Food and Drink August 29, 2011
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The Bay Tree Restaurant
Location: 21 Tarrant Street, Arundel, BN18 9DG [map]
Phone: 0845 201 0323
Open: Tues-Sat 10.30am-3pm, 6.45pm-9.30pm (last orders); Sun 10.30am-5.30pm

This small but perfectly formed restaurant exudes warmth and cosiness, encouraging intimacy with its calming interior. We instantly felt at home in the French bistro-esque dining room, and were greeted with genuine smiles. Run by Mike and Valerie Moore, who have an excellent reputation in the local area, the popularity of The Bay Tree is easily understood. Fresh food of the highest calibre, using only the finest seasonal ingredients, is what's on offer. The menu changes every three to four months to take advantage of the rolling seasons, and boasts genius culinary creations like goat's cheese creme brűlée, and venison with a bitter chocolate sauce. The foundations are in British cuisine but with an enthusiastic nod to the Mediterranean; its easy to see why they were awarded an AA rosette for culinary excellence.

I chose ham hock terrine to start, while my partner had chargrilled chicken, sun-blush tomato and pine nut open lasagne - the exquisite flavours leaving us in no doubt of the chef's expertise. Succulent lamb noisettes, pink in the middle as they should be, and free-range chicken breast with Dauphinois potatoes and perfectly cooked vegetables were devoured with total appreciation. We finished with caramel and vanilla panna cotta and the cheeseboard, with seven different types of cheese. Although we dined in the evening, there is also an extensive daytime menu, with favourites such as an English breakfast, Sunday roast and the quintessential cream tea, which can be enjoyed on the sun-dappled terrace - delightful.

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