Noah's Ark Inn
Noah's Ark Inn

The Gin and Crumpets family is a family devoted to gin, crumpets and walking. Since the first walk appeared in our local newspaper, Sundays have been spent getting lost in the countryside. My parents have extended this to getting lost on walking holidays, while I have shared my passion for not being able to read maps with my friends and we can regularly be found getting lost on walks within easy reach of London.

This week I am on holiday at the family home and Thursday was declared Walking Day. Ma G&C, Sister Number 2 and I put on our sensible-ish shoes and set off on an 8 mile tramp around West Sussex. 4 miles in – during which I only got us lost twice – we scrambled over the stile into Lurgashall and honed in on lunch.

Lurgashall is the sort of the village that cries out for outlandish murders, decorous adultery and John Nettles solving it all after a quarter of the population has been offed. We cooed and ahhed our way to the pub, admiring the local shop, cricket pavilion and the rambling houses. And then we fell on The Noah’s Ark Inn like wolves.

Noahs Ark platter
Noahs Ark platter

“You can tell it’s a nice pub when they have L’Occitane in the loos,” Sister Number 2 said. And she’s right. You can tell it’s a nice place when they have fancy hand wash and hand lotion in the loos. I could also tell it was a nice place from the first item on the menu: pan-fried pigeon breasts on Secretts leaves with girolles (£5.75). Pigeon breasts. Secretts leaves. Girolles. Cor.

But we were walkers and the second half of our walk was uphill, so a starter and a main was out. And pigeon breasts are not the satisfying lunch that a walker needs. We all opted for the Noah’s Ark Platter – a selection of cheeses, sausage, ham and pork pie, fruit, house chutney and crusty bread (£8.00).

God, it was good. Obviously I went straight for the sausage – just cooked, meaty and herby; it’s the element that has been missing from ploughman’s for centuries. Add a sausage to your lunch and make your life better was the message here.

The pork pie was heaven – 3 slices, which is enough to enjoy but not so much that the fat and jelly begin to worry you and the weight of it drag your stomach down towards your feet. Pickled onions that were tangy rather than vinegary, thick cut ham, my first apricot of the year (shame on me), creamy Stilton, warm granary bread with butter that was served at a spreadable temperature rather than rock hard or melted, I loved it all.

There are a lot of pubs out there handing out sub standard, pre-prepared, industrial pap – I’ve worked in several where, in spite of my lack of training, I was left in charge of the deep fat fryer and microwave. And some pubs go too far in the opposite direction. I have full sympathy for a friend who, looking at a menu of smoked mackerel pâté, crab tart and risotto, said miserably: “I just want a burger to soak up the booze.”

The Noah’s Ark does a burger and chips. And fish and chips, bangers and mash and ham and eggs, as well as belly of pork with calvados sauce and steak with gratin dauphinois (it also offers child portions of most things on the menu). Combine that menu with the real ales, nice wine list and hand lotion in the loos and I think I’ve found my spiritual home.

Tagged with: Pub Reviews

11 Responses to The Noah’s Ark Inn, Lurgashall

  1. Sue says:

    I’d say you managed to get through the rest of your walk with that! It looks delightful and seems to have got the right balance..

  2. ginandcrumpets says:

    We might have struggled a little bit on the uphill section! It was worth it though. Completely restored my faith in pub food.

  3. Cara says:

    it was the best ploughmans ever – and you got us lost thrice! once on the drive there!!! but you were forgiven only because we were so full on pig meat!!

  4. ginandcrumpets says:

    Did I get us lost or did Mum just drive in the wrong direction without any prompting from me? Admittedly you kept us on the right path. On the next walk, you’re carrying the directions and map!

  5. Helen says:

    This looks like a lovely place, just the ticket as you say. I really, really love a Ploughmans and that is a beast! Is that for one person? I love the place already and I haven’t even been.

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      Er, yes, that was for one person. At least, we assumed the platters served one, ordered three and ate almost everything. I think I left some smoked cheese and some grapes. It really was delicious – I don’t think I have managed to convey how delicious it was. May have to drag my friends out on a spurious walk in the countryside in order to repeat the experience.

  6. Cara says:

    I am girl guide proof and will never find myself lost in the country! and you are right it was delicious! i would go back in seconds! admittedly i would drive there rather than face that ruddy walk again! possibly the best pub food and ploughman’s i have ever had! and the pub was lovely! really unexpected!

  7. verystylishgirl says:

    Driving there is very scary. I drove, and ended up going down a very steep, very skinny country road with my foot on the brake. Struggled to not shut my eyes and start screaming…

  8. Grange Hill sausage(!)

  9. Amy Whitmore says:

    I would just like to say thank you for your wonderful comments on our pub! Particularly pleased to hear you liked the hand wash AND food! When Henry and I took over nearly three years ago he thought I was mad when I said “YES, the loo’s do matter and YES we will be supplying nice handwash AND cream”.
    Always encouraging to hear we are doing a good job and it’s all worth it so thank you very much!
    Noah’s Ark

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