Coleman's Hatch, HARTFIELD, TN7 4EJ
If AA Milne could populate Ashdown Forest with a bear called Winnie the Pooh, a tiger called Tigger and a kangaroo called Kanga, why shouldn't llamas and reindeer live here? Well, they do, on a farm in nearby Wych Cross. The Hatch is an eye-catching old inn sitting at one of the medieval gates into what was then dense woodland, with its valuable iron and timber reserves. Built around 1430, the part-weatherboarded building may have been cottages for iron workers, although it has been a pub for nearly 300 years. It was no doubt much appreciated by dry-throated charcoal burners who also used to work in these parts, and probably by smugglers too. Today the classic beams and open fires draw an appreciative crowd to sample beers from Fuller's, Larkins and Harvey's. Food is a fusion of classic and modern, for which proprietor Nicholas Drillsma and partner Sandy Barton have built an enviable reputation. Their daily-changing menus are complemented by an extensive wine list, including 10 served by the glass. With plenty of local suppliers to draw on, fresh seasonal produce is used in just about every dish. An exception but brimming with appeal is the lunchtime meze platter of houmous, kalamata olives, tzatziki, sun-blushed tomatoes, pan-fried halloumi and pitta breads. A three-course evening dinner selection could commence with carpaccio of tuna with pineapple salsa and sweet basil dressing. Local ingredients come into their own with main course choices: south coast cod, deep-fried in Harvey's beer batter, hand-cut fries, pea purée and tartare sauce; or new season lamb with dauphinoise potatoes, roast vegetables and a port and redcurrant reduction.
Tel: 01342 822363
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Harvey's & Sussex Old Ale, Fuller's London Pride, Larkins, Black Cat
11.30-3 5.30-11 (Sat-Sun all day)
25 Dec drinks only
Children's play area.
No coach parties catered.