Côte Brasserie, 1 East Street, Horsham, RH12 1HH. Four course meal from À La Carte menu with wine.
Having enjoyed several breakfasts, lunches and dinners at Côte Brasserie over the years, it felt the time was right to go all out and enjoy a four course meal with menu items that were completely new to us. Using vouchers Will’s parents gave us for Christmas, we booked online and looked forward to a Friday date night in the heart of Horsham.
As we arrived, the restaurant was very warm and welcoming against the cold evening, with lots of friendly chatter and many families sat in the downstairs foyer. We were shown to our table for two and were impressed to find we were seated upstairs with a wonderful view of the tall windows and stylish rise and fall lighting features.
Immediately, I was really taken with the soft lighting and golden hue of the candles; even though the restaurant was full it felt very cosy and intimate.
Our food order
Having studied the menu online to see how to best spend our £100 on a decadent evening of food and wine, we ordered the following starters, mains and desserts, accompanied by a bottle of Château la Croix de Queynac 2015, a fresh and fruity Bordeaux.
Fougasse – leaf shaped garlic bread with parsley and sea salt
French Onion Soup – rustic French onion soup with a sourdough croûte and melted Comté cheese
Calamari – breadcrumbed squid sautéed in garlic, lemon and parsley with tartare sauce
Roast Duck Breast – roasted duck breast (served pink) with gratin potato and a griottine cherry sauce
7oz Steak Fillet – served chargrilled with frites and roquefort butter
Chocolate Fondant – warm chocolate fondant with vanilla ice-cream
Tarte au Citron – traditional lemon tart with Normandy crème fraîche and raspberries
My particular food choices were the French Onion Soup, Roast Duck Breast and Chocolate Fondant, which I can now recommend as a good selection to enjoy together. I hadn’t tried any of this before from Côte, so it was an evening of new dishes and surprises.
Starters to desserts
First off, the Fougasse was huge and ideal to share between two or four people depending on appetites. The garlic really came through and the crisp edges of the bread were especially tasty. Coupled with the first glass of wine, it was a wonderful taste of France. However, not to be beaten, my French Onion Soup was rustic, deep with flavour and a perfect winter warmer. The melted Comté cheese reminded me of sitting in a ski lodge and as someone who had never tried French Onion Soup, I can say with confidence I will enjoy it again in the future.
At this point, you can imagine we were already quite satisfied and this is when the waitress intuitively asked us if we’d like a break before the main to sit, relax and enjoy our wine. We did so and caught up on our busy weeks as well as discussing plans for our upcoming anniversary.
After about 15 minutes we were ready for our next course. The waitress was always nearby so we didn’t feel like we had to rush and soon we were being presented with our mains of steak and duck.
The duck with cherry sauce was really full of flavour and cooked wonderfully; it’s served pink as standard. The meat was soft and juicy and the sauce made it even more succulent. It genuinely felt like a bit of fine dining and was happily savoured. Will’s fillet steak was also cooked as requested to medium rare and came with very crispy frites that I may have stolen a couple of sneakily.
After another little break and with a glass or so of wine left for the evening, we were ready to put our palettes onto something sweet. The chocolate fondant won out for me, but the chocolate mousse also caught my eye for another time.
Soft, light and rich, the fondant was beautifully presented and as I cut in, released a generous amount of warm chocolate sauce – creamy and dark. Ideal for any chocolate lover, it’s also the right size portion and not one of those desserts that you have to struggle through to finish out of sheer willpower!
If there was any dessert to give me food envy, it was the lemon tart. This was immensely refreshing and sharp, with a flaky pastry edge.
As we left to rejoin the cold evening air after around two and a half hours indoors, we were very satisfied and relaxed. The staff had been so friendly that it made the whole experience of treating ourselves extra special.
Our date night and Friday evening was made by this visit to Côte Horsham. Everything from the lighting to the service and food was perfect and sitting upstairs was the icing on the cake as we got to fully take in the building and atmosphere.
I’d recommend this as a romantic venue, just as much as I would for a friendly catch-up. It’s also a bit different to everywhere else in Horsham; we’re very lucky to have a huge number of Italian restaurants and of course classic British pubs, but where else can you go for Parisian food?
We thoroughly enjoyed it and they’ll be seeing us again soon. Have you been to Côte Horsham? What was your experience like and was food did you order? Let me know with a comment below or you can chat to me on Twitter at @GetJaunty.