Masterchef winner Kenny Tutt has opened his first restaurant in Worthing - and this is what we thought of the food.
Myself and reporter John Holden were invited along to the launch night of Pitch in Warwick Street, Worthing, yesterday (Thursday, May 23) - and we both turned up with empty stomachs, hoping to sample some of the gastronomical delights promised on the menu ahead of the grand opening to the public this evening.
And we were not disappointed. Glasses of English Blanc de Blanc sparkling white wine were fizzing alluringly upon entry, and the moment we sat down, the polite and helpful waiting staff presented us with a bowl of triple cooked chips sprinkled with sea salt and truffle mayonnaise.
Crunchy and moreish, this tided us over nicely until other dishes from Pitch’s menu were distributed among the teeming crowds of guests in canapé form.
The chicken parfait was a standout: silky, rich and packed with flavour. A gazpacho-style tomato consommé - a clear broth served in a shot glass with a dried tomato slice as a garnish - was initially mistaken as more booze but provided the same kick to the tastebuds as we knocked them back.
Oysters fanned on platters of ice had a similar effect, drizzled with a refreshing vinaigrette, and tided me over before what was for me the main event: a buffet of locally-sourced cheeses, breads and meats tucked away at the back of the restaurant.
I unashamedly went armed with two plates, and could have done back for seconds and thirds. Even the decoration was edible: bunches of grapes, tomatoes and figs strewn casually like a Renaissance still life painting. If this produce is what is advertised on the menu, you must find room for the cheese course.
Deserts followed: bite-sized, pan-fried brioche cubes adorned with marmalade cream and strawberry, which I found a tad dry - unlike delicious sour cream-filled profiteroles which I could have devoured a plate of happily.
My only regret was that I could not try the most eye-catching thing on Pitch’s menu: the savoury doughnuts, filled with goat’s cheese and truffle honey or ham hock and Sussex Charmer cheddar. The guests pounced the moment the poor waiters brought them out; but judging by their reactions they were much more than a gimmick.
According to the designer Esme Callaghan, the interiors were meant to reflect the humble deliciousness of Kenny’s food, so she opted for an opulent market theme, with a green colour scheme, concrete and wooden floors and a shop front as the dumb waiter. If you can, bag yourself a table on the top floor with a window seat.
The restaurant is reportedly booked up until November, so you may have to wait a while to try it for yourselves; but if the taste we had is anything to go by, the full experience will be well worth it.