Food & drink

Restaurant Interlude Wins First Michelin Green Star for West Sussex

Restaurant Interlude at historic Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens has been awarded a Michelin Green Star, the first restaurant in West Sussex to receive this accolade. It recognises Interlude’s outstanding sustainable practices and ethically sourced seasonal cuisine crafted by executive chef Jean Delport.

The Michelin Star award organisers said: “It’s quite an achievement to hold both a Michelin Star and a Michelin Green Star, but that’s exactly what the team at Interlude have managed thanks to their continued efforts towards sustainable gastronomy."

“The restaurant sits within the 240-acre Leonardslee Gardens, from which a sizeable chunk of the kitchen’s produce is sourced – including honey from their seven beehives and sap from their birch trees. These ingredients are crafted into creative dishes on a singular, regularly changing menu, designed to reflect the estate and the seasons, as well as to reduce food waste. Vines have been planted too and an orchard is on the way next.”

This is the fifth consecutive year that Restaurant Interlude has won a Michelin Star and its first Green Star since opening in 2018. To qualify, restaurants must meet strict criteria around sourcing of ingredients, waste management, resource efficiency, and communication of sustainability efforts.

“We are thrilled to have won our first Green Star,” said owner Penny Streeter OBE. “Sustainability has been central to Interlude's identity from the beginning. This award is a tremendous endorsement of the hard work of our talented team in creating memorable dining experiences and their care for our environment."

Chef Delport’s seasonally-inspired tasting menus enable guests to intimately connect with the Leonardslee Estate through its flavours, he says: “Each week we forage our woods and gardens to see what’s available to harvest. Guests can truly taste the seasons reflected on their plates, from berries in summer, to mushrooms in autumn, to preserved fruits and veg in winter.”

Leonardslee Estate

Chef Delport was only the second South African chef to earn a first Michelin Star and one of the youngest at 31 years old. He leads a team of seven kitchen staff in preparing unique multi-course dining experiences, such as braised estate rabbit with winter purslane and estate venison with juniper-infused sauce. An onsite vegetable garden, chicken enclosure and beehives that produce estate honey supplement foraged goods.

Guests arriving at Restaurant Interlude are welcomed in the grand hallway, with drinks in the bar and then seated together around 6pm in the restaurant, enjoying views across the English Heritage Listed woodland gardens in the steep valley below, as well as east and south towards the South Downs.

The Michelin award also recognised the Leonardslee estate’s considerable work in the restoration of its historic buildings. Restaurant Interlude is within Grade II Listed Leonardslee House, built in an Italianate style in 1855. It features ten luxury en-suite bedrooms, with each featuring the fabric and wallpaper style of a quintessential British interior design house, with a strong commitment to sustainable and artisan composition.

Penny Streeter and her design team from Johnston Parke Interiors studio focused on British-based suppliers. They sourced antiques to reduce any environmental impact and commissioned furniture suppliers who make their products in the UK. This included David Seyfried for upholstery, Hypnos for beds, BTC Original for lighting, as well as Edward Bulmer, and Farrow and Ball for paints.

Visitors to Leonardslee can tour its vineyards, which will be producing Sussex wines from June 2024. The 37 acres of vineyards and 70,000 vines will eventually yield an anticipated 125,000 bottles per year of sparkling wine cultivars, 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier.

Restaurant Interlude offers an opportunity for environmentally-conscious diners to taste the very best of West Sussex's natural bounty. Reservations at Restaurant Interlude are available Thursday to Sunday weekly and can be booked online at the restaurant's website. Seatings begin at 6:00 pm inside the restored mansion house with sweeping views of the gardens and vineyards.

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