Yes, I can already hear you spluttering with disbelief.
Fine dining…in Worthing?
As a resident of Sunny Worthing, I’d be the first to concede that it’s not the number one place you’d think of for a sophisticated culinary experience. If you want a good meal, experience tells you to head in the direction of Brighton.
But things are changing.
Worthing is coming up in the world, and a whole range of different restaurants have opened in the past few years, with the promise of more to come.
The Dining Room is one such restaurant, offering a fine dining experience and aiming to put Worthing on the culinary map.
The head chef, Jean de Rien, who has been cooking for over 30 years and won awards for his efforts, has lived in Worthing for 23 years and is passionate about building its reputation.
‘Worthing has a great sense of fun, invention and welcome,” he said, “and that’s reflected in the eateries in the town. It’s really come on in the last 5 years or so, with great quality in all aspects of dining – from all-day breakfasts to fine dining, street food to world cuisine.”
So, I decided to visit The Dining Room to see what all the fuss was about.
What’s on offer?
Perhaps the most exciting serving is the ‘Secret Seven Menu’, described as ‘seven courses of pure delight’. However, while reasonably priced at £48, at MoneyMagpie we’re really keen to get the best possible experience at the most affordable price, so we ate off the TDR Menu.
“At The Dining Room we have a range of menus to cater for all budgets and tastes,” explains Jean. “Our TDR menu features small plates at £7 each, specially designed to mix, match and share. Don’t think it’s tapas… each dish is the size of a generous starter, so 4 choices between two people (plus a side dish or two at £3 each) will satisfy most appetites and that’s only £17 each (you may still have room for our desserts at £6 each!).”
So, essentially, for the same price as a chain restaurant you can get the fine dining experience – food made with quality, locally sourced ingredients and much nicer surroundings.
I went for the burger and fries (adventurous, I know!), and it was delicious. There are burgers, and there are burgers, and this was definitely good quality, tasty meat, made with love and care.
My guest and I enjoyed our meals with a bottle of prosecco. Soft drinks are, of course, available, but Jean pointed out to me that none of the bottles on the wine list are over £30.
I finished the evening with a chocolate brownie which was easily one of the best I’ve had.
But there’s more…
More than just the food, The Dining Room, although small, offers a really relaxing atmosphere to enjoy your food.
There’s an intimacy that you just don’t have at other restaurants – you feel like you’re being personally looked after.
And, as I was tucking into my dessert, the chef began to sing. Oh yes, did I forget to mention? Jean is the UK’s only singing chef!
“I’ve been cooking for 30 years (self-taught, apart from great lessons from my Mum)… but I’ve been singing for 40!” he told us. “I’ve always sung over the years and perform at local care homes and as a wedding singer. I perform at food festivals and events all over the South East and my new YouTube channel is set to launch at the end of October… think of it as a cross between Keith Floyd and Frank Sinatra!”
His singing really was a beautiful touch to a very fine dining experience and certainly put a smile on this writer’s face.
Undoubtedly I’ll be returning to this restaurant again.
If you’re in Worthing, or the surrounding areas, I recommend a visit. You won’t be disappointed.