It was anchors away for myself and a friend this week as we journeyed to the Navigator Hotel situated along the Bognor Regis seafront one lunchtime.
Having walked past the establishment countless times I found myself questioning why I had never ventured inside before as once we passed the threshold we were instantly impressed by the nautical-chic surroundings and welcoming atmosphere.
The bar area encompassed everything you would want from a traditional pub setting: a gorgeous beamed ceiling, homely yet comfortable seating and a wide array of tempting beers, ciders, wines and spirits behind the bar.
Steering away from the alcoholic beverages, however, we were led to the restaurant area – otherwise known as The Chart Room. With its wide windows overlooking the sea we could have been sat on the deck of a (very still) cruise liner! We were especially delighted by the sea-worthy maps that decorated the ceiling just above us.
To add to our perceived holiday location we opted, decadently, for a Sauvignon Blanc from the wine list. From Marlborough in New Zealand this light wine was fresh and crisp on the tongue and exuded gooseberry and tropical flavours – without overpowering, however. My friend commented that it complemented his fish meal perfectly, and, at £18.95, was well worth the money to accompany our meal.
Choosing our food, however, proved more difficult than the wine. With so much choice it took us several minutes to mull over the menus – not that we were in a hurry with such a beautiful view right in front of us.
Alongside the main menu was the option of items on the bar menu and the specials boards on the walls which are updated according to what meat and fish The Navigator gets freshly delivered. Similarly, the regular menu boasts meals that are all made up of the freshest ingredients and our friendly waitress, Rachel, explained how all the meat used at the Navigator comes from local butchers, Jordan’s in Rose Green. The rest of the produce, too, is sourced locally and this was apparent in our mouth-watering meals lovingly prepared by head chef Karen Birch.
My friend ordered the breaded brie with cranberry sauce and salad to start, and I the homemade soup de jour – delicious tomato. The brie was creamy and rich, which was nicely balanced by the freshness of the cranberries and salad. It had been cooked to perfection, the breadcrumbs adding a satisfying crunch to each bite. For £5.25, the brie certainly did not disappoint.
My tomato soup was a gorgeous deep red and offered everything I would want from such a dish. It was warming and retained all the sweetness and fresh flavour of the tomatoes. At £4.95, it could make a great value lunch or, in my case, an excellent opening to a larger meal.
This only added to our excitement for the arrival of our main courses. In keeping with the nautical theme of the restaurant, my friend found it hard to resist the selection of fish from the specials board. After much deliberation he selected the whole seabass with chilli and lime butter. All this came with an option of various potatoes and vegetables, both of which were generously portioned.
The seabass really was a whole, barely fitting on the plate to the delight of my friend. It fell away from the bone easily and the chilli and lime butter added an unexpected but welcomed kick to the flavours. He was also highly impressed by the new potatoes and medley of seasonal vegetables of which there was plenty to spare. Priced at £14.95, the seabass may have been one of the more expensive items on the menu but it was certainly worth it.
Continuing on the theme of large portions I was treated to a mixed cheese and beetroot salad from the bar menu. With wedges of stilton, brie and cheddar on my plate I was in cheese-lover’s heaven and delightedly started devouring the cheeses accompanied by the crisp fresh salad. Again, this plate was full to the brim and for £8.95 was exceptionally good value.
We were also spoiled for choice when it came to dessert. I opted for the lemon meringue pie priced the same as the other sweets at £4.95. It was everything I had hoped for with its zesty filling and crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside meringue topping. My friend’s toffee lumpy bumpy, too, did not disappoint with its airy toffee sponge topped with creamy cheesecake and toffee mousse. After these enormous meals there’s no denying that we felt like a couple of land-blubbers!
There truly is something for everyone to enjoy at The Navigator. With extensive menus for meat and fish lovers as well as vegetarians no one need go hungry. Already great value, there are further bargains when taking into account their fabulous two for one offer on main courses during the week – between the hours of 2.30pm-5pm on Monday-Saturday.
So make The Navigator your next port of call when dining out!
To book a table or to find out more call 01243 864844 or visit www.navigatorhotel.co.uk