and fatty but as there were only two bites worth, £8 seemed a tad steep. The foie gras was rich, naughty and thoroughly gorgeous! Quite a small portion for the amount of toast it came with but you really couldn’t eat too much of this heavenly, smooth pate. It was also prettily decorated with radishes I think.
We both had the Char Grilled Redlands Farm Rib Eye with Duck Fat Chips, Roasted Onion and Balsamic Vinegar Butter and Roasted Parsnips with Almonds (£19.50) Wow wow wow - the steak was cooked to juicy medium perfecttion as requested and tasted so beefy with a lovely, smoky char on the outside. Yes there was quite a lot of fat on the meat, but that's ribeye for you, and it all adds to the flavour. The chips (am a proper chip fiend at the moment) were easily the best I have ever had - dark gold, super crunchy and absolutely gorgeous It was almost like they had been fried in a batter - they sounded like glass but were fluffy inside. Reckon they might use the Heston triple cook method, but whatever it is I am coming back for these on my lunch break!
So the bill came to £80 with the wine, and the food was excellent, it really was. If it was 10-12% cheaper I would eat here often, but given its formality and the extra expense, think it might be a place for special occasions only or possibly business meetings.