Reviews of this bijou spot have been mixed since its opening, but our experience was stellar. Run by chef-proprietor Taylor Bonnyman, Five Fields has a native British focus using fresh produce from its own gardens in East Sussex (complete with ex-gardener from Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons).
Careful sourcing extends to fish from Cornwall, scallops from Orkney, and Yorkshire lamb. Dishes are simple and playful. ‘Kitchen garden’ is a celebration of own-grown herbs, fruits, flowers and vegetables – and far more than mere salad. ‘Rock pool’ demands a supplement (£8), but is well worth it for the gustatory drama of exquisitely prepared fish and shellfish arriving in stages. Flavour combinations beg to be tried: veal sweetbread with glazed shin meat, gooseberries and chicory, say; or braised beef short rib (a trendy cut) with beetroot, cherries and smoked ricotta.
Desserts are riddled with vegetables – in August, cep sponge with peaches and butterscotch praline; cucumber with white chocolate sorbet and basil-ash meringue; and garden peas with chocolate soil and coconut sorbet. The cocktail list is similarly intriguing, and wines stretch from Kent to Yamanashi, Japan, though France dominates. Plenty of extras are included in the three-course £45 menu, so that it feels just as special as the longer options.