True decadence in heart of Horsham

JPCT 040213 Artisan, Market Square, Horsham. photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 040213 Artisan, Market Square, Horsham. photo by Derek Martin

There is an art to sipping your favourite blend of freshly-ground coffee and it calls for the perfect space to do so - somewhere that emanates real sophistication with added comfort - Artisan Patisserie & Tea Rooms certainly has this.

Tucked away in Horsham’s Market Square next to the old Town Hall, Artisan is a decadent mixture of French chic, retro-American flare and British contemporary - sounds like a garish circus tent, but on the contrary - it surprisingly works.

Open for business in a quaint Tudor building with thick, black beams and white walls, you’re warmly welcomed by the aroma of fresh pastries and plump sponge cakes displayed on the counter top.

Decor: At first we sat ourselves in two cosy chairs designed in the flamboyant Rococo style. After ordering our food, we realised that the furniture was ideal for a drink, but not if you’re looking for a bite to eat. Therefore, we moved to some more appropriate seating.

It was here we noticed the unusual mergence of cultures. We observed cartoony French imperialist artwork, a robust 60s-style American fridge and the beautiful bay windows that looked out onto Market Square.

Interestingly, adorned on our coffee cups were the words: ‘Let them eat cake’. It was these little touches that made the experience all the more interesting and sparked conversations.

Service: Accommodating from the start, the staff at Artisan advised us to take a seat and took our orders. Smiling and in good humour, the three waiters we interacted with were a delight and made us feel right at home.

Drink: There is not an impressive variety of coffee - but in all fairness Artisan describes itself as a tea room (it’s in the name). We both opted for the Americano, my colleague asked for decaf. With hot milk on the side I could adapt my own strength. Strong and aromatic, the coffee is a nice afternoon brew to take the edge off a morning of office work, but if you’re looking for variety, you’re limited to the usual range of latte, expresso and cappuccino.

Food: Divine is certainly one word that comes to mind. I indulged in the Caramalised Onion and Goats Cheese Tart which comes pipping hot with a generous helping of salad. If I could lick the plate clean without receiving second glances I would have lapped it up. My colleague opted for the soup of the day - Spicy Moroccon Chicken. Considerably filling, with a little kick, the bowl came with a side of brown bread and butter.

Value for Money: A tad pricey compared to your regular coffee shop chain, but if you can afford to spend a little extra to enjoy a unique experience, then I highly recommend Artisan. An Americano comes to a reasonable £2, but if you’re famished you may not mind spending £6.75 for the tart. Overall our bill came to £15.70 and worth every penny.