The Pass At South Lodge Reopens With New Head Chef Ben Wilkinson

Fine dining at its finest – The Pass in West Sussex has officially re-opened its doors and menus, with Ben Wilkinson (previously at The Cottage in the Wood) as Head Chef

Rolling hills and riveting dishes – who’s hungry? Ideal for a fine dining fix, The Pass, located within the countryside manor house hotel of South Lodge in West Sussex, has officially opened its doors to guests with recently appointed Head Chef, Ben Wilkinson at its helm.

Offering an exclusive dining experience, the restaurant seats just 28 covers – which means visiting guests will embark on a truly immersive ‘Chef’s Table’ style dining experience courtesy of Wilkinson, with menus focused on seasonality, clever cooking and food with thought.

Wilkinson has permanently taken over the residency at The Pass and brings a wealth of experience to the restaurant following his success at The Cottage in the Wood, a Michelin starred restaurant with rooms in the Lake District.    

Ben’s seven course tasting menu brings the very best of seasonal and local produce to diners’ plates. The feast starts with a selection of canapés, followed by Wild Sea Trout with oyster and cucumber, topped with roe, tomato essence, nasturtium and prawn. 

For main, guests can tuck into a local Sussex Downs Venison with fennel, caper, smoke, and rye; Wild Cornish Turbot with leek, oyster mushroom, ossetra and champagne; Herdwick Hogget with turnip, peas, onions, and sweetbread. To finish, a Strawberry Ewes’ Curd with vanilla and elderflower; Hazelnut Coffee with maple and chocolate; and a selection of Petit Fours.

Of course, don’t forget the drinks. On the tipples front, there is a wide range of wine from all over the world, including a diverse selection of English sparkling wine, and specially curated wines from France, Austria, New Zealand and Croatia. Diners will have the choice to add on a carefully considered wine flight, pairing the likes of a2020 Dashwood Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand, with the seared venison and a 2019 Piquentum Teran from Istria, Croatia, with the Herdwick hogget.

Ben’s partner, Monika Zurawska (previously the Restaurant Manager at The Cottage in the Wood and Rampsbeck Country House Hotel, Ullswater) has also joined the team and is responsible for leading the front of house experience. 

David Connell, General Manager of South Lodge commented: “We are delighted that Ben and Monika have joined the team at The Pass. The past two years have seen us working with some fabulous chefs for short term residencies, however, we now feel the time is right to bring in a more permanent team to take the restaurant to its next level. 

The Pass has always been about providing excellence and fabulous dining experiences, and we believe Ben is the Chef to deliver this for the longer term. Having held a Michelin Star at The Cottage in the Wood in Keswick, along with being listed at number 24 in the UK Top 100 Restaurants list 2021, Ben demonstrates the quality of menu he can bring to South Lodge. The Lake District has fabulous local produce, but we also know that Sussex has too, so we are very excited by what he can bring to the table for our guests.”

Ben Wilkinson, Head Chef of The Pass added: “We are very pleased to be part of the new team at South Lodge to reopen The Pass. It is afantastic venue where we will be able to produce a really exciting menu and experience for our guests, adding another great restaurant to the hotel. It is a big move down from The Lake District, but I am excited to begin working with the produce and suppliers of Sussex.”

Make it happen
Cost: The seven-course tasting menu (plus snacks) will be priced at £120 per person.  The five glass wine flight pairing will be priced at £85 per person.
How: For reservations, please visit
Where: The Pass at South Lodge, Brighton Road, Lower Beeding, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 6PS

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