Sunday 16 December 2007

Griffin Inn, Fletching, East Sussex

With several log fires, distressed furniture, boisterous clientele and friendly young staff, the Griffin Inn is a warm and convivial gastropub in which to shelter from a cold winter's day. There is a smartish restaurant at the back, but, if you have the budget, you can eat very well in the atmospheric bar. The pheasant with pancetta and a creamy potato mash (£14) makes for a fine, flavoursome lunch, while the expertly-cooked cod(£13) is succulent and comes with lovely, chunky chips and a little too much batter. For kids, you can purchase a small portion of the cod and chips, sausages and chips or pasta and Parmesan cheese for £6. Among the deserts, the apple and pear crumble (£6) with ice cream is sweet and satisfying, but would be better with hot custard. On tap is Harveys, a weak, but refreshing Sussex ale. Service can be sluggish and a little haphazard at busy times, leaving you to survey the pictures of the Inn's cricket teams past and present that are plastered all over the walls. Upstairs, are some comfortable rooms with ancient beams, homely cubby holes and creaky floorboards. Outside is a beer garden with sweeping views over the pastoral Ouse valley. The Griffin is pricey, but pretty much everything an English Inn should be. 8/10