A jewel of a country pub at the heart of the South Downs, The Elsted Inn is favoured by locals and tourists alike for its holy trinity of fantastic food, real ales and wonderful rural location. Husband and wife team Lisa and Malcolm King go to great lengths to source their food and drink locally and to provide a warm welcome for all comers.
In the kitchen, Lisa is the boss, and her efforts to source her ingredients from local farms are truly commendable. Meat comes mostly from Rother Valley Organics in nearby Rogate, with Goodwood Estate cheeses and Nutbourne Nursery heirloom tomatoes also on the menu. In game season, the local gamekeeper brings a varied selection, including pheasant, venison, rabbit and guinea fowl. Menus change daily to reflect the season and the freshest, most delicious produce available, so you're always in for a treat.
Special dietary requirements are no problem for Lisa, who is a whiz at thinking up recipes on the spot - so if you don't see something suitable on the menu, just ask! Lisa will talk you through what she has available and create something just for you.
Malcolm is in charge of the bar, and keeps it stocked with a selection of cask-conditioned beers, including locally-brewed ales and a weekly-changing guest ale. Chilled lagers, Guinness, draught cider and bottled beers are all available alongside a carefully-chosen wine list and spirits and aperitifs. Ask Malcolm about his malt whiskies, too - ideal for that warming nip after a bracing walk along the South Downs Way.
If you are a keen walker, why not stay overnight? The four luxuriously refurbished rooms are each individually decorated, and well-behaved dogs are welcome too. But this popular spot is often booked up months ahead, so plan your visit well in advance.
If you're local, keep an eye on the website or social media pages for news of what's on. Monthly live music nights are a favourite throughout the summer, with quiz nights providing entertainment the rest of the year.
Local Food Sussex says
The Elsted Inn lies at the heart of the South Downs National Park, making it a great base to explore the South Downs Way.
For their walking guests the landlords offer a complimentary pick-up and drop-off service using their five-seater LandRover (available within a 10 mile radius). Packed lunches or picnics can also be provided on request. And if you fancy lunch in the bar, there are even tables for walkers with their dogs.
The friendly bar and dining room are so cosy and inviting, it feels like a real home away from home.
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