We’ve been watching the wonderful adaptation of EF Benson’s Mapp & Lucia on the TV.

The books were actually written in Rye, Sussex. But Benson re-named it Tilling.

I love Rye. I stayed in the White Vine last year.

When Javed left his job in financial services in London in 2004 and moved to Rye, the White Vine House came on the market and Javed eagerly bought it to fulfil his dream of running his own business.
white-vine-ambrette11But there must have been times during the long renovation work when he was tempted to change its name to the White Elephant House, because every time he began one necessary job, he exposed another one.
Time, and money, were disappearing fast, so he borrowed the amazing Tony from his father. And 10 years later, he still hasn’t given him back!
A builder by trade, Tony cooks, cleans, and carries out any maintenance work; and believe me, not many professional chefs can produce a breakfast as good as Tony can!
I travel a lot, and most hotels are, quite honestly, bland and characterless.
The White Vine however deserves its AA five stars.
Every single thing about it is absolute perfection.
If I say it has been lovingly restored, but brought into the 21st Century, it sounds like a conflicting statement. But it’s true. You’ll have to see it for yourself to understand what I mean!
As the work progressed, the layers of history were peeled back.
The cellar is Medieval, so the White Vine was probably built on top of an earlier house.
When the Elizabethan oak panelling was cleaned, it exposed the craftsman’s mark. The room is off-square, and the panels were hand-carved to fit the room. They probably cost more than the whole house!
Above the fireplace in the lounge, they discovered Catherine of Aragon’s flag carved on the right, and an etching of HR, Henry Rex, Henry VIII on the left.
white-vine-ambrette05There are many stories yet to be told about the White Vine.
Our room was welcoming and stylish, with the best tea and coffee selection that I’ve ever seen!
As Javed said, it only costs a few pence more to provide chocolate bars and sweets instead of just the standard packets of biscuits.
It was the first time I’d slept in a four-poster bed. Another dream fulfilled.
The bathroom’s huge. What looks like an above-the-sink mirror turned out to be a TV!
There are four double rooms and two family suites, so there is only a maximum of 16 guests when the White Vine is full.
Each room is a different shape and design. You really must ask to see them all!
Javed sub-let the restaurant to Dev Biswal. It’s called The Ambrette, and is constantly winning awards.
Booking is imperative!
The Ambrette is as high a quality as the White Vine. They go together like Champagne and Caviar – but at an affordable price! It’s not just a restaurant, it’s an entertainment. And no, it’s not a curry house.
I had local Rye scallops to start and Hubby John had pigeon.
Then I had a wonderful tender duck and John had pheasant.
In between each gorgeous course, little ‘amuse bouches’ appeared, each a titillation to the taste-buds, and not too filling, so our main food wasn’t spoilt.
white-vine-ambrette07One of them had popping candy in it and all the diners laughed and spoke to each other as it exploded in our mouths.
To finish, we had a selection of sweets so we could try them all.
One of them was rose crème brulee.
I can’t stand crème brulee. But, oh, the rose-flavoured one was delicious, and I’ve got the recipe!
OK, there’s no such thing as perfection, so how do the White Vine and the Ambrette lose Brownie Points?
Let’s pretend we’re in that TV programme, trying to find fault so that we can win the competition.
Rye High Street is a Medieval street, so it wasn’t designed for cars.
Parking is a problem. You have to unload your luggage and park round the corner.
But the good news is, Rye traffic wardens are sympathetic. And there’s always someone in the White Vine to help you with your luggage.
As the windows are very old and we overlooked the main street, there was some traffic noise But in the night there wasn’t any traffic going by, so we slept well.
If you’ve never been to the historical town of Rye, it’s well worth a visit. I like to go there every year, and I take friends and visitors to see it.

Javed Khan
White Vine House
24 High Street
East Sussex
TN31 7JF
01797 22 47 48.

Here’s The Ambrette’s Dev Biswal on Superscrimpers, shopping and then cooking a 3-course gourmet meal for 8 people for under £20, as shown on Channel 4. He talks about buying local, seasonal and fresh food, from greengrocers, small traders and markets.

Dev Biswal
The Ambrette
24 High Street
East Sussex
TN31 7JF
01797 222043.

Jane Ellis
Tourism PR and Travel Trade
+ 44 1424 451113

About Lyn

LYN FUNNELL CV (well, sort of!) Lyn had very successful careers as an Air Hostess, Sales Rep, (she was one of only a couple of women. She beat all the men regularly, becoming the Top Rep in the UK, and 2nd in the world.) And then Catering took over. She did everything from the washing-up, to Silver Service Waitress, and Chef. A few times, she had to cook the meal, dash round the other side and Silver Serve it! In between all this, she wrote as often as she could, building up a reputation as a published short story writer, (Horror and a twist in the tale,) and a Poet. She has appeared as a Performing Poet, and a Demo Chef. Then she discovered the world of the Food & Travel Writer. And that’s what she has continued doing to this day. Her main hobbies are Cookery and entering Competitions. She has won many prizes, including holidays and a moped. She enjoys entering Competitions, submitting her original recipes. She was first in many Competitions, including the Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu, Fruits of France, Bernard Matthews Turkey Recipe, and appeared on BBC’s The One Show Spag Bol contest. She was one of three Finalists, coming 2nd, which makes her Britain’s Spag Bol Queen! Now she runs B-C-ing-U! and loves it! After several years of being messed around by Editors, and having loads of contacts, Lyn formed her own online Magazine, vowing to treat her writers fairly, and to do everything possible to further their careers, publicise their books, etc. She now has a band of excellent regular writers, and the Magazine’s going from strength to strength! Lyn’s online published books; Adverse Camber A collection of my published poems. The First Book of Short Stories The Second Book of Short Stories The Third Book of Short Stories. Many of these stories have been previously published. St Anthony of Padua. The Patron St of the Old. A story of one woman’s terrible ordeal in a Home, and her family’s rescue of her. The Girl Who Watched. A Cuban girl is attacked by an English journalist & what follows! Willy the Whizz & the Wormhole. Suitable for Young Adults, aged 15-95! Get Out Of Debt And Stay Out – Forever! Unsympathetic, hard-hitting, realistic solutions to your problems. All these books are published by Andrews UK Ltd www.andrewsuk.com No, I didn’t pay them to Vanity Publish! They’re all available from Amazon, and many other online publishers. LYN FUNNELL.