Sylvan Oak Big flavours from a little village
Just down the road from Brighton lies the picture perfect Findon, an idyllic chocolate box village just 10 minutes north of Worthing, whose community boasts a delicious secret; it is home to the highly acclaimed restaurant, The Sylvan Oak.
Sylvan Oak restaurant was born because of a very strong family tradition in the restaurant business with a consuming passion for excellent food. Having owned a portfolio of highly successful restaurants within the area for a number of decades, the family’s current establishment has been attracting diners from far and wide, all lured by the owner Sinan’s unique culinary style. Influenced by the basis and style of French cuisine and their delicate flavours and techniques, the Sylvan Oak menu takes inspiration from the traditional and marries it with the contemporary using European, Middle Eastern and Asian influences.
Due to it’s sheer popularity, bagging a reservation at the Sylvan Oak isn’t easy and so when we were invited to review this sought after restaurant, we were thrilled to accept and beat the waiting lists!
Situated on the site of what was historically a bank and subsequently many other restaurants over the years including a fish restaurant, the building itself is both quaint in that many original features remain, but also beautifully and respectfully contemporary. You could say that the setting is the perfect mirror to the menu itself where tradition meets innovation and modern elegance. Oak flooring elm bar and exposed beams go towards creating an elegant and relaxed dining room. There are currently grand plans to extend the current dining room ready for the festive season and install a feature open kitchen so as to allow diners to share on the theatrics of the culinary craftsmanship. To the rear of the restaurant lies a secret sun-terrace which provides the perfect al fresco retreat for those balmy summer days.
The menu itself changes on a regular basis, dependent on seasonal produce and Chef’s inspirations at the time. What is always guaranteed is that every dish is bursting with flavour, yet not over-powering as synergy between flavours, colour, texture and aroma are so carefully thought out during hours of experimenting to get each dish perfect.
The main menu is offered at £30 for two courses and £36 for three. Also available is the Select Menu which is available Wednesday to Saturday lunch and Tuesday to Thursday evening (two courses £20 and three courses £26) and Sunday lunch starts at £24.00 for 2 courses.
For starters I opted for the ‘Nutbourne Heritage Tomatoes Salad, Tomato Tartare & Goats Cheese Custard’; a light and fresh dish, celebrating the humble tomato, married beautifully with the comforting and smooth savoury custard. My husband opted for the ‘Crayfish Tails Cocktail with Avocado, Mango and Papaya’ which proved exotic in both appearance a flavour. It is so very evident that each dish is put together with such finesse and attention to details. Every ingredient has been prepared so that it’s flavour is showcased beautifully and delicately balanced with its comrades on the plate.
Choosing the main course was more of a struggle as the menu is jam-packed with food people really want to eat! After much deliberation we both went down the seafood route. I chose the ‘Cod with Leek Rosti, Julienne Vegetable Tempura, Vanilla Saffron & Coriander Sauce’ and the hubby went for the ‘Wild Sea Trout with Crushed Peas, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Asparagus & Pink Grapefruit Veloute’. Both dishes were visually magnificent, with each aspect of the dish presented with artistic flair and consideration. The fish itself fell apart as it met our forks, so very fresh and soft on the palette, singing with the flavours of the sea. My highlight was the Julienne Vegetable Tempura; a wonderfully chaotic haystack of thinly coated vegetables, including carrots and aubergine, offering a suitable sweetness to the dish.
Dining at the Sylvan Oak is an unhurried experience. The waiting team allow you to relax in the calm surroundings and take time to savour every mouthful of your chosen dish, whilst always being subtlety on hand should you require any assistance. Our experience was the perfect testimony to the restaurant’s philosophy – a belief in relaxed, affordable and unhurried fine food experience and and an insistence on sourcing local Sussex ingredients and drink wherever possible.
The dessert menu was once again brimming with favourites with a twist, but we both chose the classic ‘Hot Chocolate Fondant with Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream’ – the ultimate pudding test! These soft sponged domes of heavenly oozing chocolate were a very fine creation indeed. Matched with the smooth and creamy ice cream and the take-your-time ethos, we enjoyed 15 minutes of uninterrupted gastronomic bliss.
The Sylvan Oak is ideal for family celebrations, that intimate supper or it can even be privately hired for a party or special occasion. Open every day aside from Mondays and open for both lunch and dinners, this is a very popular restaurant that currently turns away more diners than they are able to seat! Although the refurbishment and extension will allow for more covers, we advise you to book well in advance as this is a restaurant that is worth the trip in the car for, and once made, it’s a trip I guarantee you will be making time and time again
For more information or to make a reservation, please visit www.sylvanoakfindon.co.uk