We pass The Woodmancote Pub quite a bit on our cycle rides and although a little too close to home, we sometimes try to do a long and hilly loop before stopping there for coffee and sometimes cake. The Woodmancote is situated in the small country village of Woodmancote, West Sussex, just beyond Westbourne, near Emsworth (not to be confused with the one near Henfield).
There’s lots to choose from on the menu, salads, sandwiches, ham & eggs, belly of pork, fish, Sunday roasts etc., and of course, several desserts. They also have around eight dishes available – although only at certain times – for smaller appetites.
There’s several different dining areas, all a bit eclectic. There’s the restaurant room (which I’ve never been in), the conservatory, the bar area, the lounge with comfy chairs, knitted throws, cushions and a fire, the ‘library’ and a couple of others. Or if it’s nice enough, there’s the outside seating which is where we normally brave it in all weathers when out cycling.
I’m not sure if they still have the offer of £3 for cake & coffee or for a bacon & egg bap in the mornings, but if they do then I suggest you go for the bap as I find their cakes to be very disappointing. I was talking about this only the other day and another friend overheard and said she’d been recently and had to leave her cake as it was stale. The same happened to me a few months back (not for the first time either) and not being one to complain, whilst I was in the loo my friends mentioned it to staff as the plates were being cleared and they gave me a refund. So, I’m sorry but I only ever have a coffee there now when we’re cycling. If you simply must have cake then go for the fruit cake.
Well, that’s the negative bit out of the way, let’s get to the positives, and there’s plenty of them…
We arranged to meet a cycling chum, without our bikes this time, for lunch on the Easter Bank Holiday Monday. We didn’t book, we just took our chance and we were early enough to manage to grab a table as it soon filled up.
The belly pork (which is almost always my ‘go-to’ dish) came in two large pieces. It was very nice and tender, with a crisp crackling on top, not too salty either which is good. Dauphinoise potatoes, fresh vegetables and very tasty gravy accompanied the dish.
The yummy rummy bread & butter pudding was more of a bread pudding. I shared this with my friend and we both enjoyed it very much. Funny because I’m not a fan on banana tasting things and bread pudding is never normally my first choice but the rum bit sounded nice. It had slices of bananas laced in rum and demerara sugar and served with custard. Yum!
As I mentioned earlier in this post, we’ve eaten here on several occasions, be it main meals or sandwiches it’s always been very good – apart from those darned cakes! Sandwiches come with coleslaw, salad garnish and chips so it’s quite filling.
I love the life-size creepy old butler mannequin in the ‘library’. It’s a little dark, but cosy in there and that’s why the photo’s aren’t great. The bill is sometimes served in a sparkly red high-heeled shoe or even sometimes the wine bottles.
The Woodmancote hold events throughout the year, quiz night’s, tribute bands, Murder Mystery nights, Wednesday steak night etc.,
Quite a while back the owner came out and asked us why we didn’t use his cycle racks in the other part of the car park – there is a car park on either side of the pub – so we told him the reasons why. He asked us what type we needed/wanted and within a week or two he’d had two new rails installed. That was very kind of him I thought.
Remember back in the early ’80’s the really popular pubs/restaurants such as Mr. Pickwick pub and The Jolly Sailor in Portsmouth and The Bosham Inn (which funnily enough is our next blog post) including others owned by JM Inns? Well, this is also one of Johnny Miller’s along with The Holly Tree in Walberton, West Sussex.
All in all The Woodmancote – or ‘Woodies’ as it’s also known – is worth a visit.
Quality 8 (not including the cakes of course)
Living life, loving cake