Countryman Lane, SHIPLEY, RH13 8PZ
Alan Vaughan and his family, who have been successfully running this traditional rural free house for nearly 30 years, have certainly found the recipe for pleasing their customers. Surrounding the inn is the Knepp Castle Estate, 3,500 acres devoted to nature conservation through regeneration and restoration projects. In the pub's log fire-warmed bar, you'll find cask-conditioned beers from Sussex-brewed Harvey's, Langham and Long Man, Shepherd Neame from Kent. Making their way to the kitchen are fish landed at Shoreham and Newhaven, the two closest ports, free-range meats from local farms; game from the Knepp Estate, vegetables and salads grown in the pub's own half-acre garden, and through a 'swop shop' arrangement with villagers something unusual often appears on the menu, such as quince, kohlrabi or romanesco. Any surplus garden produce can be purchased in the bar. Country baguettes and flatbreads come filled with prawn and crayfish; sausage and onion; and brie and redcurrant, while an alternative might be the all-day breakfast. Regular starters and grazing plates are hoi sin lamb wrap; salt 'n' pepper squid; and smörgåsbord of fish, which might be followed by one pot lamb stew with dumplings; vegetable Thai green curry; beef and mushroom shortcrust pie, mash and seasonal vegetables; or slow-roast pork belly, bubble-and-squeak, cabbage and bacon with caramelised onion and Calvados jus. Children are welcome in the restaurant, although the inn doesn't have a separate play area or family dining room. In the garden, weather permitting, an open-air kitchen serves grills, ploughman's and other snacks. In the pub's own farm shop you can buy free-range eggs and home-made preserves, pickles and relishes.