Although nominally a pub, this gastro-version, under the same ownership as The Gingerman and Ginger Pig in Brighton, is almost exclusively the domain of diners.
Expect a thatched roof, parquet floors, bare wooden tables (but with crisp white napery) and open winter fires.
The concise menu changes on a monthly basis and has built up an excellent network of local suppliers and these are used to the full.
An early autumn menu listed Wood Pigeon Salad with Jerusalem Artichokes, Toasted Pumpkin seeds & Pumpkin Oil'; 'Roast Butternut Squash Tortellini with Courgette & Roast Garlic Purée'; 'Spinach & Duck Egg Tart' and 'Oxtail & Tongue with Lentils and Pickled Carrots' (presented as a little caul fat parcel) among the starters.
'Char-Grilled Red Lands End Farm Ribeye with Dripping Chips, Confit Kohl Rabi & English Mustard'; 'Pan-Fried Venison Loin with Smoked Venison Sausage, Roasted Roots, Cavello Nero & Quince'; 'Grilled Rye Bay Plaice with Spinach, New Potatoes & Tom Hollandaise' and 'Vegetable Paella' listed among the mains.
If you still have room, you might finish with 'Mirabelle Plum & Almond Tart with Muscavado Ice Cream'; 'Peach Bavarois with Peach & Basil Sorbet and Peach Salad' and 'Chocoate & Coconut Croquettes with Mango Purée'. While those with a more savoury tooth can enjoy a 'Welsh Rarebit' (sic) or their selection of British & Irish Artisan Cheeses.
Service is friendly, but it and the kitchens capabilities can be very stretched particularly for Sunday lunch, when the menu is also considerably restricted.
At weekends, try to arrive early to ensure a parking space, as parking on the road is restricted.
- Food Style: Best Pubs for Food
- Lunch: all week 12.00-14.00 (Sat 16.00, Sun 12.30-16.00); mains about £14 to £20
- Dinner: all week 18.00-22.00 (Sun till 21.00); mains about £14 to £20
- Seats: 50, plus 80 outside
- Wine: a well-chosen list, has modest mark-ups, kicking off at around the £16 mark and offering an excellent selection by the glass
- Children's portions: when possible
- Wheelchair access: Yes
- Nearest station: Hassocks (4 miles)
- Directions: See the map at the top of the page
- Parking: Yes, but restricted at busy periods
- Outside eating