It’s a fair jaunt across the county from Sussex Business Times HQ to Chichester, so whilst in town, we popped in to No.1 Northgate for some much needed sustenance.

No.1-15No.1 Northgate is a smart-looking restaurant at the very end of North Street in the centre of town and just a few doors along from our hotel for the evening; The Ship. An old bank, it’s a sturdy, grand building with all of the presence that you’d expect from a once-financial-cornerstone of the town. The ladies toilet in the basement, still has the impressive vault door attached; giving some idea of the building’s history.

Greeted, as we were by our waiter for the evening, Tom, we quickly took our early evening seats and perused the menus. I say menus as there’s a lot on offer. No.1 Northside is open from breakfast, through to evening cocktails and offers a host of special deals, including a very reasonably priced pre-theatre set menu, half price cocktail menu between 4-7pm (with complimentary canapés throughout), breakfast/brunch menu between 9-11:30am and even Sunday roasts from 12-8pm. Plenty to choose from and lots of reasons to visit.

Not least, the fact that the restaurant is independently run and offers some great food – as we found out during our visit.

We ordered a combination of dishes from both the regular evening menu and the specials board. After a quick introduction by the extremely friendly and often-present front of house, head chef Achim, we picked a standard pasta & tomato sauce standard, along with a lemon sole fillet stuffed with smoked salmon mouse, greens and new potatoes. To start though, the terrine of ham hock with pink lady apples, black pudding and pickled red cabbage. I’m not sure if Achim works all of the hours that No.1 is open, but if he does, not only is he some kind of machine, but his standards certainly don’t drop into the evening.

No.1-2The food was exceptional. Really good. This is why we try to review independent restaurants within our pages. There’s really no point reviewing the high street standards (Prezzo – Nandos – Byron etc etc), we all know what we’re going to get in these places and that’s the point. It’s what they’re trying to achieve; a standard in every town. We are blessed with thousands of independent eateries throughout Sussex and we implore you to get out there and support these (usually) small businesses.

No.1 Northside is a shining example of a restaurant that’s getting it right. Exceptional service (thanks Tom), incredible food (thanks Achim), and an atmosphere that continued to grow with the crowd during our Thursday evening visit.

No.1-7The table next to us was taken by a couple of well heeled ladies, who we quickly learned were regulars; had figured out that we were reviewing the place (likely down to the arranging-the-table-as-a-mini-photo-studio), and offered us the opportunity to photograph their platter of fruits de la mer (£22 to share). You’ll see the picture here within the feature – menu envy ensued!

So thank you No.1, We will be back. Chichester is such a lovely town with great shopping and a huge number of good restaurants. This is definitely one to try.