Like many of us, I’m sure I fly along the A23 concentrating hard on the road and the traffic around me.

Well, not the last time I was on this particular stretch I didn’t – instead, I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a little while and pulled off.

I’ve promised myself a visit to The Plough in Pyecombe for as long as I can remember – certainly before I was given the best job in the world, PubSpy at The Argus.

My first challenge was getting to the place from the A23, but fortunately this didn’t prove too tricky as it’s quite well sign-posted. There is plenty of parking and we were immediately welcomed by an incredibly effusive gentleman behind the bar.

I immediately eyed up the Long Blonde from the Longman Brewery as this claims to be a light, golden ale with a distinctive hoppy aroma. In my naivety I thought this 3.8 per cent beer would be perfect for a summer’s eve.

Fortunately for me, Bob (who’s obviously a local) was already at the bar and has insider knowledge – which, he was happy to share. I was advised the pint was “OK” but I’d have to swallow it at least twice. Forewarned is forearmed so I requested a taster and can confirm Bob’s a man who know his onions.

Inside I upgraded to a pint of 4.0 per cent Best from the same brewery which was not a bad pint at all – I swallowed each mouthful with ease.

It’s quickly apparent this place is set up with food in mind. There is a small wooded area at the front of the premises which is set aside and does look pub-like, but it’s really a large eatery – both inside and out. The conservatory is massive and the outside dining area even bigger. There’s even a huge grassed area which was once earmarked as an overflow car park.

But, despite this, our host (and I must assume he is the manager of The Plough) Saeed creates a very welcoming feel of bonhomie among both his regulars and those, like us, who were simply passing by.

The rest of the staff are all dressed head to toe in black – I assume this is a uniform and not just a coincidence.

Friendly, smiling Saeed is like the conductor from behind his bar and orchestrates all around him – customers and staff alike. The staff, while perfectly efficient and pleasant, probably haven’t worked there too long – Saeed, on the other hand, is I suspect an old hand of many years’ service.

Like a number of these large eating houses there has to be a whole host of rules and regulations to ensure everything complies with all the H&S nonsense, but also the whims of fussy diners.

One sign outside says children must be accompanied by adults at all times, which seems a shame as it’s a wide-open area and looks perfect for them to let off steam – given there’s a no dog rule out the back too there shouldn’t be any messy problems mixing the two might bring. Dogs are restricted to the front of the pub and there were several bowls down for them.

I returned to my seat just in time for the arrival of our food – we shared a pizza and a chicken and avocado salad, both were fantastically fresh, beautifully presented and exceptionally tasty. I can report with confidence that the food we got was superb and great value.

I was served by two serving staff, both heavily tattooed and pierced, but again they were orchestrated brilliantly by the conductor behind the bar.

Jim, clearly another local, popped in and, like everyone else, he was greeted with a handshake by Saeed who immediately presented him with complimentary nuts – a nice touch.

At this point I realised the management must have a particularly generous nature as there are no fewer than six charity boxes on the bar.

As you would expect, it wasn’t long before talk around the bar moved on to the currently unavoidable topic of the World Cup. Our host must hail from Iran as he was very specific about the style of football played by the Iranian squad and it was great to hear him discussing them with such warmth – of course it hasn’t ultimately helped them progress in the competition, but it is nice for all sides to have their supporters.

I’m usually in a mad rush to be getting somewhere when I join the A23 but I’m going to make sure I find time to stop at The Plough again and I would heartily recommend you do the same. Any organisation or business is only ever going to be as good as its leader – in Saeed The Plough has found exactly the right man.

The Plough

London Road, Pyecombe BN45 7FN

Decor: Three stars

The bar is small but pleasant, the space outside goes on for ever.

Drink: Three stars

I’m glad Bob was on hand to direct me to Best and away from the Blonde.

Price: Four stars

The Best was £3.80 and the chicken and avocado salad £9.50.

Atmosphere: Three stars

It’s an eatery really, but Saeed adds plenty of life to the bar.

Food: Five stars

Fresh, plentiful, incredibly tasty and beautifully presented.

Staff: Three stars

Effective because they’re perfectly orchestrated.

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