Royal Oak

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The Royal Oak is a real rural retreat, tucked away in a small village in the rolling Sussex countryside. A popular spot for walkers and riders, its...

The Royal Oak is a real rural retreat, tucked away in a small village in the rolling Sussex countryside.

A popular spot for walkers and riders, its close proximity to Goodwood also makes it a destination for the racing set.

The main draw is the food, which is made with care and according to owner Nick Sutherland "has no particular style" and steers away from "fads and fashion".

Fish and chips is made with fillet of fresh cod, encased in a beer batter that is prepared twice a day and comes with home-made tartar sauce. The team of chefs also bake their own ham every other day.

The main menu changes with each season and there are daily blackboard specials, which vary for lunch and dinner and account for 35% of sales.

"We just listen to the customers and let them tell us what they like," says Sutherland.

"The main thing is to know your market and to keep evolving. Even walking down the food aisles in Marks & Spencers gives you ideas."

The pub also boasts comfy letting rooms which range from cosy barns at the back to two flint cottages down a quiet lane 40 yards away.

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