Established in 2008 by Tristan Mason, Restaurant Tristan is Horsham’s Michelin Star and 3 AA Rosettes restaurant and a fantastic fine dining experience. It’s described by the Michelin Guide as “High quality cooking, worth a stop!” and if you’re in the area, it is definitely worth a visit.
Tristan trained under Marco Pierre White at The Mirabelle, and under head chef Paul Merrett at The Greenhouse. He was head chef at The Hare in Berkshire where he achieved his first Michelin-star at just 29. In 2008, Tristan arrived in Horsham and opened Restaurant Tristan. He achieved his first star in the Michelin Guide UK in 2013.
A few challenges
The restaurant has definitely faced a few challenges over the years. Not least, few in the Horsham area will forget that on Christmas Eve in 2015, a fire swept through the restaurant causing widespread damage. Amazingly, Tristan’s reopened in just 2 months.
In 2020, along with the rest of us, Tristan’s were faced with forced closure again due to the Covid pandemic lockdown. Undeterred, they launched “Tristan in da House”, a menu of “Finish at Home” dishes, that were prepped, portioned, and ready for you to cook at home – thereby keeping many of the area’s foodies well fed! I gave this a go, and although my finished version didn’t look as it should (I’m no chef), it was passable, tasted great, and was fun to prepare during the tedium of lockdown.
Your Tristan fine dining experience
Set off East Street (one of the town’s prettier streets) in a period building, old oak beams give the restaurant plenty of character. Having been lucky enough to eat here a number of times over the last few years, the service has always been impeccable and the sommelier attentive (remembering favourite wines from previous visits and even putting aside a bottle). Along with the seasonal a la carte menu, Tristan’s also offers a six or nine-course tasting menu with wine pairings. Between most, if not all, courses you can expect a little amuse-bouche. They also do breakfast!
If you’re not in it for the full nine courses, the two-course menu is a very reasonable £30 whilst the three-course menu is £45 which makes it an excellent way to enjoy an indulgent lunch.
On my most recent visit, I had the “Black tempura squid/ scallop/ ginger” which whilst probably not the most photogenic dish, was possibly the best squid I’ve ever had (and I’ve eaten a lot of squid).
My companion and I then opted for the “Tikka monkﬁsh/ burnt clementine/ prawn and pumpkin doughnut” and “Lamb/ Jerusalem artichoke/ juniper granola/ Darjeeling” which were both equally good. Perfectly cooked, tender, and well-balanced.
Before finishing up with “Chocolate pain perdu/ hazelnut/ sea buckthorn” and the “Cosmopolitan Mille-feuille”.
I always think that the sign of a really good restaurant (and perhaps this is my age showing) is how comfortable you are when you leave on a full stomach and how able you are to return to your desk and carry on work. The individual dish sizes at Tristan’s are small but I’ve always left feeling well-sated whilst fully able to function. If any fault could be found, I’d like to have known a little more about the amuse-bouche. Would I recommend Tristan’s? Absolutely, for foodies exploring our area or anyone wanting a memorable and special experience, it’s one of the must-visits.
If you’re looking for other great places to eat in Sussex, try: