The Taste Of Victory
by Hanna Lindon
Times are hard for country pubs, but The Victory Inn is thriving. Here’s why Staplefield’s local is bucking the trend.
With its flickering log fire, blackboard menus, memorabilia- hung walls and snug seating nooks, Staplefield’s Victory Inn is the ultimate English country pub. While other village inns are struggling to survive, though, The Victory is going from strength to strength. Its secret? Providing a hub for village life while enticing visitors from all around with an idyllic location and mouth-watering food menu.
“I don’t believe in the term ‘gastro pub’,” says Janet Shepherd, who runs The Victory Inn with her partner Jane Pedgrift. “I don’t think you can do that kind of thing and be a real pub that welcomes dogs, muddy wellies and kids throwing food on the floor! We do proper, home-cooked pub food, but we put an emphasis on quality ingredients and cooking from scratch.”
One look at the menu is enough to set your mouth watering. Staples include a tapas sharing plate, inspired by Jane and Janet’s years of living in Spain, and the legendary Victory Burger. “People come from a long way to have that burger,” smiles Jane, who’s the brains behind the imaginative menu. As well as serving traditional pub favourites and a hugely popular roast on Sundays, she rustles up scrumptious vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes. There’s even a delicious healthy eating menu for slimmers.
But it isn’t just the food that makes the Victory such a top-notch local. Jane and Janet have created a warm, welcoming environment where community life thrives. Staff are well-trained but encouraged to be themselves with the customers, getting to know the names and favourite dishes of regulars.
A packed calendar of events helps to bring the community together and support local causes – a recent quiz and curry night raised £2,000 towards a village defibrillator. The monthly Sunday breakfast buffet is always sold out (no surprise when guests can help themselves to homemade granola, American pancakes and traditional British fare plus unlimited hot drinks for £10 per head) and some guests book their table for the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run a year in advance. Weddings, wakes and parties take place in the pub throughout the year.
“We have this wonderful outside space that makes us popular for functions,” explains Jane. The back garden is like a nature reserve, full of wildlife and enclosed by trees, and the front looks out over the village green.”
She and Janet go above and beyond to make important occasions particularly memorable. This Mother’s Day, for instance, every mum will be given a present of homemade chocolate or biscuits. It’s innovative touches like this that makes the Victory Inn such a special place – not just for locals, but for everyone.
THE VICTORY INN
Address: Warninglid Road, Staplefield, West Sussex RH17 6EU
Telephone: 01444 400463