When I visited: May 2017
Location: Sussex, East Grinstead (within Alexander House Hotel and Spa)
Rating in the Michelin Guide: Not in Guide (used to be recommended)
What to wear: Men – jeans or nice trousers and a shirt; women – jeans and a smart top or a smart dress
Ambience: Formal dining room
Course of the meal: Strawberry parfait with sorrel granita
If I could change one thing: Cheaper side dishes
AG’s is the posh option for dinner within Alexander House Hotel and Spa; it’s where you go if you want a really good meal after a long hard day of chilling out in the pool and sauna. The ambience is perfect – a formal dining room with a roaring fire, with pretty crockery and attentive service.
The food was hearty and tasty country food throughout but quite expensive (probably due to scarcity power) and the sides in particular were overpriced – £6 for some carrots is a bit much, even if they are honey-glazed.
My partner Owl and I enjoyed an a la carte dinner, in which lots of dishes were prepared in front of us at the table. We also enjoyed a bottle of red 2012 Rioja Riserva, which went well with everything. Our canapés were beetroot and carrot crisps with olive, pesto and anchovy, followed up with a tasty amuse bouche of prawn pastry with fennel.
The bread options were brown or sourdough with unsalted butter, and we were given a large rock of Himalayan salt to grate ourselves – a nice touch. Our starters were scallops with Serrano ham crisps and crab with sorbet, which were both good if not particularly innovative.
For our main course, we shared a medium Chateaubriand steak with honey glazed vegetables including carrots, and Heritage potatoes. The whole main was good and hearty but the steak didn’t have the amazing flavour that it might have had in somewhere like Hawksmoor or MASH.
My dessert (strawberry parfait with sorrel granita) was a high point as it was the perfect combination of sweet and sharp, and my partner Owl’s coconut bavarois matcha meringue with passion fruit sorbet was lovely and light as well. We were also given some tasty petits fours with our green teas – a mini lemon meringue cake, fudge, cherry truffle and mint truffle.
I would recommend going to AG’s if you are in this hotel, but I feel that if they reduce the prices of the sides and perhaps add a few little innovative touches to some of the dishes, this would improve the overall experience.