I simply could not wait for my first restaurant outing and carefully chose my venue and companion.
I had joined the Kennels Goodwood earlier in the year. It’s the clubhouse of the golf course, restaurant and bar.
It overlooks the uplands leading to Goodwood House and another example of how the new duke – formerly the Earl of March – maximises his Estate which already has the race course, hotel, two golf courses, aerodrome, motor racing circuit and Rolls Royce factory.
To comply with re-opening protocol the staff wore visors and there was a one way route for entering and exiting.
Overhearing the other diners this was their first outing too.
Arriving early I was able to secure a terrific table outside with optimum views over the grounds.
I have previously expressed my view that one should beware restaurants with fine views. Happily this does not apply here.
I ordered a chicken liver parfait with brioche followed by skate wing, my guest a simple green salad and ribeye steak. All excellent.
There was room for a scrumptious raspberry soufflé with raspberry sorbet and lemon curd. Tip: when eating in a Sussex Country restaurant leave room for the dessert.
My only beef was that it took some 20 minutes and three attempts to serve our coffees which delayed my exit.
Obviously there are teething problems associated with re-opening but I’m afraid this is not the first time I have had to wait inordinately for the bill and coffee in a Sussex hostelry.
The wine list is expensive but, as my friend was driving, I confined myself to an expensive glass of Marlborough Bay Sauvignon (£15). Total bill: £134.
On one hand, I was delighted to eat for the first time in restaurant company and not have to clear it away: on the other, I baulked at paying £30 for a Premier Cru Rully recommended by a wine buff at home but was more irked by £15 for a glass of Sauvignon for which the restaurant would have paid considerably less for a bottle.
My friend has eclectic interests and conversation turned to the Rolling Stones and their conviction for drugs in nearby Chichester.
My friend was something of a rock expert and enthused over a Netflix documentary of their South American tour.
In my misspent youth I got to know Aynsley Dunbar and his group the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation, so-called as he had recently been fired by John Mayall.
Aynsley drummed for everyone from Frank Zappa to Jefferson Aeroplane, many of whom I met.
I even met the Stones!
So back home I watched the documentary.
Yes, their hair was thinning and some had a superannuated look but I could see the biggest addictive drug was being on tour at a country – Argentina – where they were loved.
I appreciated the bonding, the hotel luxury and above all emerging on stage before an adoring audience at least half their age.