A new dining destination, Restaurant Interlude, has been launched at Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens – the historic 200 acre estate, with Grade I Listed gardens, near Horsham in West Sussex.
Hospitality entrepreneur Penny Streeter OBE, owner of vineyards in the UK and South Africa, bought the Leonardslee estate in 2017. She opened the restaurant on 19 October after an 18 month restoration program at the gardens and Grade II Listed mansion house. The gardens will open in early 2019.
Streeter is the owner of the Benguela Collection vineyards and hospitality group. It includes the 400 acre Mannings Heath Golf and Wine Estate, located three miles from Leonardslee, and Benguela Cove vineyard in South Africa, as well as four restaurants and a hotel on the Garden Route.
The menu at Restaurant Interlude includes estate rabbit, winter purslane, hogweed cider and charcoal; also fallow deer with local braai and sour raspberry; and oyster, foraged greens and juniper.
Streeter recruited executive chef Jean Delport from his native South Africa eight months ago to plan and prepare for the launch. He will work alongside chef Ruan Pretorius to design new kitchens, create tasting menus and source ingredients from the estate and selected local farmers.
Delport has experience in complementing “extraordinary tasting menus” with fine wines. The wines at the restaurant come from Streeter’s vineyard at Benguela Cove, Hermanus in South Africa. In Sussex, Streeter has planted 40 acres of vineyards at Leonardslee and at a second site, three miles away at Mannings Heath, where she created the UK’s first golf and wine estate.
Delport has worked with Streeter at her restaurant in Somerset West, Cape Town for several years and has a background in classical French and English cooking. Chef Pretorius was the head chef at restaurant Terroir in the Cape winelands in South Africa.
Streeter said: “Interlude connects lovers of fine dining with the very spirit of Leonardslee, the finest woodland gardens in England, carefully curated for over 200 years. Every dish in each seasonal, multi-course tasting menu is designed to a hunter-gatherer farmer concept of food that’s foraged, cultivated and raised on the estate or close by.
“It is savoured and enjoyed as an intimate dining experience, a small, exclusive dinner party within the estate’s Italianate mansion house.”