Review: The Rising Sun at West Bagborough
PUBLISHED: 10:33 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:33 23 October 2018
Jane Clark finds modern style mixed with warm hospitality at a pretty village pub
The Rising Sun at West Bagborough has responded to the subtle but influential changes in modern rural life. It is a picturesque roadside pub with benches outside, on a quiet road in the village. The bar has a slate floor and wooden beams but it’s cleverly done with plenty of light and space. This means the locals use it, quite naturally, as a meeting point. It gets busy and this creates a buzz and interest.
The restaurant is the other side of a wooden panel and creates its own atmosphere; away from the drinkers and definitely chic. The staff are well informed and quietly enthusiastic. Our waiter was, quite literally, the boy next door. Finding people who can chat casually and intelligently to customers and yet balance that with prompt and effective service is an art. I have known restaurateurs tear their hair out when boredom and disinterest has bubbled up through the ranks. It can wreck even the most beautifully appointed hostelry; bad service is a blight that kills its host.
The food is modern European and the menu changes frequently. Starters included flatbreads with Mediterranean toppings; my choice and it was delicious. Or there were mussels, soup, garlic mushrooms or fishcakes. For mains there was fish, seafood, steak and a vegetarian dish. The list isn’t long but the food is accomplished, nicely seasoned and features imaginative combinations and sauces. I had cod with fresh lime and caper dressing. It was light and tangy. For dessert we shared a rhubarb and custard dish. It was a pretty dessert in three parts with rhubarb jelly, raspberry marshmallow and a raspberry gel and fresh cream mille feuille. The fruit was fresh picked from their garden and the dish looked nothing short of jewel-like and a was a delight to eat. I also tasted their rich and piquant chocolate delice; glossy and dark it was full of flavour and not over sweet.
The Rising Sun has nailed it. It is smart with a heart. Its customers look happy, successful and prosperous. The landlady, Linda Palk, is a noticeably sharp dresser with a quick mind. She waits at the tables, sits at the bar and chats, and is utterly immersed in her work. She seems to have a firm grip and yet a light touch over all aspects of her business, from her staff and décor to the food. This lovely pub is managed with obvious passion.
The place was busy and the atmosphere was good. I love eating where you can see all ages. Soft lighting and imaginative use of space, furniture and fabrics give a comfortable and cosy feel but in a modern and stylish manner. This one is worth the drive and if you’re a local then count yourself lucky.