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Dorset Arms, Withyham Hartfield

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user reviews of the Dorset Arms, Withyham Hartfield

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

The Dorset Arms is quite an impressive building inside and out. It feels like an old manor house. But there is currently scaffolding and it wasn't immediately obvious whether or not it was open. But the barmaid was quite welcoming when we did go in. It's clearly popular for food, as we were immediately asked if we had booked a table. There is bar to the left as you walk in and a dining area to the right. The 3 ales were Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, Long Man Long Blonde & Adnams Bitter. Nice pub. But the ale selection was a little lacking.
blue_scrumpy - 13 Jun 2016 18:58
Arrived on a Sunday lunchtime having booked 16 people in for lunch and got a surprisingly offhand, almost frosty reception. No sarnies or ploughmans available on a Sunday and the main meals were quite pricey. Food was OK, nothing to shout about and I would say the same of the beer. It's a Harveys house, the IPA was good but the Sussex was just average. Can't honestly say I enjoyed the place.
alan_From_SAWW - 12 May 2013 17:49
Lovely old pub, interesting interior. Had a very nice Sunday lunch, generous portions, and delicious hand-cut beef still nicely pink in the centre. One of us had the halibut, which was delicious and beautifully presented. Extremely pleasant staff and efficient service. Will definitely be back, and would certainly recommend.
misterwoppit - 16 Oct 2011 19:58
Understand this Harveys pub changed management not long ago. Excellent pint of Harveys and very friendly staff so hope the new team do well. Certainly deserve to on this visit. Didnt eat on this occasion but menu looks good but priced for the area.
foamy - 22 Sep 2011 19:30
Would go along with everyone else here. Quick, friendly service and a lovely pint of Hadlow Bitter in the relaxing garden admiring a couple of classic Ferraris in the garage opposite!
ace1973 - 8 Aug 2010 14:55
Went for lunch on Sunday 21st March for my mother's 80th birthday. Restaurant was full but we were well looked after. The tomoto and bail soup went down well with my son and my mother loved the smoked salmon. The mains were superb we had the pork, lamb and beef roasts which were excellent and ample. My nephew had the 'Daddy' and could not finish it and my niece had the Steak & Ale pie which I tasted abd was superb (she again could not finish it). However the chocolate fudge brownie for pudding was out of this world and my mother though the white chocolate cheesecake was the best she ever had. All this and a pint of Harveys what more can you ask for. Highly recommended.
lozlis - 24 Mar 2010 13:56
Top pub, top managers, top beer and great food, what more could you ask for.
lozlis - 25 Feb 2010 11:42
I had very high expectations of this pub after reading several reviews. We had been on a family day out and although admittedly late in the afternoon I was told that food had stopped being served which I was ok with due to the time. My party consisted of myself, my wife,2 teenage children and a dog. The day was rather damp and miserable and I did not assume that we could just bring the dog into the pub, so intially stood in the porch area, but we were told by the bar staff that we could bring the dog into the bar area. We duly did that and I was about to order some drinks when the young barmaid advised me that my two teenage children were not allowed in the public bar but the dog was. When I asked where my children were allowed, she advised us that they could go through to the now closed restaurant but the dog couldn't (understandable). We did no more but but voice our disgust at English hospitality and left. We went along to The Crown at Groombridge and were not only allowed to all sit in a very cosy bar area but had a delightful meal cooked specially by the chef even thou the restaurant had officially closed, Now there's hospitality for you!!!
beeronme - 13 Nov 2008 18:34
It's me again - see 25th October 2007. Went back yesterday, and can now also recommend the steak and ale pie - a real pie with meat embedded in the gorgeous thick pastry crust. This time I saved room for the Malva pudding, and it definitely didn't disappoint.

Four Harveys ales on offer - Pale Ale, Bitter, XXX and Porter. Had the Porter, and to be honest it might have been a little off, but hey, that's real ale for you. It won't stop me trying it again.
philanders - 28 Mar 2008 08:02
One of Harvey's great small-village pubs. Full of character, and well worth seeking out.
rpadam - 9 Feb 2008 17:55
Went down to T.Wells to take my 87 year old father out for lunch, and 'found' this place from the GBG and this website. Boy, what a good find.
The building dates from 1790 and retains the great majority of its original features, including a magnificent fireplace, actually in use. As a previous reviewer mentioned, a wonderful aroma of wood smoke, and every 30 minutes, as a new log was put on, that crackly sparky visual effect.
The menu had about 18 mains on it. Dad had the 'lamb chop'. I've put it in inverted commas because a lamb chop it most definitely wasn't - it was a slice through the fat end of a leg of lamb, complete with the circular bone in the middle, and it was an inch thick. I thought there was no way he was going to cut it, but he didn't have to - when he touched it with knife and fork it surrendered and just fell off the bone. And according to Dad, who's no gourmet, it melted in the mouth. I had the biggest plate of liver and bacon I've ever had in a pub, and I usually go for that when out as it's my favourite. The final touch was the scrummy onion gravy.
But the biggest regret of all was that we were so satisfied that we couldn't manage a pudding. Why regret ?? Because amongst the list of usual (superb looking) suspects was Malva Pudding, and I haven't seen this ANYWHERE since my wife and I had it at Miller Howe in the Lake District, ten years ago, where it was created by the great John Tovey. I would have loved to have tried it.
There were three Harveys real ales on tap, but I can only vouch for the quality of two of them. The place was pretty full of diners of 'a certain age' which speaks volumes for it, as it's in the country and is not really reachable on foot from anywhere.
A great little pub - I only wish I lived closer.

philanders - 25 Oct 2007 18:09
Deservedly popular Harvey's pub in picturesque location. Serves quality reasonably priced food and well kept Harvey's ales. Worth reserving a table. Worth seeking out. Pleasant staff.
GrahamH - 22 Jun 2007 12:32
Excellent village pub serving well kept selection of Harveys ales.
Floyd - 6 May 2007 20:27
Visited this pub yesterday with a group of walkers. Nice pint of Harveys and good cheap food. Bar area has a proper log fire but is pretty small: with 14 people we pretty much packed it out. There's quite a large resturant area as well but all tables in there were reserved. Nice place, maybe a good idea to book if you want to be sure of a table.
alan_From_SAWW - 12 Feb 2007 18:49
Great pub...a real one for the locals.
anonymous - 1 Dec 2006 13:56
The preceding comment is a damn shame, but I believe that this was not representative of the usual service found at this classic, unspoilt, excellent Sussex pub.
The Dorset is one of my personal favourites, because it understands the traditional values inherent in a well-run pub that'll appeal to a broad cross-section of people with discernment about where they drink and eat, and executes them brilliantly, in my experience.
They offer a range of 4 Harvey's ales kept to absolute perfection, which makes this as a must for all ale appreciaters.
The food offers a broad range of home-cooked and hearty traditional meals, taking in lamb, beef, chicken, salmon and sometimes swordfish along the way. And for a pub of this ilk in this locality, they are keenly-priced at around 7-8.
The atmosphere is conducive to conversation, and lively debate. There is a huge fireplace which gives off that delightful aroma of burning wood on cold Winter days, and everything is clean, without being sterile.
I find the service to be excellent to boot.
There is also a pleasant garden at the front which conveniently captures plenty of sun in Summer months.
Really this pub doesn't do anything wrong for me; I hope others find the same.
TWG - 18 Oct 2006 18:29
3:30, Sunday afternoon. Enter busy bar, people with full pints. Girlie behind bar asks if she can help us, which she does by telling us she 'stopped serving' at 3PM.

It *looks* like it could well be a 9 pointer, but shutting to passing trade on a summer Sunday afternoon...is this place run for the punters, or for the staff and their friends?


nickdavies - 13 Aug 2006 19:22
Terrific well kept pints of Harveys 'Tom Paine'.
anonymous - 18 Jul 2006 16:37
Great Harveys pub with excellently kept beer and great food. Well worth a trip into the country for!
the_angry_beaver - 26 Sep 2005 15:03
New owners should improve on the slightly frosty atmosphere that existed previously. Good location and restuarant serves a decent shank of lamb.
Terry Local - 3 Nov 2004 16:47
Great pub. Very atmospheric and really know how to keep their Harveys. Food excellent and good value. Has just, in the last couple of weeks, changed hands so the jury may retire for a short while. The new licensees would be well advised to leave well alone.
simondavis - 5 Oct 2004 17:13

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