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|Address:||Queen's Square, West Hoathly, West Sussex RH19 4PP|
|Price: £40.00||Wine: £16.75||Champagne: £51.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-2.30pm (Thurs -2pm) Mon-Sat 6-9pm (Fri-Sat -9.30pm)|
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It was on a balmy spring evening we meandered our way through country lanes to The Cat Inn in West Hoathly for an anniversary dinner.
Driving into West Hoathly is like driving onto the set of Nanny McPhee; cute little cottages, an imposing church and spooky gothic mansion. Slap bang in the middle of all of this is The Cat Inn. The pub is a 16th-century building with original beams on show inside. The interior is what I expected; all scrubbed tables and floors and inglenook fireplaces.
As we approached, 2 range rovers were trying to park in it's already full and very tiny car park so we parked on the street and walked up. Maybe we approached from the wrong entrance but we walked into a hallway and it wasn't immediately welcoming or obvious where to go…perhaps I was having a moment. I was pleased to see that children under 7 aren't permitted (I'm not anti kids – I have a kid – but I don't want them running around whilst I'm having a grown up meal in a nice place. Saying that, what's the difference between a 7 year old or an 8 year old? Surely it would better to exclude children full stop…?)
On turning into the saloon bar we found our way around the bar to announce our arrival for the reservation. It's popularity is obvious as there were many people seated in the small restaurant area and others hanging around the bar waiting and enjoying a drink.
We were seated immediately by a very young looking boy (but perhaps that's my age) on the tiniest, teeniest table positioned in the corner of the room overlooking the courtyard where a large table of young guys and girls sat smoking and drinking pints which was a bit incongruous.
We had to squeeze between another table for 2 and a large table for 6 to get in. No-one bothered to scooch despite us saying ‘excuse me’. It did strike me that the table for 6 was unnecessarily positioned close and could easily have been moved by 10 inches or so to make our table just that little more accessible and comfortable.
The specials board was out of eyesight and we couldn't face getting up and pushing past again.
We were asked if we'd like a drink but as were driving we decided to stick to just a glass of wine with dinner so declined. Our menus were bought along swiftly.
I wasn't expecting miracles but was expecting – well more to be honest. It was a bit standard fare on the starters; soup, pate, salmon etc and there really was nothing we fancied so we decided to pass in favour of desert. The main courses fared slightly better and we chose peri-peri chicken with rosemary potatoes and a lamb kofta with tabboleh on pitta and a mid priced sauvignon blanc.
The food came quickly, almost too quickly – or maybe my husband's company was just over-whelming and made time fly. It made me wonder just how pre-prepared the food was. That said, both dishes were delicious with the lamb taking the prize for best between us (wish I'd have ordered it!). The chicken was good but the peri-peri lacked the kick I would expect. The lamb was great. It came on a large fresh warm pitta with a generous helping of zingly tabboleh, 3 or 4 koftas and a cool sour cream side. Very very nice.
For desert, I chose a warm chocolate hazelnut tart thing which was delicious and melt in the mouth and he chose sticky toffee pudding. The sponge was light and tasty and the toffee very sweet. Perhaps slightly too sweet but that's just me.
The bill was around £60 including wine which was pricey but not more than expected.
All in, I would recommend but go with more than 2 so you don't get the rubbish table!