The Fountain: A Cosy, Country Pub Serving Gastro Delights

The Fountain: A Cosy, Country Pub Serving Gastro Delights

With inglenook fireplaces, oak floors and delicious gastro pub grub – all in a beautiful building dating back to the 16th century – The Fountain is the perfect country pub to head to this Christmas. Located in the picture-perfect village of Ashurst (near Steyning), the Cask Marque accredited pub is a wonderful place to while away a festive afternoon, whilst indulging in some fine food and drink.

To find out more about this stunning country pub – just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of the city – we spoke to new owner Alex Tipping.

Hi Alex! When did you become owner of The Fountain?

“I finally became the owner on Friday 11th November. I had initially gone for The Fountain back in January 2013 before being informed my old boss had beaten me to it! After nearly four years of running it as if it were my own, I made him an offer and he accepted.”

How did you get into the industry?

“I have been in the trade for over 20 years after getting into it by mistake, as I’m guessing a lot of people do. But my love of people, food and wine kept me in it! I’ve travelled the world, lived in Australia for some years before finally settling back in my hometown of Brighton. I spent most of my twenties DJing around the country, residing at the famous Zap club every Saturday.

“At the same time as this, I was trying to hold down a manager’s job in a busy Brighton bar. Great times were had, but once I reached 30, I packed up all the late nights for the general manager job at a very busy country pub, just north of the city. I spent four years there before taking on a franchise of another pub (The Chequers in Slaugham, near Haywards Heath). After transforming the pub, the A23 junction on Handcross Hill closed, effectively closing off the village from the outside world. It was then I handed the keys back to the brewery and a couple of months later, in January 2013, I found The Fountain.”

How would you describe your pub?

“The most beautiful pub you’ve ever seen, obviously! It dates back to the 16th century and is a quintessential English country pub, complete with low ceilings (great for someone who’s 6ft 4 like myself!), inglenook fireplaces, flagstone flooring and wonky floorboards.”

Can you tell me about your delicious dishes? Do you have a signature dish?

“Being the pub it is, people will always want the classic pub dishes but we tweak them – such as the very popular Corned Beef Hash. We pan-fry it in panko breadcrumbs and serve with spinach and a poached egg. Simple but very popular. We have additional dishes on our special boards.”

Which menu options have been popular so far for the festive period?

“Although turkey is the most obvious choice, you’d be surprised at how many people move completely away from it and go for seafood!”

Speaking of Christmas; what’s going on at The Fountain?
“We’ve been fully booked for Christmas Day since August and now have all weekends booked during December! We’re hosting Christmas carols on the 24th and will be having lots of late nights throughout the festive period, I imagine!”
And finally; what does 2017 have (hopefully!) in store for The Fountain?

“First of all; to carry on working hard and having fun as a team. I think this is key to a successful business. Happy staff equal happy customers!

“We’re also planning more events and festivals than we’ve ever had in the past. There are big plans for the skittle alley, a boules court in the springtime, BBQs and a big summer garden party with my fellow Brighton DJ buddies. There’s plans for the duck pond too and we may rehome some farm animals to give The Fountain even more of a ‘country feel’.”

Find The Fountain in Ashurst Village, BN44 3AP.

Shelley Welti