Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Jolly Poacher, 100 Ditchling Road: Sunday Lunch

(Mummy pig) I was after a well-earned break from cooking Sunday lunch, but not wanting a break from eating them we set about tracking down a good local spot for a pub roast dinner.
The Jolly Poacher on Ditchling Road sounded a good bet. Opened November 2012 (former Roundhill Tavern) and sister pub to the well-reviewed Jolly Sportsman in East Chiltington.  We called at 11am and got a booking for 12.30 that day.  Managed to find local on-street parking for free (a Brighton rarity) and piled in from the zero-degree streets hoping to find a warm welcome.
They showed us to our table and the décor was suitably Gastro-pub; lots of wood and grey walls.  Service was friendly but warm it was not!  Two lovely fireplaces sat empty and I regretted removing my coat after five minutes and put it back on.  I mentioned the fires and the waiter indicated he had just turned up the radiators! Oh well.
Food started with really excellent fresh bread.  There was a fair choice on the menu plus Specials and the kids’ menu was 2 courses for £6 with a nice choice – cut above chicken nuggets but not so fancy as to put them off.
Daddy Pig and I ordered the roast sirloin of beef from the Specials (it was a Sunday) and the piglets ordered steak and chips and sausage and chips.  They brought the kids’ food first which was a winning move and kept them happy.  We only waited a little longer for the beef – and it was well worth it!
Without a doubt the nicest roast I have ever had in a Brighton pub.  The photo does not do it justice as it was partially demolished before I felt inspired to take the photo and create this blog with piglet.  The sirloin was cooked to perfection – pink in the middle, seared outside with just a hint of naughty crispy beef fat.  Outstanding roasties, fresh shredded cabbage, sufficient gravy – it was excellent.
We just had room to squeeze in dessert.  Warm chocolate tart was beautiful; light in texture yet packing a real chocolate punch, homemade honeycomb and crème fraiche.   DP’s crumble was disappointing; neither warm nor stodgy enough.  Still, a minor point in the face of outstanding food in general.
Bill was £65 for the 4 of us for lunch with no wine, 2.5 courses (we shared desserts).  Overall opinion is that the food here is outstanding – just please warm it up a bit!

(Piglet) For my lunch, I had a most delicious steak and chips.
The steak was chargrilled to about medium, and was perfectly pink inside.  It was brilliantly seasoned and went very well with the chips.
 Now the chips. Oh, they were scrumptious! Salted just how I like it. They were the perfect golden brown and were lovely and fluffy through the centre.  
The service was excellent- and gave us a whole pile of colouring books to keep us occupied. There were plenty of things to choose from, and the bread was especially nice. The only thing I would do is make it a tiny bit warmer and add more heating!
Overall, I rate it 11 out of 10!!