A New Leaf
by Lisa De Silva
Now under new ownership, The Fig Tree restaurant in the centre of Hurstpierpoint continues to impress with its fine dining, elegant atmosphere and quality service – enjoy.
Inspired by a love of eating and a talent for creating and cooking modern fine dining of exceptional quality, young chef, James Dearden has enjoyed a stellar career, from training at Ockenden Manor, to Head Chef at the prestigious Ginger Fox and now to his own restaurant, The Fig Tree, in the lovely village of Hurstpierpoint.
James and his wife, Jodie, both grew up in the village, attending the local school and when the opportunity to take over the popular local restaurant arose, they couldn’t wait to get started.
“Having trained at Ockenden Manor, my heart has always been in fine dining and to have the chance to design and cook that type of food in the village where we both grew up is a fantastic opportunity,” explains James.
While Jodie looks after the front of house, James and his small team of highly qualified chefs create seasonal dishes from the best local produce in the area. “Seasonality is my speciality,” James tells me. “If the fish man tells me he’s got good red mullet, we can put it on as a special and so while in theory the à la carte menu changes every month, in reality the menu responds to the quality of the seasonal produce available.”
What’s more, all dietary requirements are catered for. There is always a vegetarian option and James is happy to make something special for vegans. Those with food intolerances requiring gluten free, dairy free, or even a garlic free diet are also accommodated.
This young team has ambitious plans and top of their list was reopening the dining room upstairs. “We’ve rediscovered a private dining room for small parties of up to 16 people, which can be booked for events, functions and Christmas parties,” says Jodie. “The main restaurant is also available for larger groups and we’re really looking forward to hosting people’s special occasions.”
During the festive season, The Fig Tree will be offering a Christmas set menu for parties over 6, which will run alongside the à la Carte menu and if you don’t want to cook on the day itself, bookings are being taken for a special Christmas Day meal.
The warm and friendly atmosphere also makes The Fig Tree a great place for lunch and James has introduced a two course set menu, which changes fortnightly, for £15, which is outstanding value for such high quality cuisine.
“So far the response to what we’re doing has been amazing,” smiles Jodie. “We’ve had some wonderful feedback which makes it extremely rewarding and satisfying.”
For anyone who enjoys fine dining, The Fig Tree represents a new and exciting opportunity to enjoy local seasonal food of the highest quality, from one of Sussex’s most talented young chefs.
The Fig Tree
Address: 120 High Street, Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex BN6 9XP
Tel: 01273 832183