Marco Pierre White's Sussex pub venture becomes victim of 'foodie backlash'

The Argus: Marco Pierre White Marco Pierre White

He may be one of the world’s top chefs, but Marco Pierre White has been forced to eat humble pie after people living in one corner of Sussex decided to shun his fancy food.

The TV cook has left The Rainbow Inn, a restaurant in Cooksbridge, near Lewes, after becoming the victim of a foodie backlash.

Diners, the owners told The Argus, were more interested in feasting on traditional pub fare rather than White’s classic of poussin à la chipolatas, pomme fondant and rosemary roasting juices.

The celebrity chef, who owns other pubs in Sussex including The Chequers Inn in Maresfield, left the fine-dining restaurant about two weeks ago, and it has already returned to its previous incarnation as a gastro-pub. His departure was amicable. 

A “cosy bar”, which was torn out on White’s arrival, will be reinstated and the pub will be officially relaunched in the New Year.

A spokesman from the pub said that The Rainbow Inn was better suited as a gastro-pub. He confirmed that there were no hard feelings and White was still a friend.

He said: “Marco has taken his business interests elsewhere. He was a partner in the business but is a partner in the business no longer.

“[We are] turning it back into a country pub with a restaurant. We are still going to have food. We will be very much a gastro-pub like before.

“We will have a cosy bar area as people really liked the bar area.”

He admitted taking out the “quality bar area” had been a mistake. He added: “The area did not suit a metropolitan, fine-dining restaurant so we are turning it into the country pub our customers want, with English pub food.”

White had not responded to The Argus’ requests for a comment at the time of going to press.

Comments (13)

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2:54pm Wed 17 Oct 12

brighton-breezy says...

I went there on a groupon voucher, I think it was about £20 for two steak and chip meals with desert and a glass of wine. it was just ok, we also ordered a starter, when the bill came at the end of the meal it showed how much it should have been, from memory, it was around £80, for what was a pretty average steak and chips meal. no wonder it didn't work!
I went there on a groupon voucher, I think it was about £20 for two steak and chip meals with desert and a glass of wine. it was just ok, we also ordered a starter, when the bill came at the end of the meal it showed how much it should have been, from memory, it was around £80, for what was a pretty average steak and chips meal. no wonder it didn't work! brighton-breezy

9:21pm Wed 17 Oct 12

Thatsjustyummy says...

Having been ripped off at the soul-less and decidedly average Chequers at Maresfield not long after it opened I'v emade sure I've never been back there and could never recommend it to anyone.

It wasn't 'bad' but it certainly wasn't good and definitely didn't warrant the somewhat hefty bill for a decidedly average meal.

The Hurstwood in nearby High Hurstwood does it FAR better, with a much nicer atmosphere and staff that don't strut around like they have a broom lodged up their backsides. They even have fresh limes in stock to add to Mother's G&T, unlike the Chequers.

UTTERLY disappointed. I even wrote to Mr White to express my astonishment at its absolute blandness and somewhat unsurprisingly failed to receive any correspondence at all.

Now I know he's not Chef 'en residence' in all his establishments as that would be impossible, but if you're going to put your so-called prestigious 'celebrity' name to something Mr White, it might be an idea to keep a close eye on things?

Just a suggestion.

The Rainbow used to be great. Since I saw his name on the sign that put me off.
Having been ripped off at the soul-less and decidedly average Chequers at Maresfield not long after it opened I'v emade sure I've never been back there and could never recommend it to anyone. It wasn't 'bad' but it certainly wasn't good and definitely didn't warrant the somewhat hefty bill for a decidedly average meal. The Hurstwood in nearby High Hurstwood does it FAR better, with a much nicer atmosphere and staff that don't strut around like they have a broom lodged up their backsides. They even have fresh limes in stock to add to Mother's G&T, unlike the Chequers. UTTERLY disappointed. I even wrote to Mr White to express my astonishment at its absolute blandness and somewhat unsurprisingly failed to receive any correspondence at all. Now I know he's not Chef 'en residence' in all his establishments as that would be impossible, but if you're going to put your so-called prestigious 'celebrity' name to something Mr White, it might be an idea to keep a close eye on things? Just a suggestion. The Rainbow used to be great. Since I saw his name on the sign that put me off. Thatsjustyummy

9:56pm Wed 17 Oct 12

Sussex jim says...

My wife and I enjoyed meals there back in the 70's. We look forward to repeating the experience, and will watch developments. If it becomes like the **** (Ringmer) where we can get two good meals and an excellent pint of Harveys within £30, then we will definitely return.
My wife and I enjoyed meals there back in the 70's. We look forward to repeating the experience, and will watch developments. If it becomes like the **** (Ringmer) where we can get two good meals and an excellent pint of Harveys within £30, then we will definitely return. Sussex jim

10:02pm Wed 17 Oct 12

qm says...

“ turning it back into a country pub with a restaurant. We are still going to have food. We will be very much a gastro-pub like before.

Ditch the 'gastro' rubbish and do proper food as they used to. Used to eat there at least twice weekly but not for the last 20 years. Utter rubbish!
“[We are] turning it back into a country pub with a restaurant. We are still going to have food. We will be very much a gastro-pub like before. Ditch the 'gastro' rubbish and do proper food as they used to. Used to eat there at least twice weekly but not for the last 20 years. Utter rubbish! qm

2:34am Thu 18 Oct 12

Old Ladys Gin says...

Thatsjustyummy wrote:
Having been ripped off at the soul-less and decidedly average Chequers at Maresfield not long after it opened I'v emade sure I've never been back there and could never recommend it to anyone.

It wasn't 'bad' but it certainly wasn't good and definitely didn't warrant the somewhat hefty bill for a decidedly average meal.

The Hurstwood in nearby High Hurstwood does it FAR better, with a much nicer atmosphere and staff that don't strut around like they have a broom lodged up their backsides. They even have fresh limes in stock to add to Mother's G&T, unlike the Chequers.

UTTERLY disappointed. I even wrote to Mr White to express my astonishment at its absolute blandness and somewhat unsurprisingly failed to receive any correspondence at all.

Now I know he's not Chef 'en residence' in all his establishments as that would be impossible, but if you're going to put your so-called prestigious 'celebrity' name to something Mr White, it might be an idea to keep a close eye on things?

Just a suggestion.

The Rainbow used to be great. Since I saw his name on the sign that put me off.
There's a brand of three burner BBQ that is exactly the same despite having different 'celebrity' chef signatures on it - mine has Anthony Worrall Thompson.
Strangely they all cook exactly the same way.
As a point of interest the fiddly and time consuming/knuckle skinning method of putting the thing together put me off the work of the moniker for life!
What we do cook is good and simple food all year around. The BBQ does not get put away in winter and has never seen a pink sausage or a frozen burger :)
[quote][p][bold]Thatsjustyummy[/bold] wrote: Having been ripped off at the soul-less and decidedly average Chequers at Maresfield not long after it opened I'v emade sure I've never been back there and could never recommend it to anyone. It wasn't 'bad' but it certainly wasn't good and definitely didn't warrant the somewhat hefty bill for a decidedly average meal. The Hurstwood in nearby High Hurstwood does it FAR better, with a much nicer atmosphere and staff that don't strut around like they have a broom lodged up their backsides. They even have fresh limes in stock to add to Mother's G&T, unlike the Chequers. UTTERLY disappointed. I even wrote to Mr White to express my astonishment at its absolute blandness and somewhat unsurprisingly failed to receive any correspondence at all. Now I know he's not Chef 'en residence' in all his establishments as that would be impossible, but if you're going to put your so-called prestigious 'celebrity' name to something Mr White, it might be an idea to keep a close eye on things? Just a suggestion. The Rainbow used to be great. Since I saw his name on the sign that put me off.[/p][/quote]There's a brand of three burner BBQ that is exactly the same despite having different 'celebrity' chef signatures on it - mine has Anthony Worrall Thompson. Strangely they all cook exactly the same way. As a point of interest the fiddly and time consuming/knuckle skinning method of putting the thing together put me off the work of the moniker for life! What we do cook is good and simple food all year around. The BBQ does not get put away in winter and has never seen a pink sausage or a frozen burger :) Old Ladys Gin

2:35am Thu 18 Oct 12

Old Ladys Gin says...

If you want a really good steak and chips at a air price, cooked exactly as you order it then I suggest:
The Red Lion at Shoreham by Sea - no connection in anyway except as a satisfied, and not ripped off, customer.
If you want a really good steak and chips at a air price, cooked exactly as you order it then I suggest: The Red Lion at Shoreham by Sea - no connection in anyway except as a satisfied, and not ripped off, customer. Old Ladys Gin

3:05am Thu 18 Oct 12

Old Ladys Gin says...

'fair price'
'fair price' Old Ladys Gin

4:20am Thu 18 Oct 12

Cash Cow says...

Even the pretentious, and there are many, cannot afford to be ripped off too many times when it comes to eating out.

We all know what it costs to buy three fairly decents sausages, a couple of potatoes, an onion and some gravy granules in the supermarket, not very much, even less in a "cash and carry".

So when I walk in the local, feeling a bit peckish, I don't mind paying about £5.95
to £6.95 for Bangers, Mash and Onion Gravy, I know what the mark up is though who cares, the food has to cooked and staff have to be paid.

What I do object to is being offered, locally sourced sausage (from the freezer in ASDA) creamed potatoes with a hint of cracked black pepper, caramalised shallots in jus, irresistable at £12.95 where alternatively I can opt for hand cut deep fried chipped potatoes (Mc Cain) celeriac squash and sun drenched tomatoes.
Even the pretentious, and there are many, cannot afford to be ripped off too many times when it comes to eating out. We all know what it costs to buy three fairly decents sausages, a couple of potatoes, an onion and some gravy granules in the supermarket, not very much, even less in a "cash and carry". So when I walk in the local, feeling a bit peckish, I don't mind paying about £5.95 to £6.95 for Bangers, Mash and Onion Gravy, I know what the mark up is though who cares, the food has to cooked and staff have to be paid. What I do object to is being offered, locally sourced sausage (from the freezer in ASDA) creamed potatoes with a hint of cracked black pepper, caramalised shallots in jus, irresistable at £12.95 where alternatively I can opt for hand cut deep fried chipped potatoes (Mc Cain) celeriac squash and sun drenched tomatoes. Cash Cow

10:42am Thu 18 Oct 12

Whitehawkian says...

I bought a set of his pans from the Independent and the food tastes the same as before. RIP OFF
I bought a set of his pans from the Independent and the food tastes the same as before. RIP OFF Whitehawkian

12:48pm Thu 18 Oct 12

Swiano says...

"White’s classic of poussin à la chipolatas, pomme fondant and rosemary roasting juices"
That'll be sausage, mash and gravy then. Just goes to show that you can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter
"White’s classic of poussin à la chipolatas, pomme fondant and rosemary roasting juices" That'll be sausage, mash and gravy then. Just goes to show that you can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter Swiano

1:13pm Thu 18 Oct 12

minnie&teddy says...

not been to the rainbow inn for donkeys years thought we might at some point until we saw who was on the advertisment so have'nt been' the georgeus we loved it as it was in the seventies lets hope it remains the same now the sumptious chicken&ham pie was a friday night treat for our family of four.
not been to the rainbow inn for donkeys years thought we might at some point until we saw who was on the advertisment so have'nt been' the georgeus we loved it as it was in the seventies lets hope it remains the same now the sumptious chicken&ham pie was a friday night treat for our family of four. minnie&teddy

2:16pm Thu 18 Oct 12

outpost33 says...

Locals are pleased and relieved that MPW has been shown the door. We've got our pub back!

Please support the owners of The Rainbow in their renewed venture by liking our Facebook page!

www.facebook.com/sav
etherainbow
Locals are pleased and relieved that MPW has been shown the door. We've got our pub back! Please support the owners of The Rainbow in their renewed venture by liking our Facebook page! www.facebook.com/sav etherainbow outpost33

12:09pm Fri 19 Oct 12

manwithaflan says...

Before Marco's time at The Rainbow, I had a shocking meal there, paying £22 for a fish dish which tasted like a £1.99 fish in butter sauce dish from Iceland.

The Marco project clearly didn't work and the Groupon voucher was a car crash.
Before Marco's time at The Rainbow, I had a shocking meal there, paying £22 for a fish dish which tasted like a £1.99 fish in butter sauce dish from Iceland. The Marco project clearly didn't work and the Groupon voucher was a car crash. manwithaflan

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