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Review: The Halfway Bridge, Lodsworth

A cosy pub with a great chef and a secret shepherds hut - plus the occasional retired rockstar propping up the bar. Does the Halfway Bridge pub in Lodsworth, near Petworth have it all? Muddy went to find out.

THE LOWDOWN

Blink and you might miss this great pub just off the A272 in heart of the glorious South Downs National Park, but the 250 year old inn with converted stables for overnight stays feels like a real hidden gem. Opposite Cowdrays’ famous Polo fields and flanked by two historic market towns Midhurst and Petworth, its the perfect pitstop for a lazy lunch or as a stopover after visiting some of Sussex’s most beautiful areas.

THE VIBE

The pub itself is a quirky mix with an inviting bar and smaller dining and snug areas for larger parties. When we visited in November the fires were lit and regulars with very content dogs rubbed shoulders with families enjoying the gourmet grub. In good weather there is alfresco dining on the pretty terrace or in the small sheltered garden, but we were more than happy in the cosy bar as the manager regaled us with tales of the Cowdray set and of regulars including a few famous 60’s and 70’s musicians who are often seen propping up the bar.

SCOFF AND QUAFF

No boring pub grub here, but a delicious menu of locally sourced and seasonal ingredients with a choice of fish, game and traditional English and Mediterranean dishes, plus daily specials. The well chosen wine list includes local sparklers from Upperton Vineyard in Petworth and Coolhurst in Horsham.

I opted for the Slow Braised Beef Cheek, (the manager’s favourite), which came with Horseradish creamed potatoes and red cabbage in a red wine sauce, it was simply sublime. I just looked at the meat and it fell of the bone, the chef must have cooked it for at least 3 days!

My husband couldn’t resist the Belly of Pork (to be fair he rarely can), which was glazed with apple and honey and served with dauphinoise and buttered kale (above). This was comfort food of dreams and I had to nag him to even let me taste a bite it was so good.

Desserts were equally as indulgent and not your typical pub fare – we loved the sound of the poached pear with white wine & rosemary and the Malibu Pannacotta, but plumped for White Chocolate & Elderflower Cheesecake which was deconstructed and served on chocolate soil (above). We just about had space for the cheese which came with Miller’s Toast Cranberry & Raisin (I need to search these out as they were epic), quince jelly and grapes.

Breakfast was excellent as well (included in the room price), and we enjoyed a perfectly cooked full English and an open breakfast sandwich (plus an extra sausage for Stan the dog, who was very pleased with himself.)

THE ROOMS

Hidden behind the pub are eight en-suite rooms housed in Cowdray Barns, the inn’s former stable yard, along with a cute shepherd’s hut. There are three deluxe suites and five standard rooms, all warm and welcoming with all the usual amenities. Some are dog friendly so check when you book.

If you are looking for something a little different, the shepherd’s hut sleeps two with a double bed, shower room and toilet, wood-burner and kitchenette. Its quirky and romantic, but you do have to know each other pretty intimately if you plan to stay in one (or you certainly will afterwards!)

THE MUDDY VERDICT

GOOD FOR

The Halfway Bridge is definitely not about half measures. The portions here are generous so make sure you come hungry. Its the perfect pub for long lunches with friends and family, with the added bonus of comfy accommodation.

NOT FOR

Children are welcome, but the outside areas are quite small and not fully enclosed, so if you’re looking for somewhere for your brood to burn off steam you might need to take them elsewhere first to run them out!

The Halfway Bridge, Lodsworth, Petworth, West Sussex GU28 9BP Tel: 01798 861281

Opening times; Bar – daily 11am to 11pm, weekday lunch 12pm to 2.30pm, weekend lunch 12pm to 6pm, dinner – daily 6pm to 9pm. Booking essential.

Standards rooms from £135 (2 guests), deluxe from £165.

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