Sussex Pass restaurant is all about celebrating locally grown produce served with flair and imagination. It’s located in the heart of the Weald in the charming village of Wadhurst, East Sussex and launched back in April 2021,
This rural restaurant, based in the White Hart, Wadhurst, could hardly be better placed to source the best local produce. However, founder, Sam Maynard (ex The Gallivant and Hotel du Vin) and Head Chef Adam Sear, have gone a step further and acquired a new farm, Sussex Patch, just a couple of miles away. The farm will become the main source of organic, fruit and vegetables, focusing on growing a selection of seasonal local varieties.
Our visit to Sussex Pass at The White Hart was complimentary for review purposes, however, all thoughts, opinions and love of a Sussex Sparkling are entirely our own
‘Locally grown, sourced and celebrated’
We visited Sussex Pass restaurant to enjoy some fabulous food offerings and wine pairings – the perfect antidote to a grey, drizzle-drenched Friday.
Sussex Pass restaurant review
Sussex Pass at the White Hart, Wadhurst and a Rathfinny Classic Cuvée
The stylish restaurant has an intimate feel with a gorgeous palate of moody blues and slate greys. Plush, velvet chairs contrast with studded brass table tops and low-hanging retro lightbulbs. A huge historic map of Wadhurst village on the wall lends a nod to the locale.
Delicious Oast and Rye (another local supplier) candles scented the restaurant and their gorgeous products were also provided in the loos. The hand cream is divine and I wish I’d made a note of the fragrance.
For brighter days, the new heated terrace to the rear, is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal or drinks with friends in the Sussex sunshine. There are over 30 Sussex Gins to choose from as well as a local beer, spirits and Sussex wines from Rathfinny, Nyetimber and Roebuck Estate. The extensive new and old world wine list is also impressive.
Sussex Pass restaurant review
We’re welcomed by our server, the delightful Beatrice, who shows us to our table before returning with two glasses of Rathfinny Classic Cuvée. We sip on the crisp Sussex Sparkling whilst mulling over the à la carte menu which celebrates local meats, seafood, fish, cheese and vegetables.
Highlights from the Sussex Pass à la carte menu
Crab Salad with Heritage Tomatoes
Crab salad with heritage tomatoes
Choosing is not an easy task as I’m tempted by much of the menu, which is unusual for me. Eventually I plump for the crab salad with heritage tomatoes. I’m pleased with my choice as a generous portion of moist, white crab meat served on colourful juicy heritage tomatoes is delivered to our table.
The sweetness of the tomatoes beautifully enhances the saltiness of the crab. A serving of soft home baked bread with cultured butter arrives too.
We’ve opted for the wine pairing at £19.50 pp for 3 courses instead of ordering a bottle of wine. I sip on a glass of ‘The Holy Snail’ Loir Sauvignon Blanc which complements the crab perfectly.
Chicken Liver Pate with pear chutney
Chicken liver pate with pear chutney and orange
My dining partner opts for chicken liver pate, pear chutney and orange accompanied by a glass of Gasper Coriska Brda Pinot Grigio. He gives up a small sample of the rich, smooth pate and I begin to doubt my own choice. Menu envy is a fickle foe.
Our meal is very relaxed, neither rushed nor too slow. This pace gives us time to fully appreciate each course. Service is friendly but not over the top.
Pan-fried hake with mussels, chorizo and cider sauce
Pan-fried hake with mussels, chorizo and tender stem brocolli
My main course appears. A beautifully presented dish of pan-fried hake topped with a scattering of mussels, chorizo, a long drizzle of cider sauce and tender stem broccoli with just the right amount of bite.
The entire ensemble sits on a soft cushion of creamy mashed potato. The taste combinations are one magical mouthful after another. The wine pairing is a delightful Antonella Corda Vermentino di Sardegna.
Paley Farm Sirloin
Sirloin steak at Sussex Pass
A succulent Paley Farm sirloin with a shallot tart and wilted buttery spinach arrives for my partner. It comes with a side of White Hart man-sized chips and a liberal serving of creamy peppercorn sauce. It’s paired with a glass of Chateau Macquin Saint-Georges Saint-Emillion.
Unsurprisingly, there’s not a lot of conversation during our main course. We’re far too intent on savouring this fabulous food.
Beatrice appears with the dessert menu. We shouldn’t really but it all sounds delightful, not least the wondrous Sussex cheese trolley which features the finest local cheeses. Think Sussex Charmer, Kentish Blue and Sussex Camembert.
Tart tatin with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream
Tart tatin with caramel sauce
We go for the sweet option and I’m delighted when my dessert arrives. A crisp, pastry tart is layered with tangy apple slices, steeped in a glossy caramel glaze and topped with a pleasingly sized scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. It’s served with a Mâcon-Chardonnay.
Deconstructed blackcurrant and verbena cheesecake
My companion enjoys his blackcurrant and verbena deconstructed cheesecake although I think he’d secretly preferred it to have been constructed. The wine pairing here is a Rioja Blanco.
Dining at Sussex Pass is a celebration of the best Sussex and Kent produce with ingredients sourced from excellent local suppliers like Paley Farm, Ffrenchs Fish and Ditchling’s Back Yard coffee.
The food served at Sussex Pass is imaginative and tasty with interesting and unique taste combinations all beautifully presented and served in a stylish setting. We can’t wait to return.
Sussex Pass at the White Hart, Wadhurst
Sussex Pass at The White Hart
Tel: 01892 782850
Website: Sussex Pass
The Sussex Pass opens Tuesday – Saturday: lunch: 12pm-2.30pm, dinner: 5.30pm -8.30pm, Sunday 10am-4pm.
Sussex Pass is dog friendly.
Sussex Pass restaurant, Wadhurst
Wadhurst is a little over an hour by train from London Charing Cross and just ten minutes from Tunbridge Wells. Sussex Pass restaurant is about half an hour’s walk from Wadhurst train station or a short taxi ride.
Combine your visit with a day out to local attractions like Pashley Manor Gardens, Bewl Water or Scotney Castle.
Suzanne Jones is co-founder of Hello Sussex and travel writer and content creator at The Travelbunny travel blog.
Friday 13th of August 2021
This all sounds (and looks!) wonderful. I don't know Wadhurst at all but a visit here would be a great excuse to put that right!
Friday 13th of August 2021
I can't think of a better reason to visit!