A SNUG bar with a roaring fire welcomed us when we arrived at the Greets Inn at Warnham for a rather special evening.
While the friendly regulars chatted with pints in hand, guests dressed for glitz and glamour were shown into the dining area for what was described as ‘a gourmet trip across Europe ’.
The five-course meal was devised to follow the route of the Orient Express, and promised ‘gastronomic delights’.
We were seated in our ‘carriage’ with six other diners, and were introduced to one another by proprietor Duncan Entwistle before the culinary journey began in London with a traditional ‘Cockney East End’ pie, mash and liquor.
These turned out to be bite-sized treats in a lovely thin crispy pastry case, perfect for popping into your mouth while getting to know everyone around the table.
It became clear that many of the other diners are frequent visitors to the inn, and the tale was repeated by many of how Duncan had turned the pub’s fortunes around since his arrival.
His efforts to have creative theme nights have certainly been welcomed by those we met, who described the immense work he has put into successful events including a Harry Potter evening.
Head chef Paul Lowe is also held in high regard by those we met who dine at The Greets often, and we were pleased to learn why.
The second course took us to Paris with a delicious Bouillabaisse accompanied by a glass of sweet white wine.
I’m normally cautious with seafood, and not the biggest fan, but I was pleasantly surprised. Packed with fresh morsels including mussels and squid, and served with bread and a spicy dip, this was tasty without being overwhelmingly fishy – a tribute to the freshness of the ingredients.
By the time we reached Austria with a generous portion of Viennese chicken, served with potatoes and red cabbage, I began to doubt I’d have room for the pudding.
The meat was coated in lovely crispy crumbs, the cabbage was sweet and the whole dish brought together with white Austrian wine served alongside.
By now we’d become well acquainted with those sharing our table, and the whole place had a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere as everyone chatted and laughed.
The Swiss chocolate pudding turned out to be light and creamy, and unsurprisingly I discovered I did have room to polish it off after all.
The fifth and final stop was in Constantinople, with coffee and Turkish Delight.
Chef Paul came out to chat to some of the guests, as Duncan toured the room ensuring everyone was happy with their meals.
The evening was priced at £50 per couple, including glasses of wine served with the courses, supplied by Deakin Fine Wines of Horsham.
This seems like very good value to me.
We found the food and service excellent, and it was a real pleasure to meet new people and share a highly memorable evening.