We enjoyed a trip to Rye at the weekend, I must admit that we hadn’t been there for some years and had quite forgotten it’s wonderful charm and character. We had a lovely stroll around its streets, some of which are cobbled, and were enchanted by is crooked, half timbered medieval houses and it’s quaint Norman church. Staying the night with friends who live nearby, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the restaurant of Tillingham , a natural and biodynamic wine producer in nearby Peasmarsh.
Tillingham, first and foremost a vineyard and farm, opened a restaurant with rooms in their stylishly converted barn last September. Downstairs there is a wine bar serving their own wine and those of their favourite producers, and upstairs there is a restaurant; a wonderful, modern space with views across the vineyards. Outside, in the middle of their ‘farmyard’, they have converted a dutch barn into an outside kitchen and a terrace, where they serve pizzas.
The restaurant, where we dined, serves a set menu and is open Wednesday to Saturday night, but after speaking with the owner it seems they are contemplating also opening for Sunday lunch – which would be great for us London day trippers!…
We enjoyed a fantastic meal, starting with a Salad of Tomato, Goats Curd & Herbs – the flavours were beautifully lifted by the addition of the dill and mint. This was followed by Pappardelle with Courgette & Cora Linn (a salty sheep’s milk cheese). As I am gluten free I didn’t have this dish (although my fellow diners assured me it was delicious), instead I was served a Warm Salad of Lentils with Courgette, Beans and the aforementioned Cora Linn – it was extremely good, with salty overtones from the cheese. For our main course we enjoyed Roast Romney Lamb from Suffolk, with Green Beans, Dijon & Almonds; a simple dish but with beautiful, clean flavours. We opted for the additional cheese course, Brightwell Ash Goats Cheese with Sourdough Crisps and Pickled Cherries, I had never tasted pickled cherries before, and I discovered that they are a lovely, tangy accompaniment to a creamy cheese. Finally for dessert, we tucked into Baked Plums and Strawberries with a dollop of thick cream – a truly tasty, British pudding! Our meal was complimented by bottles of their Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir, both bioganic wines, which although still very young and rather crisp, complimented the simple yet very tasty flavours of our food.
I would definitely recommend Tillingham for dinner and very much hope they decide to open for Sunday lunch, as not only would it be an easy day trip out of London but also, during the day, we would really be able to appreciate the views across its vineyards on to Romney Marsh and out to the sea. It is possible to stay the night, they have 11 rooms, I must admit that I did not personally see them, however, looking at their website, they seem to be stylishly designed.
So there you have it, a perfect excuse for a weekend getaway in which you can enjoy great food in-house and the beautiful countryside around this corner of East Sussex – I particularly recommend a stroll around Rye and Winchelsea, while there are some great coastal walks nearby!