23 restaurants in Lewes
Restaurants in Lewes:
The Drove, Newhaven, nr Lewes, BN9 0AG [Map]
Brewer's Fayre restaurants offer a warm welcome to those who want a reliably tasty meal in pleasant surroundings, with plenty of choice, minimal fuss and friendly service. With a reputation going back 25 years they should have a fair chance of doing that, but don't take our word for it. Give them a try and see if you agree that this is how good quality pub food should be served.
Whether it's snacks, grills, pub classics, fish, Sunday roasts or side dishes they think their way through the options, talk to their guests, and then come up with the goods. Not everybody wants a full meal so they've considered the needs of those who want to keep the gap filled and the children contented, perhaps on a journey or a day out.
Hot filled baguettes are always popular be it sausage and red onion or a classic chicken club sandwich. Jacket potatoes are good on their own but filled with mature cheddar cheese and beans they take on a new dimension.
More paced occasions demand a wide menu, perhaps with starters of breaded butterfly prawns, chicken goujons or breaded camembert bites. Grills are there for the hungry and whole rack of meaty BBQ pork ribs served with extra sauce, chips and coleslaw can be very welcome. The days of the mixed grill are back - or did they ever go away - a 4oz rump steak, two pork sausages, and a gammon steak topped with a fried egg served with all the trimmings will remind you if they did.
Salmon and prawn fishcakes are served with buttered new potatoes, tartare sauce and a lightly dressed salad. A combination of sea and land comes with a rump steak, whole grilled chicken breast and breaded breaded butterfly prawns, served with chips and a side salad or garden peas.
The rise of eating out in pubs has brought into our daily lives a whole legion of what might be termed 'pub classics'. Many of them have their roots in what used to be called 'good home cooking' and include such dishes as sausage, egg and chips, beef and ale pie, chicken and mushroom pie and for the very daring a beef lasagne. Well, all of them and many more are on the menu at Brewer's Fayre, supplemented by such new regulars as vegetable Goan chicken curry, pork chop, chilli con carne and grilled chicken and bacon salad.
It has often been said that chicken tikka masala is now the most popular dish in Britain. Some may not really want to believe that, much as they love curry, but travel, population movement and other factors have widened our scope and they are probably pretty keen on fish and chips in Timbuktu.
What is certain is that the great British Sunday roast is exclusive to these islands, though copied maybe elsewhere or in ex-pat outposts. No surprise therefore that it's on the Brewer's Fayre menu. A trade of three roasts with an opportunity to trade up to a mega roast for a modest sum. With it come two Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, fresh seasonal vegetables and that important element - gravy.
A fine list of immensely tempting desserts may well bring the most ardent weight-watcher to their knees. A short but well thought out wine list offers all choices, except champagne, by the glass. Staying the night - check to see if there's a Premier Inn next door - chances are you'll be lucky.
A quick click on their Website is always worth while. The only thing that stays still permanently is the quality which is helped by a changing menu, and some very special offers.
173 High Street, Lewes, BN7 1YE [Map]
Prezzo has been delighting diners for over eight years, and this Italian restaurant chain has since been able to expand throughout large parts of England and Scotland with some 141 outlets.
Interestingly, the company seeks to restore either impressive buildings or ones of local interest. The conversion of the Newbury library and other listed buildings, such as those in Salisbury, Romsey and Mayfair, are all welcome examples of 'new use'. Their trendy and sophisticated décor usually consists of tiled or wooden floors with delicate lights and colourful paintings, along with wooden furniture and sparkling cutlery, creating a setting that is suitable for a relaxed lunch, a family meal or an evening out with friends.
The restaurants are of particular appeal to those who like genuine Italian cuisine, and they use only the best seasonal products, many of which are imported directly from Italy. The menu includes pizza, pasta, risotto, grilled meats, fresh salads and frequently changing specials.
The freshly baked breads, like the garlic bread with mozzarella cheese, are perfect for sharing and give you adequate breathing space to order starters to follow. Crab cakes served with garlic mayonnaise or grilled goat's cheese with plum tomatoes and caramelised onions on foccacia bread with a balsamic glaze set the tone for a hearty meal. Best fun is to order an antipasto platter to share made up from seven well loved Italian nibbles.
Find pastas such as the unusual penne con salmone, with oak-roasted salmon, broccoli and fresh chillies in a red pesto and cream sauce, or firm favourites like spaghetti with meatballs, spaghetti Bolognese, and fusilli al pesto, asparagus spears with field mushrooms and roasted peppers in a basil pesto sauce.
Amongst the special pastas, the pollo mariano, seasoned chicken, pepperoni sausage, roasted peppers and fusilli in tomato sauce, is interesting and different. Italian menus would be incomplete without risotto, like tiger prawns with petits pois in a creamy saffron sauce.
Classic pizzas embrace, among a wide selection, the popular napoletana, topped with yellowfin tuna, tomato, white anchovies, capers, red onion, mozzarella and marinated olives, and the much loved quattro stagioni - pepperoni sausage, prosciutto ham, artichoke, field mushrooms, capers, marinated olives, mozzarella and tomato.
Specials could include the pollo Siciliana, char-grilled chicken breast, prosciutto ham and plum tomato slices, baked with their blend of cheese, only one example from the many tempting offerings that come out from the Prezzo kitchens.
You can accompany the food with a variety of tipples, though for many, Italian food requires Italian wines to be enjoyed to the full, ranging from house wine through Morellino di Scansano and Prosecco to liqueurs and beer, and there is espresso or fresh ground coffee to wind up an enjoyable meal, in company with a glass of grappa or sambuca.
This is Italian food at its attractive best, convincing and bringing together the traditional with the modern twist or two against a background of excellent value.
Prezzo is a lively group and opportunities to improve and update are never left on the table for long. Keep up to date with a quick click on their Website.
15 High Street, Lewes, BN7 2LN [Map]
Pizza Express remains a hugely popular bedrock of casual eating. Its popularity is testimony to the fact that across the country, they have restaurants where you will always be guaranteed a good nosh, with children's tastes being well catered for.
Pizza Express has gone even more Roman, and following the success of that particular example of listening to their public have introduced Romana pizzas, including the scorching Etna and the hearty Siciliana.
These pizzas are now thinner, bigger and crispier, and if that sounds like a marketing line, it is. However, unlike many such lines, this one is true, and their quality is always consistent, though cleverly they have still managed to retain a homemade feel to their pizzas.
As an alternative to pizza, try their pollo pesto - cavatappi pasta with torn chicken breast, mushrooms, red onions and mozzarella in a creamy gruyere, parmesan and pesto sauce and finished with grana padano - or the niçoise salad with mixed leaves, yellowfin tuna, free range egg, green beans, potatoes and tomatoes with olives, anchovies, capers and house dressing.
Many of the big chains have come a long way, and Pizza Express is certainly amongst them. One of the first to be quoted on the Stock Exchange - in 1993 - Pizza Express is not a franchise operation and retains tight control through its own staff.
Their wine list - though short - contains some surprisingly good offerings, especially their intense Australian Chardonnay, and a big, full-bodied Merlot from Cusumano, Sicilia.
Pizza & Pasta
Shelleys Hotel, 135 High Street, Lewes, BN7 1XS [Map]
A peaceful and beautiful 17th century manor house, in which the family of the poet Shelley once lived, and ideally located for anyone wishing to say 'I do' in this outstanding part of Sussex whilst living well at the same time. The Apostrophe is richly decorated with crystal chandeliers and gleaming mirrors, making an agreeable setting for the very British food, which is an essential part of the experience.
Smoked salmon with horseradish crème fraîche makes a cleansing starter leaving the palate refreshed but not clouded and capable of dealing with the pan fried breast of chicken with spinach and sautéed potatoes, and fillet steak with grilled tomatoes and parsley butter. Mixed berries with clotted cream or vanilla ice cream, particularly in the early part of the season, are memorable, and so is a chocolate torte with mango sorbet.
The bedrooms at Shelleys display a high standard of finesse and are designed to reflect their Georgian origins.
186 High Street, Lewes, BN7 1XX [Map]
For some time I made the mistake of thinking that no group of restaurants in the region of 200 locations could hope to maintain the quality for which I was looking.
Then one day I decided to put my prejudices to the test, walked into Oxford ASK Italian! and discovered that I could not have been more mistaken. Their claim to serve freshly prepared quality food in stylish and comfortable surroundings with friendly and efficient service proved to be absolutely spot on.
Since then I have also discovered that a degree of consistency seems to operate throughout their restaurants, and that certainly does take some achieving, implying a degree of management that is enviable. They are perfect places for an impromptu snack, a bit of culinary grazing, or the full works, and families are catered for particularly well.
Their trendy décor usually comprises tiled floors and black furniture with well set tables that sparkle with glass, silver and spotless linen. Ten starters include crostini and bruschetta, followed by a range of salads, pasta and al forno, oven baked pasta, some with chicken.
The pizzas are stone baked in the oven, creating a crisp, authentic and delicious flavour, and they all come topped with mozzarella and tomato. Calzone introduce a touch of opulence with a folded pizza baked in the oven and topped with garlic butter and melted grana padano, whilst inside expect to find chicken or a vegetarian mix.
Amongst the specials may I warmly, in every sense, recommend the polpette al forno, a popular Milanese dish of beef meatballs sautéed in garlic with fire roasted peppers, caramelised onions, chilli and pomodoro sauce, with penne pasta, topped with cheese and oven baked.
An enticing selection of desserts list banoffee pie and tiramisu amongst them, and the coffee tastes like coffee, which may sound banal, but I guess you know what I mean.
Thanks to a well selected wine list speculative drinking can offer handsome dividends, even with prices rarely crossing the £20 barrier.
Pizza & Pasta
Chapel Lane, East Chiltington, nr Lewes, BN7 3BA [Map]
The Jolly Sportsman is situated on a quiet, no-through lane in rural East Chiltington Sussex by the South Downs, twenty minutes from Brighton. The aim is to serve reliably sourced food in a relaxed setting where you can enjoy a bar snack or a three course meal - this they do very well.
The bar area covers most of the original ground floor of what once was a Victorian alehouse. You can relax over a pint of local ale in the summer or sit by the log fire in the winter. Beige walls, contemporary art and polished oak give the restaurant a rustic yet stylish ambiance.
Think of chicken and tarragon terrine or warm crab tarts followed by roast partridge, cabbage and bacon or best end and stuffed saddle of Ditchling lamb, Lyonnaise potato, and autumn vegetables. End proceedings with a pudding made with apricots, walnuts, ginger and toffee. Look out for an attractive selection of dishes on the blackboard.
A list of 200 wines as well as beer, spirits and soft drinks ably support the food.
Uckfield Road, Ringmer, Lewes, BN8 5RX [Map]
Situated in a 16th century coaching inn, this inn takes its name from the 'The Cock Horse', a spare horse that was kept ready at the foot of a steep hill to assist another horse with a heavy load up the hill - all of course from a bygone era. The Cock Inn has an unspoilt bar with original oak beams, a flagstone floor and an inglenook fireplace that has a lovely log fire during the winter months. On the finest of days it's ideal to make use of their patio and extensive gardens that give unobstructed views across open fields to South down.
With an emphasis on providing home-cooked food to diners, the kitchen brings to the table the likes of smoked mackerel served with horseradish and homemade chicken liver pâté and toast, to begin with. Amongst those that follow, you can place your bets on the three pork and herb sausages with beans and chips or the individual steak and kidney pudding.
Apart from a range of cask conditioned real ales, an excellent variety of wines accompany.
More restaurants in Lewes:
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Brewer's Fayre restaurants offer a warm welcome to those who want a reliably tasty meal in pleasant surroundings, with plenty of choice, minimal fuss and friendly service.
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