Sophie family’s sad farewell to Moonrakers

Sophie Ellis-Bextor and father Robin

Sophie Ellis-Bextor and father Robin

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SINGER Sophie Ellis Bextor stood on the terrace overlooking what restaurant critic Jay Rayner called ‘probably the best view of any restaurant in England’ last Sunday – and said, “I couldn’t be happier but I have to say there is a bit of sadness as well.”

“I love spending special occasions at Moonrakers with my dad Robin who owns the restaurant here in Alfriston but sadly we are moving to new premises so reluctantly after having some brilliant times-we are selling the family restaurant.

“This is probably my last lunch here for a while and it was brilliant.

“It’s definitely my favourite weekend location. But next time we come it’ll have to be as a paying customer!”

It is because after successfully being in the family for some years – her father film director Robin and TV designer wife Polly Mockford are the owners – the time has come to sell the restaurant, which critic Jay Rayner was so complimentary about.

The team behind the successful eatery are moving to a bigger seafront restaurant in nearby Eastbourne - and in so doing give someone the chance to inherit a local landmark and also an enviable work/life mix.

The Grade Two listed building, just 90 minutes from the West End, with wooden floors, leaded lights and ancient oak beams, looks as pretty as a picture after Polly gave it a major make over, winning design awards en route and features in Country magazines.

Now it is a hang out for foodies and celebs alike ranging from The Feeling boys, the lads from Keane, many an opera star from nearby Glyndebourne not to mention top authors and writers from the adjacent Charleston farmhouse festival. Just recently author Juliet Nicolson chose Moonrakers as her favourite restaurant for Country Life magazine.

It is also the top local dinner spot for many just visiting the picturesque medieval village of Alfriston.

Sitting on the sun terrace overlooking the village Green and the National Trust’s first ever property-the Clergy House - it is as if you are transported back to another age of rural Britain. Certainly the local produce that is featured shows the strength of that tradition – with venison, local lamb and lots of seafood all heavily featured.

Plus you can stay at Moonrakers (it’s a smuggling reference nothing to do with James Bond by the way) because upstairs are three lovely bedrooms and a bathroom which would form a beautiful home if the new restaurant owners decided to live in.

A Masterchef wannabe would certainly flourish here with a lovely lifestyle to boot, or even someone who wanted to simplify their life, enjoy existence in a picture book village and serve the occasional cream tea on this wonderful terrace.

Overlooking the new South Downs National Park it’s the jewel in the new tourist attraction area.

“Whatever happens to the restaurant we are going to keep coming here,” added Sophie.

“I celebrated my first number one in Alfriston and Moonrakers is a really special place. And it’s not just me that thinks that!”

Moonrakers Restaurant is on sale with Adams & Co. Further details con 847489 or by email: sussex@adamsandco.com