Friday, January 30, 2009

13. European and Polish: Artisan

Artisan Cafe,
Wine Bar and Gallery
197 High Street,
Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2NS
01273 479713

Rising Phoenix-like from the ashes, Artisan is located where the fire-damaged Si was on School Hill in Lewes. On friends’ recommendations we ventured in and were met with polite, professionalism and seated immediately. The restaurant is quite large with 70+ seats and is divided into a lounging dining area with arm chairs, sofas and incidental furniture at the front, the usual chairs and table dining area in the middle, main section with the kitchen on view at the rear. The walls in the main section are hung with a variety of artwork for sale by local and Polish artists and make for an interesting, changing atmosphere.

The fare is mainly British/European but some welcome Polish dishes creep into the specials board and many dishes, like the Artisan Salad a filling plate of a variety of salad items, freshly cooked beets, medium boiled eggs and other tasties for £6.50 have definite Polish influences. I adore beets so chose the beet soup and Little Will and I shared a Deli Board- £10.50. Badgerman and Little Will chose Chicken Club sandwiches.

There is an interesting Chidren's Menu, pictures right, with good value, tempting meals. Young'uns can choose from items such as: pasta, cod goujons, chicken breast, sausages all served with fries, veggies and salad or mashed potatoes and finish with vanilla ice-cream with raspberry or chocolate sauce for £4.50.

My generous bowl of clear beet soup arrived in good time and was very tasty, well seasoned and good and hot. The Deli Board, pictured left, was a real treat! Little Will and I happily munched our way through the well-presented selection of homuos, tadziki, taramasalata, crudités, dried fruit, stuffed peppers, sundried tomatoes, melted goat’s cheese and toasted baguette slices. This would make a filling lunch for one. Badgerman and Little Will enjoyed their hearty club sandwiched and very good in-house cut chips, pictured below.

Little Will with his 30” waist
and hollow legs ordered a Chocolate Fondant pudding, pictured right, that was a real treat. The cakey outer was light and strongly chocolatey and gave way to the velvety smooth dark chocolate sauce inside. It was served with a very good vanilla ice-cream and I must say, I'd have been very proud of myself if I had made it!

Will had a beer, Badgerman a glass of house red, I had tap water, charmingly served in a large cut-glass decanter and we all had coffees. Our bill, excluding tip, was £44.00.

Lewesians have appreciated this newest arrival to the town’s range of good eateries judging by the number of customers and I would book during busy times. This double-fronted restaurant beckons you in with its interesting, stylish décor but the service and excellent food will keep you coming back!

Ambience: 3
Food Presentation: 4
Food Quality: 3.5
Service: 3
Value for Money: 2.5

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