The Pass at South Lodge

Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of The Pass at South Lodge

Gold Award

The Pass is a small space, with just 10 tables in total, but manages to escape feeling cramped due to a large glass wall that stands between the restaurant and the kitchen. The kitchen is calm, composed and runs like clockwork with Ben Wilkinson at the helm - who defies all chef stereotypes.

Our tasting menu starts with snacks, varying from comte and truffle gougeres through to pigs head croquettes, but it’s the trout tartlet with oyster emulsion that lets us know we’re in for something special. Before long the wine flight begins and courses arrive in quick succession, delivered by chefs who explain each component to add a personal touch to the experience.

Each plate of food is clean, concise, and perfectly-balanced. While all were superb, one dish sings louder than the rest - the celeriac and winter truffle royale with braised beef cheek. With a combination of ingredients like bone marrow and hen of the wood mushrooms, it is rich, deeply earthy, and multi-dimensional thanks to various layers of flavour and texture.

A cheese course rounds off the savoury dishes, before moving onto sweet plates such as ewes milk and vanilla mousse with various strawberries, frangipane with sour cherry and chocolate, and petit fours. We wash down the latter with homemade kombucha and apple marigold syrup.

Monika, head sommelier, takes charge of the wine pairings and talks us through each carefully considered glass. She manages to remain informative while avoiding the pretentious lexicon that you might find elsewhere in a Michelin star restaurant, and keeps us genuinely engrossed in each wine.

The Pass almost seems too good to be true - a fantastic, and lengthy, tasting menu with service to match (by the chefs themselves, no less) and all for £145. Perhaps it's the reality of dining outside London, or just the work of a generous team making this kind of experience slightly more accessible. Either way, we’ll be back - but with an elasticated waistband in future.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Fine dining, Fun, Luxury, Unique
One Michelin star, SquareMeal UK Top 100
Food Occasions
Special Features
Chef’s table
Perfect for
Celebrations, Romantic, Special occasions


The Pass is an intimate restaurant within the luxury spa South Lodge hotel, West Sussex, headed up by the highly talented chef Ben Wilkinson. Under Ben’s guidance, the restaurant is now the proud holder of a Michelin star, winning the accolade for the first time in 2023. The Pass serves exciting tasting menus which make the most of seasonal produce, and promises each guest a unique and memorable dining experience.

The restaurant is able to cater for up to 28 diners within its historic walls, with guests seated slap bang in the middle of the kitchen in order to immerse themselves in its buzzing atmosphere. Overlooking the brigade of chefs in action, diners can watch them create each innovative dish before finishing them at the pass, for a truly immersive ‘chef’s table’ experience.

Head chef Ben Wilkinson lies at the heart of the kitchen, who moved to The Pass following his success working at Michelin-starred The Cottage in the Wood in the Lake District. His partner Monika Zurawska, meanwhile, manages the front of house team, a seemingly unstoppable duo with the aim of bringing diners an unrivalled dining experience.

There is one seven-course tasting menu available, which changes regularly depending on the seasons and what produce is available that day. However, examples of dishes you’re likely to try include celeriac with beef cheek fillet and celery, wild Newhaven turbot with asparagus, oyster, Ridgeview sparkling and king oyster mushrooms, as well as Fallow venison with beetroot, kale, red wine, peppercorn and lardo. Sweet courses, meanwhile, include Yorkshire rhubarb with ewe’s curd, vanilla and rose.

On the drinks menu there is a wide range of wine from all over the world, including a diverse selection of English sparkling wine, and specially curated wines from France, Austria, New Zealand and Croatia. Diners also have the choice to add on a carefully considered wine flight with each course.


Does it cater for dietary requirements?

It's currently unable to cater for vegan and dairy-free diets.

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Is it child-friendly?

The restaurant is open to those aged 12 years and over

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How much time should you allow for dinner?

Please allow three hours for your dining experience.

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South Lodge, Lower Beeding, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 6PS

01403 891711 01403 891711


Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 18:30-20:30
Thu 18:30-20:30
Fri 18:30-20:30
Sat 18:30-20:30
Sun 18:30-20:30


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1 Review 

Paul A

19 April 2016  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
Very enjoyable
The set-up of the dining room was something of an unexpected contrast with the rest of the South Lodge premises, the hotel full of traditional style and elegance, the restaurant with elevated banks of seats and uncomfortable high chairs designed to allow full visibility of the open kitchen opposite but nowhere to place one’s feet conveniently. The imminent change of chef, with Matt Gillan leaving for some undisclosed destination, surprisingly meant that we had the pleasure of meeting the incoming replacement, Ian Swainson, who had the tricky task of getting to know the kitchen and cooking someone else’s menu, a task he accomplished with some success. This is also a restaurant where the chefs serve and explain the dishes, a nice touch, although a cynic might wonder how much in waiting staff costs it saves. Snacks came in the form of a parmesan tapioca crisp, potato foam and crisp, cured salmon with pickled cucumber, and crispy belly pork in panko crumbs and dashi, all of them light and palate-provoking. The sequence of light and attractive dishes continued with chicken liver parfait, terrific radishes soaked in cranberry juice, roasted onion and a yuzu reduction, then pressed chicken steamed in whisky, red chicory and a fabulous roasted girolle sauce, and finally onion puffed rice with a black olive topping, very mild and soft caramelised Roscoff onion and a lovely light hollandaise. The fish dish was pan-fried pollock complemented with crushed chick peas, roasted spring onion, garlic cream and an onion crunch. Happily the prominence of onions in these dishes was properly balanced against all the other ingredients. We were offered an alternative to the meat dish on the tasting menu which we gladly accepted since it was the goat special that Matt Gillan had got through to the Great British Menu Dinner. A great deal has been written about this comprehensive exposition of the meat with all its various elements, but we particularly enjoyed the goat fat gnocchi, the confit shoulder and the ‘Herder’s pie’, chef’s spicy take on the lamb version. Two delightful and light desserts were just right after all the rest, strawberries in balsamico with basil leaf and tonka bean served on a biscuit base, and a super green tea meringue with hazel nut marshmallow and lemon jelly. Everything was very competently done and most enjoyable, but at the end of the meal our thoughts did, inevitably, turn to wondering how the new chef will put his stamp on The Pass.
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01403 891711 01403 891711

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