The best Sunday roasts in Sussex
The traditional Sunday roast is the staple of weekends in many British households. It is memories of childhood, waking up after a long sleep to the smell of roasting meat; it is wandering down to the kitchen to find mum and dad peeling vegetables and par-boiling potatoes; it is sitting down together and making sure that all the trimmings are included on an overflowing plate. A proper roast dinner is one of the nation’s very favourite foods, never so more than when days are defined by a crisp chill in the air, nights start drawing in, and the colder months give way to a landscape bathed in red and gold glory.
The tradition of eating roast meat and vegetables on a Sunday – in particular roast beef, which the British have always been famous for enjoying (the Yeoman of the Guard are nicknamed ‘Beefeaters’ because of it) – actually doesn’t date back as far as you might expect. A man named William Kitchener wrote a book called The Cook’s Oracle (Apicius Redivivus) in 1871, that described the practice of cooking meat (beef sirloin, to be exact) for at least four hours over a spit. There was only one day of the week during which anyone had four hours to spare to roast a beef joint, and that was Sunday, and the idea was that a huge lump of meat (around three kilograms plus) would feed the family on Sunday, and then be used in stews, pies and as cold cuts for the rest of the week.
Those who couldn’t afford a large fire, or those who didn’t have a fireplace big enough to roast their meat, had to find alternatives. It was soon discovered that en route to church, empty baker’s shops were passed, and since bread was not baked on Sundays, those ovens were put to use by the poor who dropped off their meat on the way to church and collected it, perfectly cooked, on the way back.
Now that you’re salivating over the thought of melt-in-the-mouth beef, juicy pork (with crackling), chicken and gravy, or any of the other delicious options available to us today, here are some of the best places to go in Sussex for a proper Sunday roast.
The Coal Shed // Brighton // www.coalshed-restaurant.co.uk // 01273 322998
The Coal Shed pride themselves on sourcing the finest British beef to serve to their customers and their Sunday Roast is a crowd pleaser! Stop by Boyces Street to experience one of the most outstanding roast options that Brighton has to offer. Prepare to tuck into a 500g black Aberdeen Angus, 35-day, dry-aged roast sirloin of beef served alongside crispy, golden potatoes; molten cauliflower cheese; glazed heritage carrots; seasonal greens; Yorkshire pudding; and a rich beef gravy. There is an exceptional sharing option available too – served on Sundays between 12pm and 4pm and priced at only £35, it’s a no brainer.
The Chimney House // Brighton // www.chimneyhousebrighton.co.uk // 01273 556708
Located just a short walk from Seven Dials, The Chimney House offers something for everyone. Pop in for a pint of Harveys, a dirty little burger, a three-course meal, or meet your friends and family for one of their popular Sunday roasts. At The Chimney House, the food is cooked in line with the seasons and the produce is sourced locally, both farmed and from the wild. All the fish is landed either at Shoreham or Newhaven, and the rare-bred, wild-range meat is from Garlic Wood Farm.
Shepherd & Dog // Fulking // www.shepherdanddogpub.co.uk // 01273 857382
The Shepherd & Dog is a pub and restaurant with plenty of history – it can be traced back to the 18th century, and has always been a popular watering hole. Originally made of linked cottages, its country charm is still very much in evidence.
The Sunday lunch service runs between 12pm and 6pm, offering a wide range of choice when it comes to your weekly treat. Roast meats include slow-cooked pork belly with crackling and homemade apple sauce; sirloin of Sussex beef roasted in rosemary and garlic; and leg of Sussex lamb with garlic and thyme. As well as these delights, you can try the veggie roast – roasted butternut squash with wild mushrooms and a spinach filo parcel, or fish options including line-caught local cod.
The Crabtree // Horsham // www.crabtreesussex.co.uk // 01403 892666
The Crabtree is a friendly, family-run public house and restaurant located just south of Horsham. Here you can find seasonal, locally sourced food, real ales and also organic wines. There are often events here too including quiz nights, gourmet burger nights and afternoon tea – but never fear, as well as all these wonderful events and superb food, you can also find a traditional and really tasty Sunday roast. Choose from slow-cooked pork belly with apple, tenderstem broccoli and sautéed new potatoes; Trenchmore roast rump of beef, roast potatoes, honey-glazed carrots, buttered greens, celeriac, Yorkshire pudding and gravy; or carrot and mushroom nut roast, roast potatoes, buttered greens, celeriac, honey-glazed carrots and Yorkshire pudding to name just three of the excellent dishes available. Just don’t forget to leave room for dessert…
The Horse Guards Inn // Tillington // www.thehorseguardsinn.co.uk // 01798 342332
Tillington is an idyllic little village located near to Petworth, and the Horse Guards Inn is its centrepiece. The pub itself is over 350 years old, and was a popular haunt with the Household Cavalry in the 1840s – which is where its name comes from. This relaxed pub is a great place to enjoy a drink, some food and the most wonderful views over the Rother Valley. In the wintertime, you can roast chestnuts over the roaring open fire, enjoy some homemade spiced cider, or even play board games at the bar. You can also indulge in a fabulous Sunday roast – with all the trimmings. All the food at the Horse Guards Inn is cooked to order, so you can rest assured that you’ll be served freshly made, locally sourced food that is seasonal and tasty.
Busby & Wilds // Brighton // www.busbyandwilds.co.uk // 01273 696135
Busy & Wilds is a quiet little pub and a lovely little haven away from the hustle and bustle of Brighton, although it’s still close to the main town. The food here is cooked fresh to order and comes from local producers wherever possible, and there is an extensive wine list to compliment your meal. The dining room is spacious, so even when the pub gets busy you can still kick back and enjoy a family meal out, or an intimate dinner for two without feeling rushed or crowded. And as for the Sunday roasts…raved about! Roasts are served with a variety of different vegetables including glazed carrots, roasted beetroot, fried swede, creamed leeks and spring greens – and everything comes with crispy roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding. There are plenty of puds on offer too including a scrumptious sticky toffee pudding, and a raspberry and elderflower sorbet.
The Westbourne // Hove // www.thewestbournehove.co.uk // 01273 823633
This Victorian-era building is beautiful, with stained glass windows and a rustic air about it. There are two sections to this great pub – the first is better suited for sitting at the bar with a drink and a snack, and the second is the restaurant area; ideal for a leisurely and lovely meal. Speaking of food, the Sunday roasts at the Westbourne are incredible. Choose from your traditional favourites such as roast leg of lamb with mint sauce; roast topside of beef with horseradish; roast free-range chicken with stuffing and cranberry sauce; or go for something a bit more modern like soy loaf with horseradish. Everything is served with deliciously crisp and very moreish homemade Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, and fresh, seasonal vegetables.
Chambers Bistro // Shoreham-by-Sea // www.chambersbistro.co.uk // 01273 446677
Chambers is a modern British bistro that serves classic, homemade, freshly prepared food. The interior is stylish and comfortable with stripped wooden floors and leather chairs, and the Grade II-listed building is beautiful. The aim of this restaurant is to provide an informal place to eat fantastic food, and it does it brilliantly. The produce used at Chambers is of the best quality, and the Sunday roasts are really rather special. Sunday at Chambers is an occasion and your choices include some of the best prime cuts of meat, homemade Yorkshire puddings, seasonal vegetables, potatoes roasted in goose fat, and a unique homemade gravy. There are plenty of vegetarian options including a lentil, mozzarella and roast pepper cake, as well as a detailed wine list. Family-oriented, Chambers also provides high chairs, colouring sheets and baby change facilities.
The Fountain Inn // Ashurst // www.fountainashurst.pub // 01403 710219
The Fountain Inn is a traditional and charming country pub – exactly the sort to relax in over a newspaper, a pint or glass of wine, and a really good meal; just what Sundays were made for. You can relish an exceptional Sunday roast here in front of the atmospheric inglenook fireplace and you won’t go hungry; the roasts served are piled high with succulent meat, fresh veg and some impressive Yorkshire puddings. A great choice of starters and desserts makes this more than a meal – it’s an event!