But don’t fret. There’s no need to jet off to Sweden. Step forward the new, lagom-worthy staycation: The White Horse, in Chilgrove, West Sussex. Nestled at the foot of the South Downs, with open fires, sheepskin rugs, and exposed brick work, walking into this pub was like entering a shabby chic gentlemen’s club with soft, feminine edges.
Greeted by young, friendly and very attentive staff, we were led to our room, The Partridge Suite, one of 15 which boast four-poster beds, beams, and trunks instead of a wardrobe. It was beautiful, but didn’t have a wall mirror, which meant I had to do my hair and make-up in the bathroom. So it wasn’t just the décor which was looking rustic when I went for dinner. Part of the lagom philosophy is eating with the seasons, as nature intended, and The White Horse has a field-to-fork philosophy using only the freshest, local ingredients.
The menu, created by head chef Rob Armstrong, is British and doesn’t change throughout the day, so the same dishes are available for lunch and dinner. ‘Great,’ I thought. ‘If I like something I can have it twice.’ I tucked into mushroom terrine for starters, while my husband Graham went for the chicken and leek version with sour dough. Both were delicious, and not so vast that we were full.
For mains, I couldn’t resist the roast beef – cooked to order just how I like it medium rare, with roasted carrots, and parsnips, red cabbage and caramelised onion. I savoured every morsel, being mindful – in a lagom style, of course – that all the ingredients were sourced locally, and were bursting with flavour. Graham was tucking into his pork loin, and hardly talking, which is always a good sign. There was no room for dessert, but we decamped for a port and a whiskey, which we nursed by the fire, until we began to dose off. Dogs are welcome in The White Horse, and it was even crowned the winner of the People’s Choice in the Pets Pyjamas Travel Awards last year, and that’s all that was missing – a dog lying in front of the hearth. Finally, full and happy, we made our way to bed, where we soon fell asleep.
After a lie in the next day, I drank in the view of the rolling Sussex countryside. The nearest village is four miles away, so this really is a get-away-from-it-all destination, albeit with luxurious touches such as the roll-top bath and private hot tubs in the stag rooms. We went for a walk before breakfast, meandering down to the river. It was one of those sunny, winter days, but we’d been given an umbrella ‘just in case.’
Luckily we didn’t need it, but at least we had worked up an
appetite by the time we arrived back. Fresh milk had been delivered
to our door first thing, along with the papers, and now we headed to the small, fresh buffet area where fruits, cereals, yoghurts
and juices were waiting. We could also order a full English
breakfast, and I could not resist. A plate piled high with sausages,
eggs, lean back bacon – the works – arrived, and I happily worked my way through it. Graham had the same with toast and lashings
‘We will have to go for another stroll to work off all the calories before lunch,’ I said. Graham smiled, and suggested a long walk, and a small lunch. That sounded perfect, and just like the lagom trend: everything (well nearly everything!) in moderation. As for The White Horse, we loved the food, the service, and the location, and will be galloping back for another stay, or dinner, soon.
Rooms cost from £90 Sun-Thurs, based on two sharing, and are from £140 Fri-Sat, and includes breakfast.
Two courses (starter and main) from £25 approx. (Based on the À La Carte Menu)