Amelie & Friends, Chichester
Food + Gluten Free + Photos + Places + Reviews February 21, 2016
While, yes, my girlfriend and I did decide to go unconventional for actual Valentine’s Day (see: alpacas), we also spent Saturday exploring Chichester and having a nice meal together.
Katy is amazing. I mean, obviously I think that anyway, but in this particular instance I am referring to how quickly she has been adapting to my gluten free needs. She’s always looking up new restaurants that have things I can try (like really nice burgers or amazing roasts… but that’s for a few other blog entries!). So for our Valentine’s Day weekend she did her research and found Amelie & Friends.
Apparently between the time she booked and the time we were in town, the menu had changed and there were actually fewer gluten free options. But there were still several, so I was very happy!
The restaurant itself is very nice. The clientele seemed to be mainly comprised of older people, and while I wouldn’t describe the atmosphere or attire as semi-formal, everything was very well put together. We were seated near the back in a conservatory-esque area, which was lovely as there was loads of natural light.
We each ordered a drink. I believe Katy had the Celeste, a lovely light and fizzy cocktail which I tried a sip of. I’m not much of a drinker these days, so I ordered one of the four brilliant non-alcoholic cocktails on the menu – the Innocent Passion. It tasted of passion fruit (clue is in the name!) and was probably one of the prettier drinks I’ve ever had.
To start, we ordered the Pork Crackling with Pulled Pork and Savoury Sauce. The plate was laid out with a small pile of what I would call pork crackling “straws” alongside a small dish of pulled pork. We weren’t quite sure how to go about eating it to be honest! We started by munching on the crackling and eating small forkfuls of pork. Eventually I used the crackling as a bit of a dipping stick – using it to scoop out the warm pulled pork and eat in all together in one bite. Yum. Unfortunately, due to the conundrum of figuring out the best way to enjoy this appetizer (which was delicious!) I didn’t get a chance to grab a photo.
But let me let you in on a little secret… I am not actually a fan of pork crackling. I used to love oreilles de crisse at sugar shacks in Quebec, but I’ve never been very fond of crackling since arriving in the UK. Not at Amelie & Friends, though! The crackling here was perfection. It was soft and buttery and delicious. I tried some more crackling at a pub roast the next day, and while the Amelie & Friends offering seems to have turned me back around to the idea, it in no way compared to the deliciousness at A & F.
Which, it turns out, was a lucky thing for me, once I ordered my main, which was the Pork Belly with Sage & Onion Farce, Négresse Potatoes, Wilted Cabbage, Poached Apple and Cider Jus. Ugh. Just reading that makes my mouth water. It was also garnished with a few of the crackling straws, which tied in pretty well with the starter.
Okay, so, for this dish… imagine a pub roast. Now imagine that roast made super fancy. That’s what this was, and it was brilliant. It turns out that Sage & Onion Farce is like stuffing. The pork belly was so tender and juicy. The Négresse potatoes were mashed, and looked beautiful. If you did not know, Négresse potatoes are actually purple in colour. I ate them sort of mixed in with the wilted cabbage which was lovely and garlicky. When I finished my meal, I joked to Katy that I was going to just order another one, because I never wanted to stop eating it. A week later and I’m still looking longingly at the photo, remembering the meal that was.
Over on the other side of the table, Katy was also enjoying her selection: the Sea Trout with Crushed Potatoes, Wilted Spinach and Caper Butter Sauce. Another one of the gluten free choices on the menu, it was presented beautifully and simply. Katy very kindly waited while I took a few photos before diving in. This girl is a fish fiend, but she is also a fish snob, and she really seemed to love this dish.
At the end of the meal, we were too full to continue on, which is really a shame because while there aren’t a tonne of gluten free dessert option at Amelie & Friends, there is the Black Forest Baked Alaska which is described as Vanilla Ice Cream, Griottine Cherries and Chocolate Sponge covered with Baked Meringue.
You might not know this about me, but Black Forest anything is one of my favourite things on the planet. It’s quite hard to find a gluten free Black Forest Gateau, however, so I’ve often resorted to making a parfait-esque concoction with cherry compote, gluten free brownie and whipped cream. Somehow I don’t think it’s quite as lovely and sophisticated as the Amelie & Friends offering… which is why I will definitely be back. In my mind I am already planning my triumphant return, to revisit my old Pork Belly friend, and become acquainted with a new Black Forest friend.
If you’re in Chichester and looking for a nice, upscale meal, definitely give Amelie & Friends a visit. You won’t regret it!
Amelie and Friends do not know I exist (apart from a comment card I left saying this was “the best thing that ever happened to me”). They do not know about this review (at the time of publishing). All opinions and insane gushing is my own.
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