At Sorbet Living we take our inspiration from many things; from food and the way it’s produced and presented (see our previous post on gelato colours), from our surroundings – we’re situated in the beautiful South Downs National Park – and the places we like to visit
The Horse Guards Inn at Tillington near Petworth is one of our favourite places. Its relaxed formality is West Sussex cool at its best, with far-reaching, heavenly views of the downs in the distance and the Rother Valley.
It’s not just the food – they make their own gelato and sorbet, painstakingly and with love – or even the setting; the sleepy village of Tillington is so perfect that Turner and Constable have painted its church.
It’s the ambience itself; the feeling that you can relax, inside or out, as you would in your own home or garden. That ambience has been carefully created by owners Misha and Sam.
Misha has a unique talent – her styling of the 350-year-old restaurant is carefully considered and inspirational, so we asked her to share a few of her secrets with Sorbet Living.
‘It starts with my love of beautiful things,’ she says. ‘I don’t research or plan, just acquire things as I see them and then work out how I can fit them in.’
Misha finds her beautiful things at car-boot sales, and little brocantes. ‘I’m also a big fan of Ardingly Antiques Fair,’ she says, ‘But I don’t tend to spend a lot of money on things. I like to spend as little money as possible and then make the most out of what I’ve bought.’
She believes this discipline nurtures creativity because it forces you to think of the best way to show off your purchases and really make them work for you.
‘I also don’t worry too much if things are as functional as they could be,’ she says. ‘How they look; preferably lovely and old, is the main thing.’
And of course all this is the backdrop to the menu at the Horse Guards Inn – it changes every day, according to what is seasonal and available. ‘It’s very simple and almost unorganised, a bit like the décor,’ says Misha.
We have enjoyed the way the Horse Guards Inn provides bales of straw for impromptu benches in the summer; the way you can sink into a sheepskin, thoughtfully placed on a garden chair, the way you can see the herbs and vegetables in the garden that will end up on your plate.
We also love the way you can buy bread and jams made at the Horse Guards from the tiny interiors shop in the garden, The King and I, which is run by Claire Priestley.
It’s one of the reasons the Horse Guards Inn will always be a must-visit place for us. Keep checking back with Sorbet Living blog for more of our favourite things.