Eats and Arts in West Sussex

This journal covers quite a small area of West Sussex and includes two attractions in the city of Chichester as well as some eateries and a craft centre in a small town and a village.

Sausages galore!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by frangliz on June 22, 2012

I had been to the Sussex Brewery a couple of times several years ago when I lived on the outskirts of Havant. My son, his partner and I ventured back there a couple of months ago one Sunday lunchtime, but alas it was full. We decided it might not be quite as busy on a Wednesday evening in June, and arrived just after 7pm. This time we were lucky, as only one table of the four in the dining area was occupied. We chose a table for four in the corner and a waitress brought menus. For drinks we ordered one pint and one half pint of orange juice, and a pineapple juice mixed with lemonade. We had a quick look at the specials board and then concentrated on the menu, as the brewery is known as "the home of the sausage," and we had come for the sausages.

There are six starters on the menu, including soup of the day (£4.95), baked camembert suitable for sharing (£7.95) and chilli nachos (£5.95). We didn’t, however, want to spoil our appetites with starters. Other than sausages, main dishes range from ham, egg and chips (£8.95) through pork wellington (£10.95) to sirloin steak (£14.95). Vegetarians can choose between mushroom stroganoff and green Thai curry (both £8.95).

The Sussex Brewery serves seventeen varieties of O’Hagan’s sausages as well as four kinds of vegetarian sausages. Sausage and mash with onions and gravy for one is £9.95, and there is a choice of peas, baked beans or mixed vegetables as an accompaniment. A platter for two is £19.50, thus saving 40p. I ordered the individual meal with one pork, ginger and coriander sausage (one of five gluten free varieties) and one lamb, honey and mustard sausage, plus mixed vegetables. My son and his partner had the platter for two with one Cumberland sausage, one Chichester ale, one lamb, honey and mustard and one drunken duck, which has duck, turkey, brandy and apples as ingredients. The drunken duck is one of five exotic varieties for which there is a 75p surcharge. They ordered peas with their platter.

While we were waiting for our food the dining room did start to get busier. A party of five women were accommodated at the largest table and another group of four at the last table. There is plenty of space between each table so private conversation is easily possible. The speaker in the corner near us was pumping out Aerosmith and Alice Cooper oldies, but the volume was not so loud as to be intrusive.

It wasn’t an overly long wait for our main courses. My two sausages were served on top of the mash with onions and plenty of gravy. A dish of mixed vegetables was served separately and I was impressed by the variety; it included broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, parsnips and courgettes. I swapped a little for a few peas and thus had an even greater variety. The platter for two had the four sausages all labelled on their plate for easy identification. I have to say that we all thought the food was scrumptious. The sausages are among the best I have had anywhere. I couldn’t, however, quite finish either of them or the mash, as the servings are so generous.

There are several desserts at £5.25 including honeycomb cheesecake and bread and butter pudding, several sundaes at £4.95, and a wide choice of New Forest ice cream flavours at £4.30. My son decided on an Eton mess sundae and his partner chose the sticky toffee pudding sundae. Being rather full already, I order a mint chocolate chip ice cream. The two sundaes came first, and I did begin to wonder if they had forgotten my ice cream. Eventually it came. As with the main course, we had no complaints, and as with my main course, I just couldn’t quite finish my dessert. The sundaes did look a bit naughty, but my son pointed out that his did at least have some fruit in it! Excuses...

The ladies’ toilet is reached via the pub area, which was quite crowded. One or two people were eating there too. There is just one cubicle in the ladies with a washbasin outside. It isn’t ultra-modern, as you would expect in a traditional pub such as the Sussex Brewery, but it was clean enough and well supplied.

When I got back to our table, my son had just paid our bill by card; it came to £50.90 altogether. We left a tip in cash. The two waitresses who served us were polite and friendly and did their job efficiently. Perhaps the only criticism I could make is that two of the specials had sold out even though we arrived early in the evening. One of these was salmon en papillote which might have tempted me, but in truth you can’t go wrong with O’Hagan’s sausages.

Breakfast is also served at the Sussex Brewery, starting from £2.45 for butties and baguettes and going up to £9.95 for the Big Sussex Breakfast which is a huge full English served with a hot drink or fruit juice. Vegetarian options include bubble and squeak with poached eggs and fruit juice (£4.95) or toast with preserves and fruit juice (£2.95).

As well as sausages, there are fish dishes on the menu for lunch and dinner. Moules Marinieres in a Thai curry sauce are available as a starter (£5.95) or a main course with chips (£10.95). Fish and chips with mushy peas are £10.25, and there are daily specials too.

Lunchtime only offerings are around the £5-£6 mark and feature jacket potatoes, omelettes, ploughman’s lunches, and sandwiches and baguettes. Vegetarian choices are available for each of these. The main menu is served at lunchtime too.

There are four main courses, each £5.50, on the children’s menu, but no vegetarian options unless the veggie sausages are offered. Desserts are either ice cream (£3.50) or chocolate brownie with ice cream (£4.25).

The Sussex Brewery is in fact only just inside West Sussex, as it is situated on the eastern outskirts of the town of Emsworth which is actually in Hampshire. It is within easy reach of Havant and Chichester, and about ten miles from Portsmouth. As well as the pub and the dining room there is an outdoor area, and there is a car park. Any devotee of sausage and mash should seriously consider making a visit, and it might be advisable to book a table.

The Sussex Brewery serves breakfast on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and most Bank Holidays from 9am to 11am. Groups can book midweek breakfasts in advance.
Lunch is from noon to 2.30pm Monday to Saturday, and from noon to 6pm on Sunday, or 8pm on Bank Holiday weekends.
Dinner is from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

The Sussex Brewery
36 Main Road
Emsworth, England, PO10 8AU
01243 371533

A Gem of an Art Gallery

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by frangliz on July 29, 2009

Housing one of the finest collections of modern British art outside of London, Pallant House Gallery is situated in Chichester, close to the cathedral and main shopping centre. Coming myself from a larger city in which I am sure it would be difficult to see the work of a major artist, I was quite astounded to find the Pallant Gallery tucked away in a little side street, yet boasting the ownership of works by Richard Hamilton, Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield, Eduardo Paolozzi and Frank Auerbach amongst others.

This is a gem of a gallery, and it is no surprise that it was awarded the Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year in 2007. At the time of my visit the gallery was holding a temporary exhibition (running until 8th June 2008) centring around Colin St John Wilson, a collector and architect, and another entitled The Artist at Work: William Coldstream and Michael Andrews, which finishes on 11th May, 2008. The connection between the two is that Colin St John Wilson wrote a book based on his experiences of sitting for a portrait by both Coldstream and Andrews. Wilson, who died in May 2007, was essentially an architect, and it was fascinating to see his plans and model for the first phase of the British Library, a building that I have not yet visited but certainly wish to, having seen this exhibition. One large photograph of the interior of the library could be seen from two rooms away through two open doorways; I must have toured a good few art galleries in my life, but I have never seen anything quite so cleverly thought out as this. Equally striking were sketches and a colour photograph of a library that Wilson designed for a primary school in memory of his father. Its design is based on that of a mausoleum, and whilst this may sound somewhat morbid, what first caught my eye were the vivid primary colours used in the interior which made me feel that it must be a pleasure to spend time in this library, especially for young children.

I particularly liked the feel of the gallery in terms of its small scale that gave an intimacy with the works of art. The individual rooms have quite low ceilings, and several of them are no bigger than the rooms of a house. There were quite a few visitors, yet I never had to wait long to be able to stand right in front of a particular work and enjoy the details of it without being jostled by other viewers. In one room there was even a small window, allowing not only a view on the outside world but also the opportunity to see a piece of sculpture and a painting with the natural light of day falling upon them, as you might if you owned them yourself. It was also fascinating to see sketches, plans and preliminary drawings alongside finished works of art, a feature that is usually missing from grander galleries such as the Tate.

The modern art is displayed on Level 2, but from Level 1 there is access to the Historic Collections in the older part of the building. Somehow an Andy Goldsworthy sculpture has found its way into one of the fireplaces here, so you never know quite what to expect. Those who prefer traditional art to contemporary sculpture and painting will feel more at home in this part of the gallery.

Later this year, from 21st June until 12th October 2008, the work of Colin Self will feature in an exhibition entitled Art in the Nuclear Age. This will be the first major retrospective of the British exponent of the Pop Art movement. On 25th October 2008, an exhibition dedicated to the work of Eileen Agar will open, running until 15th March 2009. Her paintings show the influence of Cubism, abstraction and British Romanticism.

Tours of the gallery are offered, and one was in fact in progress as we entered Room 10 that Saturday afternoon. This room focusses mainly on Pop Art by artists such as Peter Blake (designer of the sleeve for the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album) and Richard Hamilton. I have never been a fan of guided tours, and I was a little dismayed to hear the guide refer to Mick Jagger as 'one of the Beatles', but I'm sure this was a slip of the tongue and that she genuinely knows her stuff! There is no extra cost for guided tours, and they take place on Thursdays at 6pm and on Saturdays at 3pm. On the final Saturday of each month, a British Sign Language Interpreter accompanies the tour. There are also occasional tours of temporary exhibitions on weekdays; there is an extra charge for these, ranging from £4 to £6 (with a discount for students), but either morning coffee, afternoon tea or a glass of wine in the case of an evening tour are included in the price.

Talks take place on Thursday evenings at a cost of £7 (half price for students) which includes a glass of wine. These are given by distinguished speakers such as art historian and author William Feaver and M J Long, partner and wife of Colin St John Wilson. There is also a talk by a gallery guide at 11am on the last Wednesday of the month on an individual work of art; attendance for this is free once you have a ticket for the gallery. A workshop follows the Wednesday morning talk, during which participants are encourage to 'respond creatively to works under guidance from an experienced arts educator'. ( A quote from the gallery's leaflet.) It costs £6 to take part in each workshop and you have to bring your own art materials.

Another opportunity to develop your artistic skills if you already have some experience is offered on some (but not all) Sunday afternoons in the Art Masterclass starting at either 1pm or 2pm and running until 4pm. These classes are given by artists experienced in various fields such as printmaking, life drawing, experimental drawing, watercolour or acrylic painting. Such classes must be booked well in advance. The current fee is £9, and there may be an additional charge for materials and, in the case of life drawing, for the model. You do, however, need to bring your own basic materials.

Children are not ignored by the gallery, although I didn't see signs of any during my visit that Saturday afternoon. Workshops for children can be booked in advance for Saturday mornings from 10am until 12noon; the cost is £6 per child (next to nothing compared to costs for private tuition). Each workshop is aimed at a particular age group, for instance 5-8 year olds, 9-12 year olds or 13-16 year olds, so you need to check on suitability for your child when you book. Themes range from flowers and pods for the youngest age group through forms in nature or a miniature art gallery for 9-12s to buildings in mixed media or drawing the gallery itself for the teenagers. Pallant House does offer some free workshops led by artists during school holiday periods for children between 5 and 16; each lasts for two hours. There is no need to book in advance for these workshops, but places are limited so it is advisable to attend early for a 10am start or 1pm for the afternoon session.

The bookshop, on your immediate left as you enter the gallery, has an excellent stock of art books, prints, greetings cards, postcards and one or two art materials as well as a small number of books on the local area. Also on the ground floor is the Pallant Restaurant.

The admission fee for Pallant House Gallery is a fairly hefty £6.50, but this does cover any special exhibitions in addition to the permanent collection. You can, however, enter for half price all day Tuesday or on Thursday evenings between 5 and 8 pm. There are discounts for children, students and Art Fund members, whilst the unemployed do not have to pay. A family ticket costs £15 for two adults and up to four children.

The gallery is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until 5pm, with an extension on Thursday until 8pm; Sunday and Bank Holiday opening hours are from 12.30pm to 5pm. Pallant House is closed on Mondays. The main collection and exhibitions are displayed in the upper levels, but there is a lift as well as stairs.

I would encourage anyone with an interest in art who is either visiting the area or who lives near enough to make a day trip to Chichester to visit Pallant House Gallery. It is only about half a mile from the railway station, and even closer to the bus station, for those like myself travelling by public transport. Parking is available on South Pallant just a few yards away.
Pallant House Art Gallery
9 North Pallant
Chichester, England
+44 01243 774557

A Civilised Italian Lunch

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by frangliz on August 5, 2009

Finding somewhere for a late lunch on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Chichester might not be an easy thing to do. The crowds were out. We decided to try Pizza Express first, as my son and his partner had recently visited the one in Gunwharf Quays and had been giving me ecstatic descriptions of their new ice cream. On entering, however, we were greeted by rubbish on the floor, balloons here and there, and noise everywhere. We made a quick exit and decided to try Prezzo, which a friend had recommended to me.

What a difference. The restaurant is housed in what was formally the White Horse pub, as can be seen from the stained-glass windows and the odd horse's head dotted around. There are oak beams, pillars and shelving, with lighting from spotlights on the beams. I can imagine that it might be a little dingy on a grey day, but that afternoon there was plenty of sunshine streaming through the windows. Arty vases, painted statues of a nun, a chef and a lady in evening dress amongst others jostled alongside huge jars of pickles and a grandfather clock to decorate the shelves.

There were several free tables, and a waitress showed us to one near the front of the restaurant. I did feel that I sank down a little too far into the leather chair, and I noticed later that the seating further back looked a little more modern. We had scarcely been handed our menus when a waiter came to take our drinks order. My son and his partner ordered fresh fruit juice at £2.30 whilst I chose a Fruitiser at £2.05. We were asked if we would like some marinated olives (£2.45), and we decided we would. The drinks were soon served, but the olives took a few minutes more.

Prezzo's menu has the usual sections you would expect to find in an Italian chain restaurant, with starters, pasta, oven pasta dishes, pizza, risotto, specialities and salads. Perhaps the only difference is that Prezzo also has a section for roast chicken dishes, although I understand that in their newer branches this is replaced by a section for calzone, or folded pizzas. On arrival the waitress had shown us the 'specials' board which featured just one main course: fusilli pasta with asparagus, mushrooms, roasted peppers and green pesto at £7.95. It sounded healthy and I hadn't had pesto for a long time, so I made that my choice. My son opted for traditional lasagne at £8.55, and his partner ordered a pizza with prosciutto ham, mushrooms, marinated olives, fresh rosemary, mozzarella and tomato at £7.95. I was pleased to see that a special knife with a serrated edge was brought after the pizza was ordered, as I have often had difficulty cutting through pizza with the usual blunt restaurant knives.

The olives arrived in a small, narrow dish; there were a mixture of black and green. We savoured these whilst awaiting our main courses. Conversation was easy as the music was not too loud. I felt as though Pizza Express was on another planet – for a family with young children it would be the obvious choice, but if you want to relax in a more peaceful atmosphere, Prezzo is the place to go.

We didn't have to wait long for our main courses to be served. The waitress offered us grated parmesan, which I accepted, and also chilli oil for the pizza. My dish of fusilli pasta was huge, and delicious as it was, I was unable to finish it. I made sure I didn't leave any of the peppers, asparagus or generous mushroom slices, but good as the pesto was, it didn't allow me to get through all the pasta. My son was so enthusiastic about the lasagne that it made me think I would have to sample it next time I visit Prezzo. The pizza was good too: not too thick, and the slice of ham had been left whole, folded, and then covered with cheese. We had no complaints.

We asked to see the dessert menu and found that there were two kinds of cheesecake, pannacotta, sticky toffee pudding or fudge cake, all for either £4.25 or £4.50. Then, below these, we noticed
ice cream and hazelnut bombe, vanilla ice cream covered in chopped hazelnuts with a meringue centre, for a mere £2.95. Feeling rather full already, we all three opted for the ice cream bombe. It wasn't long before the desserts were brought in frosted glass dishes with long spoons. We all agreed that we had made the right choice. None of us ordered coffee, but I did noticed that all the hot drinks were priced under £2 which I feel is very reasonable compared to most establishments.

Our bill came to £42.40, to which we added a tip, making it just over £15 a head for two courses plus olives and a drink.

The toilets are at the back of the restaurant on the ground floor, so there are no problems for disabled customers. The ladies was certainly very clean.

The service at Prezzo was extremely polite and efficient throughout the time we were there. We have noticed recently in one or two other restaurants that the service is good initially and through the main course but then drops when we are trying to order dessert or ask for the bill. This certainly was not the case at Prezzo, although I should say that we arrived at 2.30pm and I realise things may be different at busier times.

I hope that I will have the opportunity to visit Prezzo again and lament the lack of a branch in Southsea. I don't know if other Prezzo restaurants are in such pleasant surroundings as the one in Chichester, of course. It isn't an atmosphere that will suit young children, but I would definitely recommend Prezzo to adults looking for good Italian food at reasonable prices in a relaxing environment.
61 South Street
Chichester, England, PO19 1EE
01243 536951

Indian Memories in West Sussex

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by frangliz on November 23, 2010

Having travelled by bus from Southsea to Bosham in West Sussex, my son and I knew we had to walk about a mile down to the village of Bosham and the shore. Thinking that we would be hungry after a walk and not knowing what eateries we would find in the village, we decided to take a look at Memories of India, a restaurant situated just the other side of the roundabout as we got off the bus. We noticed that at weekends it stayed open throughout the day, so we knew that we could come back to it if we didn't find anywhere that looked more interesting. Although there were one or two pubs and restaurants in Bosham village itself, we did eventually decide to return to Memories of India a few hours later; it was a decision we did not regret.

It was not much after 5pm on a Saturday when we entered the restaurant, and we could only see one table for two that was occupied. It was a little surprising therefore that the waiter asked if we had a reservation. We hadn't, of course, but he showed us to a table for two at one end of a long, narrow seating area which, we discovered later, was one of several. With its fitted carpet and festooned fabric on the ceiling, the interior seemed quite stylish. Tablecloths and napkins were linen, and the chairs had upholstered seating with slightly curved wooden backrests. Between this area and the bar was a low table with easy chairs for customers waiting for takeaway orders. Just in front of the bar stood a delightful wooden statue of an elephant that I attempted to photograph without much success.

We sat down and our waiter was very quick off the mark to put the napkins on our laps for us. A candle was lit and menus were brought. Memories of India has a good choice of starters, ranging from Onion Bhaji (£3.75) through Sheek Kebab (£4.50) to King Prawn Butterfly (£6.95). The main menu takes off with an extensive selection entitled Tandoori Cuisine and Chef's Recommendations. These include Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikka and Chicken Jalfrezi, all at £8.95; Garlic Chilli Lamb or Lamb Karai, both £9.25; or Jingha Charga, a king prawn dish, at £13.95. Biryani dishes are priced between £7.50 and £12.95, and there is a selection of meat and chicken dishes such as Korma, Dhansak and Vindaloo, all at £6.95. The four choices of Balti, three Goan and four Hash (duck) dishes range in price from £11.25 to £12.95. Vegetarians have fifteen dishes to choose from, including Sabzi Massala at £5.75, Sabzi Bahar at £6.25 and Sabzi Suganda at £6.95. The seafood dishes are all based on prawns, for example Chingri Madras at £7.75 and Jhinga Bhuna at £11.95. One of the most unusual sections on the menu is the Fish Specialities, where you will find five choices, including Ayre Jalfrezi at £12.95 and Meen Molee (coconut sea bass curry) at £13.95.

Vegetable side dishes are all priced £3.95 and include Vegetable Curry, Fresh Mushroom Bhaji, Bombay Aloo and Chana Massala. There is a choice of eight Indian Breads, such as Chapathi at £1.75. Rice, Papadams and Banana Sambol are listed under Sundries; Kashmiri Rice with fruits is £3.95.

We decided just to order three papadams with the usual selection of chutney, pickle, raita and onion salad as a starter, and we ordered fruit juice to drink. For our main course we decided that although the Meen Molee was a little pricey, it sounded so special that we would try it. It is a recipe from Kerala that uses fresh coconut, onions, garlic and chilli to make the sea bass curry. The fish at Memories of India is specially flown in from Bengal. We thought we would order a Chicken Pasanda (£8.95) as well and share the two dishes between us. We also ordered a portion of Kashmiri Rice and one Chapathi, again for sharing.

It wasn't a long wait before our main course was served, and we enjoyed our papadams with the accompaniments in the meantime. The Meen Molee came on a huge oval-shaped plate and consisted of three good-sized pieces of sea bass fillet with plenty of sauce. We split it between us and decided to enjoy it with some rice before moving on to the Chicken Pasanda. The Meen Molee was certainly something special – beautifully cooked sea bass in a sauce with delicate flavours. Perhaps not a dish for those who like very hot, spicy curries, but something unusual for anyone who loves fish and subtle flavours. The Kashmiri Rice was also very impressive; I was surprised to find that it contained a lot of lychee pieces, as this is a fruit I normally associate with Chinese food rather than Indian. There were one or two pieces of pineapple as well. Having finished the Meen Molee, we moved on to the Chicken Pasanda. This was served in a small but deep bowl, with flaked almonds on the surface. The pieces of chicken were extremely tender, and the sauce was mild and creamy without being too rich. Again, this is not a dish for those who want a fiery curry when they visit an Indian restaurant. I left the Chapathi for my son as the rice was enough for me, and he was quite happy with it.

We didn't have room for dessert as we had both had a filling slice of home-made cake at the Mariners' Cafe by the shore in Bosham earlier that afternoon. According to the menu at Memories of India, they offer a selection of fruit, sweets and liqueur coffees at £1.75, which sounds very reasonable. There is also coffee with cream at £1.50.

Our bill came to £36.60, and we added a tip as service was not included. Sealed hot towels were brought after we finished eating, and chocolate mints came when the bill was brought. The service throughout our visit was efficient and very polite. One or two of the waiters were not over-confident with their English, but that is really the only criticism I could make. A waiter that hadn't actually served us appeared as we were about to leave and seemed to speak English more fluently than the others. He was very helpful in giving us directions to the bus stop for buses heading back towards Portsmouth.

I visited the ladies' toilet before leaving – there was just the one, although there was a disabled toilet as well. The ladies' was very clean and well appointed, with a washbasin, hand-drier and two mirrors. All the toilets are on the ground floor and are easily accessible.

We left Memories of India at about 6.20pm, and although there had been a steady stream of takeaway customers while we were there, no-one else had come to eat in. The night was, of course, still young, but I asked for a takeaway menu and noticed that the prices were considerably lower. We felt, however, that we had had excellent value. There used to be an Indian restaurant called the Tiffin Room in Southsea that we thought was the best in the area. Unfortunately it closed down more than a year ago. It is praise indeed that we both agreed that the cuisine at Memories of India equalled that of the Tiffin Room. The shame for us, of course, is that it is a bit of a distance from Southsea. It is, however, within easy reach of Chichester, Emsworth or Havant, and by car the journey from Portsmouth would not be a long one. For those who love Indian food and are in the area, I would not hesitate at all to recommend a visit to Memories of India.

Opening times: Monday to Thursday 12 noon – 2pm and 5.30pm – 12 midnight;
Friday to Sunday 12 noon – 12 midnight, including bank holidays; on Sunday there is a buffet from 12 noon to 4.30pm.
Memories of India
Main Road (a259), Bosham Roundabout
Chichester, England, PO18 8PG
01243 572234

Lunch by the water's edge

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by frangliz on December 2, 2012

I had been to the Mariner’s Cafe in Bosham, West Sussex, about two years ago for coffee and cake and was enthusiastic about going again. It’s right at the end of the High Street by the water’s edge, and some of the tables have a view across the harbour. The first time I went it was so crowded that we didn’t manage to get a table with a view, but on our second visit we arrived at about 1pm on a Saturday and were surprised to find that the place was almost empty. We found a large round table from which we could see the swans and ducks enjoying the water. There are always cups and saucers sitting waiting on the tables, but for some reason they aren’t actually used.

There was a laminated menu already on the table, and a small board hanging up gave details of the day’s specials. These were homemade quiche of the day, coronation chicken either as a filling for a jacket potato or with a salad, and for dessert there was fruit strudel with cream or custard. Having had cake on our previous visit, although it had been excellent, we decided to try something savoury this time. Jacket potatoes with salad are mostly priced £5.50, and my son’s partner decided to have one with chilli. My son and I both went for the coronation chicken jacket. I had been tempted by the stilton and vegetable crumble (£6.75), and there was also a good choice of sandwiches on either white or wholemeal bread and several salads. My son asked for a pot of mint tea, his partner ordered a large cappuccino and I decided on a small Americano with which there was a choice of hot or cold milk. The waitress had come very promptly to take our order but she didn’t mind at all that we needed a bit more time to look at the menu. This wasn’t just because they were quiet, as people had begun trooping in soon after we arrived.

Our hot drinks were soon served, along with cutlery wrapped in paper serviettes. The cappuccino had a good dusting of chocolate. We agreed that the coffee was particularly good, and we are not the most easily pleased when it comes to coffee. Not long after that came the jacket potatoes. The accompanying salad consisted of lettuce, rocket, grated carrot, a slice of tomato and a slice of cucumber, in other words a good variety if not a huge amount. There was also a wrapped serving of butter for the jacket, although it was a little difficult to find the way to the potato underneath the generous fillings. I liked the fact that the coronation chicken contained thin slices of chicken rather than the usual chunks. The chilli was also apparently very good, and the potatoes were well cooked but not overly so. In other words, we all enjoyed our lunch.

The strudel sounded very tempting and we knew how good the cakes were, but we had all eaten well and resisted the temptation to have a dessert. My son went to the counter to pay the bill by card but had to come back to us as payment has to be made by either cash or cheque. Fortunately we did have enough cash between us. There was a note on the menu to say that a discretionary 10% service charge would be added to bills over £25, but I don’t think ours came to quite that much. We did leave a tip, however, as the owner and waitresses were very welcoming, efficient and polite.

There is just one ladies’ and one gents’ toilet with a single outer door and a shared washbasin. The ladies’ toilet itself was fine, but the grouting round the washbasin was very discoloured. As well as a hand drier there was a towel which seemed clean enough.

There is also a cafe in the craft centre nearby, but it doesn’t have the delightful view that the Mariner’s Cafe has. Having tried both lunch and cake at the Mariner’s, I can certainly recommend visiting, and the coffee alone is worth returning for. I’m not sure what the opening hours are, but if you are in the area this is a place worth visiting. Bosham is not far west of Chichester, but if you are travelling by rail it is roughly a mile south of Bosham railway station. If the tide is not too high you can go for a walk along the shore, and there is a Saxon church whose distinctive spire can be seen as you drive along the main road. Whether you’re feeling like some lunch, a sandwich, homemade cake or just a hot drink, the Mariner’s Coffee Shop is a delightful place.

There is a pay-and-display car park about two minutes’ walk away on the other side of the road.

The Mariners Coffee Shop
1 High Street
Bosham, West Sussex, PO18 8LS
01243 572960

Village Arts and Crafts

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by frangliz on December 9, 2012

Although I had been to the village of Bosham in West Sussex before, I hadn’t had chance to visit the Bosham Walk Art and Craft Centre. Last Christmas one of my sons had given me a beautiful hand-made felt scarf that he had bought at the centre, so when he suggested going there one Saturday in November, I didn’t turn down the opportunity. The centre is situated on Bosham Lane, not far from the coast. There is a pay-and-display car park just down the side turning opposite the centre.

The centre is a collection of seventeen individual shops in an old building with exposed wooden beams. The shops are quite tiny, but it’s easy to walk around the ground floor and have a good look inside any shop that takes your fancy without being jumped upon by eager sales assistants before you have had the chance to decide whether or not you want to make a purchase. There are original works of art in the form of paintings and photographs, many of which show delightful scenes of nearby Chichester Harbour. You will also find books, greetings cards, ceramics, textiles and glassware. Some of the items have a nautical theme in keeping with the local area. There are stairs to the upper floor where there are more shops, and it was upstairs that I found the handmade scarves similar to the one my sons had given me. There are also a new and second-hand bookstore and a second-hand clothes store. In one area there was a painting in the process of being restored, and there were handmade soft toys such as gonks which I remember from my younger days but hadn’t seen for years.

The centre is a super place to go gift shopping, but there are also opportunities to make crafts yourself. Beadazzle Beads looked to me like a haberdashery, but it in fact has a huge supply of beads, threads and tools to make your own jewellery on site. Instructions are available too, and you can ask for advice. If pottery is more your thing, you should go to Doodle and Daub, where you can paint wood or fabrics as well as ceramics. They hold courses from time to time, and you can organise a party there too.

Bosham House of Fudge is part of the centre but has a separate entrance just to the right of the main entrance. It’s a tiny shop but is chock full of ice cream, fudge, nuts, chocolate and jars of preserves, some of which are in gift packs. As soon as we entered, my son and his partner professed an interest in the fudge and we were invited to taste some. While they were deciding which flavours to buy (there are 24 altogether), I had a look around and eventually chose a pack containing two small jars, one of lemon curd and one of strawberry preserves for £3.35. There were similar packs with six small jars, each a different flavour, and there were chutneys too. If I ever go in the summer I shall be very tempted to try the ice cream.

Baileys Tea Room on the ground floor of the centre serves sandwiches and baguettes as well as two or three daily specials such as macaroni cheese. There are also homemade cakes and hot drinks. We didn’t have anything there that day as we had just had lunch at the delightful Mariner’s Coffee Shop a few yards away by the water’s edge.

There is just one unisex toilet on the ground floor of the centre. It’s not the most modern of facilities but it is clean enough.

Bosham Art and Craft Centre is a super place to visit if you’re looking for an unusual gift or if you and your family want to try your hand out at making crafts yourself. The village of Bosham itself is delightful; you can take a walk along the shore if the tide isn’t too high, and there’s a Saxon church with a distinctive spire that is worth a look. The centre is open from 10am to 5.30pm every day throughout the summer and at weekends in winter. On weekdays in winter opening hours are from 10am to 5pm. The centre is closed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and the first five weekdays of February.

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