The Hare & Hounds, Lingfield, is a charming, powder blue pub, sitting unassumingly along the slip road outside the quaint, Midsommer Murders-esque village of Lingfield, famed for its racecourse. Inside is a colourful explosion of mismatched furniture, oriental flourishes and borderline kitsch-tacky details which somehow coalesce to produce something like the sitting room of my dreams -all of this arranged neatly around a large log fire.
The pub changed hands three years ago and is now under the stewardship of Eric Payet – from La Reunion island, and his wife Tracy who managed front of house. The menu has shot up in quality with British classics served with cheeky hints at a more exotic interpretation.The food, quite simply, is exquisite.
I had black pudding with caramelised apples, mustard butter and crisp smokey bacon. Soft, pungeant pudding complemented perfectly by the fruit, and a crispy, pan-fried swedge of pineapple.
Dad had a simple, but very tasty Salade nicoise, with a runny poached egg, ultra crispy croutons and a serious no-messing-about mustardy dressing whipped together with the tuna to coat the leaves, radishes and slivers of fennel.
Mum feasted on honey-glazed ham hock with triple-cooked chips and pickled pineapple. The chips were glorious, cleary roasted when ultra-fluffy and deliciously seasoned. The ham hock fell apart at the touch of the fork and perfect with the uncuous eggy topping.
A pub then, with nothing to fault, except that I only get to go there when the folks take me (MUST get that damn driving licence!!)