Minhaz Nasir’s passion for food started when he was seven years old in Bangladesh.
He enjoyed cooking for his family at that tender age. And just a year later he was using all tools available to him to cook meals for his father and younger brother.
So when he moved to England 17 years ago it was no shock when he opened a restaurant to showcase his passion for food and skills as a chef.
That restaurant was in Worthing in 2005 but Nasir admits it was not the best location. But he learnt from his mistakes and has since opened Lemongrass restaurants in Chichester, Rustington, Horsham, Petersfield and Crawley (which had been open for 9 days when we visited).
Nasir and his team were very welcoming into the beautiful but understated restaurant.
The spacious and welcoming interior is carefully lit for a relaxing atmosphere.
From the off it was clear Nasir’s passion is food and flavours. Everything on the menu is cooked to order.
The meals and sauces are all homemade with nothing, as Nasir puts it, ‘from the supermarket’.
The Lemongrass offers innovative yet classic cuisine using the ingredients sourced from the best suppliers both locally and abroad. And you can tell every dish has been carefully crafted by someone who wants to deliver the best food everytime.
It wasn’t easy to pick from the overwhelming menu.
There were set menus starting from £21.95 but we went for the a la carte menu.
For starter my wife Amanda and I opted foor the Lemongrass Mixed Platter (£14.95) - a Selection of favourite Thai starters; Crispy golden vegetable spring roll, Chicken satay, Prawn on toast, Thai fish cakes and Prawn wrapped with pastry. Served with sweet chilli sauce, peanut sauce and vegetable relish.
The prawn toast was sensational while the Thai fish cakes were a delight.
For our mains, despite being very tempted by the wide range of currys, noodle and vegetarian dishes, we went for the Chilli and Lime Sauce (Ma-Now) - steamed fillet sea bass with chilli and lime sauce and Phad Priew Wan (Sweet and Sour) Lightly battered chicken - Thai sweet & sour sauce with pineapple, tomato, cucumber, lychee, onion and red & green peppers with your choice of chicken, prawn or vegetable.
The sea bass was particularly tasty with the lychees in the stir fry being a lovely addition.
For desserts I went for a Thai speciality of a deep fried banana fritter with vanilla ice cream and Amanda went for Strawberry and Meringue Parfait.
The banana fritters were superb with the coconut batter crunchy but not greasy and the parfait was refreshing and topped off the meal well.
We were very well looked after on our visit with manager Sam being attentive but not intrusive.
Lemongrass is a distinct and memorable place to eat and drink.