The internationally-renowned chef Marco Pierre White has opened his latest venture at The King’s Arms in Fernhurst.
Marco said he had always had a soft spot for West Sussex as at one time he lived near Petworth and, although he was not looking specifically for anywhere when he saw The King’s Arms, he knew it was the place he wanted to open his next restaurant.
It is being billed as a restaurant that serves ales rather than a pub that serves food - somewhere smart enough for a business lunch, cool enough for the young to eat at, romantic enough for those special occasions and equally good as a place to take your mother or mother-in-law for lunch.
“The feel of a place is very important,” said Marco, “and I feel that Fernhurst chose me. I liked the space even though I have redesigned it to make more.
“When you sit down you are at a proper-sized table with proper linen tablecloths and real flowers. Going out to eat is an experience.”
A meal, and even a stay overnight at Wheeler’s at The King’s Arms, looks as though it will be just that.
The dining rooms are decorated not only with Marco’s own collection of cartoons, but also with a number of enlarged framed photographs of the village and local area chosen from the village archive.
Marco sets high standards and these will be kept up by the newly-appointed manager, Tom Downing, brought in from the Grand Hotel at Brighton, and the young chef, Simon Lawrence, who has come from another of Marco’s restaurants, The Yew Tree in Berkshire.
There is a range of menus over the week, from Sunday specials, Sunday supper and table d’hote, as well as a la carte and aspirational dishes.
Marco was brought up in Leeds and his palette developed during his childhood, so being a proud Yorkshireman the menu will always include some comfort dishes along with more exotic offerings of brown shrimp cocktail, local partridge and Scottish beef. Althogh Marco has fingers in a mass of pies and will not actually be cooking at this inn, he said he would be keeping a careful eye on the King’s Arms, visiting several times a week.
He will be signing his latest book, Marco Made Easy, at The King’s Arms, on Saturday, November 6 from 4pm to 5.30pm.