Over the past year, Emma and husband Johnnie have refurbished The Black Horse to its’ former glory and then some. Officially re-opening on the 1st of December 2018, they took a big risk and it certainly paid off. Read on to find out a bit more about why you need to add this to your list of the best country pubs in the South to visit.
The bar when you enter the pub is open and welcoming, showcasing local sourced ales and impressive magnums of champagnes and Provence wine. Manager Johnny Robinson has curated an impressive wine list including many from the surrounding vineyards such as Nyetimber- down the road.
The addition of a private dining area to the right of the bar, aptly called “The Tack Room” caters for parties of up to 20 people at no extra charge, which is a great idea if you have a large family for lunch one Sunday, or an intimate meal planned for a special celebration.
At the end of the bar area is a gorgeous open fire with comfortable sofa seating where you can relax and enjoy your drinks or a snack from the bar in an informal setting.
Going into the main restaurant you are greeted by another stunning open fire, and our favourite part- an open kitchen. The interiors are classic and timeless but the attention to detail from publican Emma is second to none. Quirky locally made crockery and rosemary plants on the table, sofa-style seating and cosy armchairs.
Over lunch we discussed the renovation of the pub. Emma explains that they wouldn’t be in the position they are today “without the support of the incredible local community.” Who were integral in the re-opening of the pub.
Head Chef Tom Hayler describes his menu at The Black Horse as “classic pub food, redefined.” With locally sourced ingredients, always.
After lunch, we explored the “The Garden Room”, the latest addition to The Black Horses’s refurbishment. A café/ dining room which opens out with bi-fold doors onto a superb patio area, that leads up to their terrace garden. The garden itself features the most stunning views over the glorious South Downs. The Garden Room is somewhere that people can go to grab a coffee or some breakfast and do some work, or to enjoy a slice of cake in the afternoon or just a light and informal lunch. They are installing a pizza oven which will be used when the restaurant is closed, so that people can still come and enjoy a hot meal at the pub, even after usual service hours.
The Black Horse in Amberley is one of those “little gems” that everyone needs to know about. What Emma and Johnnie have created from their wealth of experience and time in the industry is an elegant, classic and timeless establishment where you can go and enjoy a cosy glass of red by the fire with your loved one (dog’s welcome!), you can feast with your family over sumptuous Sunday roasts in the main dining room whilst you watch the chefs hard at work or you could grab your best girlfriends/ boyfriends and take over “The Tack Room” for a more intimate dining experience on a special occasion.
The menu is classic and reasonably priced, the wine list is extensive but not over-facing, and the atmosphere is buzzy. This paired with the impeccable attention to detail on interiors and extremely friendly staff really does make for the dream country pub.