WE KNEW without asking that soup of the day at Fox's would be potato and leek.

Potato and leek soup tells you that you will end the meal simply satisfied with comfort food.

Fox's interior, like its menu, is pleasingly predictable and regular.

To start, Cat ate toasted granary bread laden with mushrooms and spinach, delightfully lubricated with mellow white wine cream sauce and enveloped by nutty Emmental cheese.

Matt went hyper-local with Bembridge crab, smoked salmon and king prawn salad — in effect, a grand prawn cocktail served with a huge spoonful of Marie Rose sauce.

It was Matt's dish of the night — he loved the fresh, juicy crab, perfectly picked and matched with the rich salmon and gentle crustaceans.

The calves liver and bacon was impressive. The substantial, well-cooked slice of liver was doused in an excellent red wine and onion gravy, and topped with a big stack of onion.

The juices soaked satisfyingly into creamy mash and a bowl of classic veg completed the dish.

Cat's tasty sea bass fillet on Bembridge crab risotto was generously-appointed, aromatic and delicious — Bembridge crab really is very good, and there's nowhere better to eat it than its town of origin.

This was a menu that floated Cat's boat — at Fox's she got the cream and, spying it among the puddings, went for the triple.

The dessert menu could have been devised by the great Fanny Cradock and was none the worse for it.

If Black Forest gateaux were a choice we wouldn't have been surprised, and Cat would've definitely ordered it.

As it was, her pretty apple tart was lovely, with Briddlesford cream adding an enjoyable local touch.

Vanilla creme brulee was Matt's selection, and the home-made concoction met with his approval.

Fox's is well-established and, although the menu didn't have any surprises, the restaurant is not in any way retro or vintage.

We liked the way the place evoked those gentle dinners we used to enjoy before the ubiquitous clipboard menu, slates as plates, and being called 'guys.'

The venue delivered on our initial expectations of a classic meal, with good, local ingredients and friendly service.

We didn't try the potato and leek soup in the end, but not to worry, we can try it next time — it's bound to be there.

Three stars: a decent place that we’d recommend.

Matt and Cat's bill

Mushroom starter £5.95

Crab starter £7.50

Sea bass on crab risotto £15.50

Liver and bacon £14.95

Creme brulee £5.25

Apple tart £5.50

Total: £54.65

Read a longer version of this review, and others, at Matt and Cat's Eating Out Guide.

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