National accolade for The Pass restaurant

JPCT 061113 The Pass restaurant at South Lodge Hotel - Winners in the top 100 restaurants. Chef Matt Gillan. Photo by Derek Martin

JPCT 061113 The Pass restaurant at South Lodge Hotel - Winners in the top 100 restaurants. Chef Matt Gillan. Photo by Derek Martin

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South Lodge Hotel’s The Pass restaurant, near Lower Beeding, has been ranked 32nd in the country by the Sunday Times Food List.

Head chef Matt Gillan told the County Times that they knew some time ago that they were in the top 100, but only heard their final ranking when the list was published on Sunday.

“We knew we were going to be on the list, so we were quite excited about that,” he said.

“When we found we were in the top half, we were really happy - there’s some great restaurants on that list, so we’re glad to be on it.” He put their success down to a combination of factors.

“We’ve got a unique setting to begin with,” he said, “the restaurant’s in the kitchen, so the environment is very different to a normal restaurant.”

He said they also have an unusual approach to service, aiming to create an experience that is more like a dinner party than a meal in a restaurant.

“The chefs present all the foods, and we’re there to chat with all the guests - again, like hosts at a dinner party.”

The Sunday Times ranks restaurants according to the opinions of thousands of diners. This year, organisers say they have based the scores on 80,000 reviews from 9,000 customers.