THE ANCHOR INN, BARCOMBE (East Sussex)
It’s been a few weeks since we’ve had some time to spare on a Sunday, but today we decided to take advantage of the dry weather and stretch our legs for a few hours. We headed for Barcombe (just north of Lewes) to walk along a dismantled railway line and banks of the river Ouse. The walk, listed in the East Sussex Pathfinder Walks guide, was a gentle 4.5 mile round trip with the perfectly-placed Anchor Inn three-quarters of the way round.
The Anchor Inn sits right on the river bank and as well as doing all the usual pubby things, has boats and canoes for hire. We own a pair of kayaks, so we were keen to see what the area was like for ‘paddling’ – plus have a spot of lunch at the pub. Well it would be rude not to, as we were walking straight past their door!
A friendly ‘hello’, as we walked in, got us off to a good start. After ordering drinks we were directed to the pub’s menu board to make our choices, and I was pleased to see that their Sunday roast was in full swing. In addition to the traditional roast beef and pork, there was Romney Marsh Saltmarsh Lamb (clearly a popular choice as it had sold out) and a vegetarian potato, brie and cranberry pie.
After much deliberation, I opted for the pie with all the trimmings. A decent vegetarian roast seems to be a rare commodity in many pubs so I felt duty-bound to try it out and report back to my veggie friends. I have to admit that my arm didn’t have to be twisted very much as I’m a sucker for brie and cranberry – whatever the time of year!
We were seated on a table overlooking the garden in one of the pub’s pleasantly decorated rooms. I loved the stripped wooden tables and relaxed atmosphere – and couldn’t resist taking a photo of candles clustered in the fireplace. With a good selection of Sunday papers, we could have stayed here all day! Our meals duly arrived, a hearty slice of delicious pie, crispy roast potatoes, well-cooked veg and a Yorkshire pudding, topped off with just the right amount of tasty gravy for me – whereas Mike had chicken and smoked bacon pie and chunky chips. Obviously not from the Sunday roast menu but equally good by all accounts!
After the walk to the pub, I was starving and tucked in. However, if I am to fault my meal at all, I’d say that the potatoes in the pie were a little bit much, given that it was being served with roast potatoes as well. Perhaps a vegetable, brie and cranberry pie would have been a touch less heavy? Also,filo pastry instead of traditional shortcrust would have made it a lighter. All that said, my plate was clean in no time, so this is a minor quibble on an otherwise delicious dish.
In my opinion, Sunday roast at the Anchor Inn was well worth the £10.95 per head. The atmosphere, the good food, the opportunity for boat hire and the lovely ‘flat’ local footpaths make this pub a real gem. It’s also an easy drive for us down from Crowborough, so we’ll definitely be making a return visit!