Steyning, West Sussex

Church, Steyning

Now five miles inland, this village was a port hundreds of years ago. Then the inevitable happened and all the cool marshes and waterways were drained for agriculture, and today the sea don’t get no nearer than Shoreham. The River Adur has been emasculated. It’s less interesting than a canal although, lacking its erstwhile sponge of flood plain, it must be a prime candidate for a surprise inundation. A surprise to 99% of us, that is.

On the subject of liquid, I can drink Harveys around here, which is a hoppy beer like Butcombe and therefore not good in quantity but delicious for one or two. Across the bypass in Beeding the Kings Head serves it and on the way back in Bramber is the Maharajah. This is the only Indian restaurant in my experience with an RSPB sticker in the window so I had to support it.

I had a pint of Kingfisher there too. Why do beers get named for birds? Kestrel lager, Tui in New Zealand, Lesser Black-Backed Gull Bitter in Bristol. (Just kidding with the last one!)

The Maharajah’s décor was pre-industrial. They were renovating so I hope it wasn’t typical. The service was… well, Indian. Regular curry-goers will know what I mean, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. But my litmus test for a new place (to me), the Madras was exemplary. It measured a perfect one on the handkerchief scale. So good was it that I sampled the Ceylon two days later and that too was five star. The prices were also reasonable, which is noteworthy for a region that scores some 10-20% higher than Bristol. For everything.

This is not a cheap holiday.

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