I have considered not to write about this little gem. I wanted to keep it all to myself. I am not normally this selfish but I justify this poor attitude because the size of the pub is so minuscule, we simply all couldn’t fit.
But I am not there that often, so I am sure we can take turns. This is the pub that I went to first 2 years ago on an exceptionally sunny May day. We came by taxi, which was all very adult and responsible, and a very wise idea. I recommend you all do the same.
The pub is situated on a hill overlooking the very picturesque hills of Surrey. The pub has all the integral parts of the original 15th Century detailing, including the very low ceiling. They have recently extended out the back, which the last time I was there was a disappointing addition, but they have altered this so much that it now looks like a contemporary, but integral part of the pub. I can’t give them too much of a hard time for the extension as we all need to make a buck, and the original pub is the size of a London studio and has at least 3 dogs in it at any one time.
So this time we arrived, and the weather isn’t as good as it was the first time, and I am nervous, that like all amazing experiences the next time you do it, it isn’t nearly as great… Another group are nestled in the little wood shack which has a lovely wood stove which they light for the smokers (how considerate) which isn’t on, but they hover on never the less… I am getting more and more nervous that it isn’t going to fulfil my now huge expectations and then I see the garden, and even in the grey light, it is still as beautiful as I remember.
Water features which fall down the hill, with trout that they serve for dinner, lovely tables that are nestled into the hill, gorgeous flowers in bloom, and a lovely wood to the back. It is picture perfect, British countryside.
We sit at the back away from the polo set and take in the view and the newly planted kitchen garden. Our booking is a few hours away, and we while away time, happily.
Now, this would all be perfectly adequate, but the food served by Simon Goodman, is so good – locally sourced, seasonal, unpretentious, you know the drill, that it kicks a great pub into the hemisphere of The Best Pub In The World.
I had samphire with prawns with garlic and lemon. Fab. S had the scallops with a pea mousse which was actually better, but my craving for samphire couldn’t sway me. Mains consisted of pork belly which was rolled and a good crunchy crackling and S had the steak. The dishes aren’t clever. They aren’t fussed. They are just really tasty and cooked really well. If only more pubs could pull this off.
So, I guess you want to what the name of this pub of dreams is? It is The Duke of Cumberland Arms. Whisper it. Don’t tell a lot of people. When you do tell people, remain vague on the location.. Point North. This way, only the truly curious will hunt it out and we can keep it all to ourselves.
Fernhurst, West Sussex