I have a confession. Until recently, aside from attending the odd Rotary Club lunch, I had never dined at Farnham’s 17th-century institution The Bush Hotel.
However, at the invitation of the hotel’s new manager, Kash, I recently popped along with my wife and daughters, aged six and eight, for Sunday lunch and was left wondering why we hadn’t visited before.
If your memories of The Bush are of a tired, stuffy haunt for passing business people and the odd club meeting, it’s time you revisited the hotel too!
Imagine Michelangelo on holiday in the Amazon rainforest – that’s the vibe at the heart of the revamped Bush. From the moment you walk in, you are struck by the bold mix of modern and classic decor, with vibrant green, leafy palms adding a touch of the rainforest while statues invoke something more Greco-Roman, contrasting with luminous paintings of parrots sitting in fluorescent frames.
It’s a little bit barmy, granted, but it certainly livens up the place! I was a fan.
But don’t think the wacky decor distracts from the real star of the show: the Sunday roast. My wife chose the grass-fed sirloin of beef, and her Yorkshire pudding was something to behold – a modern masterpiece that, yes, Michelangelo would be proud to call his own.
I went for the pressed pork belly and found it beautifully cooked, the fat rendered down to perfection and complemented by a tart apple sauce laced with brandy for a bit of extra decadence.
Every good roast lives or dies on the quality of its veggies, of course. And these were just as impressive, with crisp potatoes, carrots and parsnips perfectly roasted with rosemary and thyme, and the greens cooked al dente and perfectly seasoned.
The rich, meaty gravy, with a slight acidity from wine and meat juices, tied everything together beautifully.
The children’s menu was also excellent and our daughters were very happy with their posh fish fingers and chips.
For dessert, I went for the white chocolate and raspberry crème brûlée which was a little too sweet to my taste – but what did I expect! My wife had the warm chocolate brownie and the kids stuck to ice cream.
Across from us, a family were celebrating an 80th birthday – and The Bush certainly has a ‘special occasion’ vibe. However, the warm, friendly atmosphere also makes it a comfortable and welcoming spot for a casual lunch or dinner with friends or family.
Whether you’re stopping by for a quick bite or settling in for a leisurely meal, The Bush has something for everyone. And with the recent revamp under new ownership, it’s clear the hotel is committed to preserving its unique history while also modernising to meet the needs of today’s guests.
n The Bush Hotel’s Sunday lunch menu is priced at £29.50 for three courses, £25.50 for two, or £18 for a main course only. The menu includes fish and vegan options. See the website https://farnhambush.com/ or call 01252 715237.