What are Sundays for, but relaxing with friends and drinking fine wine….divine!
Calling all roast lovers! If you are debating where to have a roast this Sunday, I’m here to help. Stop what you are doing and get yourself a table at The Cricketers Brighton! That’s the whole post. No need to read further. You’re welcome.
In all seriousness though, this mum of two knucklehead boys hasn’t seen a leisurely Sunday in a long old time.
A Chaotic Sunday Morning
An average Sunday looks a bit more like this; Wake up to the alarm at 8am, frantically feed the boys carbs while trying to find their missing football socks, which are NOT in the dryer like I had hoped, but are in fact still crunchy from practice the day before. Then, it’s a combination of manic cleaning/searching for boots, shin pads and goalie gloves that SHOULD have been in the only football bag we have, but have instead been sprinkled around every room by a deranged house elf playing silly buggers. (Who said motherhood wasn’t glamorous?)
So when I was invited to try The Cricketers Sunday roast, I was over the moon to treat a dear friend (and myself!) to a relaxing afternoon out.
But enough about me, this is a foodie blog after all!
Brighton’s Iconic Landmark
Whether you’re local to Brighton, or from a faraway place, there is a good chance you’ll have clapped eyes on The Cricketers Pub, one of Brighton’s most beloved and famous landmarks. Move over Brighton Pier, see ya later Royal Pavilion, this iconic pub has seen more things in the last 476 years than the two o’ youse combined!
There’s some debate as to whether The Cricketers is in fact THE oldest pub in town, but that is a battle for another day. Today is all about the food and, after almost 500 years of trading, The Cricketers knows a thing (or two) about great service, perfect pints, and stellar roasts.
Autumn Ambiance and Outdoor Delights
Oh autumn, that glorious time of year where you can be both cold and sweaty when you’re not quite sure whether to bask in the last of the sun or cosy up next to a fire. Luckily The Cricketers has a joyful third option in their cobblestone stable turned-covered dining area, with views of the lanes, and plenty of seats. The Courtyard Bar has a contemporary walled garden featuring gnarly wooden beams that were put in place in the Middle Ages.
The outdoor patio is ample too, filled with pub lovers day and night, and it turns into a midday sun trap ideal for a classic pub lunch in the Brighton sunshine. Plenty of outdoor seats, tall tables, and barrels overlook one of the most well-travelled pieces of pavement in the city.
The Cricketers absolutely hums with history, and if these walls could talk…they would probably curse like a sailor and tell a salty tale or two. And I – for one – would be all ears!
Every table, booth and snug is filled with fascinating heirlooms from times gone by. Red walls and low lights, plush furnishings and dark wood, invite you into the pubs of centuries past. Even the ceilings are adorned with knick-knacks and posters collected over decades with no more wall space to share. The Cricketers Brighton is a living, working, piece of history, and I love it from top to tail.
At the bar, we ordered a lovely bottle of Pinot Noir, and were shown to our cosy corner table round the back. Once settled, I wandered the pub looking for food-spiration and found it in droves. The whole place was packed to the rafters with happy dinners tucking into some sensational-looking roasts, and we ordered ours with eager anticipation.
Private Dining and Christmas Bookings
While we waited, we chatted to the bar manager about their Christmas bookings in their private dining rooms. Upstairs you have a room for private hire with its own wrap around bar and plenty of seating space for up to 70 people. Charming and intimate, this space is ideal for work parties, weddings, and of course Christmas.
The Cricketers also has a private area at the back of their indoor-outdoor Courtyard Bar, or you can reserve the entire space with a minimum spend. Almost fully booked already, they do still have some slots available for Christmas parties and they are still taking reservations for group dining too if you get in quick.
The Roast Extravaganza
Now to the main event!
Will you please take a moment and just appreciate these yorkies, I mean come on! Perfectly crisp-sky-high-gravy-scooping-gloriosity (I know it’s not a word but it should be!), a golden brown crown on top of a dish of deliciousness.
For my roasting pleasure, I ordered the rolled South Downs lamb shoulder, which was slow-cooked and succulent. My date ordered the roasted bell of Dingley Dell pork which came with deliciously salty and crisp crackling. Both meats were cooked beautifully, tender and hearty, perched atop a bevy of veggies.
Our plates were filled with technicolour vegetables; golden roasted potatoes with crisp edges and fluffy insides, blanched kale with plenty of bite, whole roasted carrots sweet with a delicate crunch, smooth buttery swede mash, electric purple sweet braised cabbage and, of course, the whole dish was generously drizzled in unctuous gravy. I believe the correct British saying is ‘Get in!’
But wait…there’s more!
To accompany our gorgeous roasts, we also ordered a side of pigs in a blanket. Juicy little sausages, wrapped in streaky bacon, sweet and savoury bites of yummy. We also ordered the obligatory cauliflower cheese, and ladies and gentlemen, this is how it’s done. Served in a large sharing bowl, a heaping portion of cauliflower florets bathed in ooey-gooey cheesy goodness and topped with a crunch of golden brown cheese. (Insert drooling Homer GIF here.) As with all my dates, sharing is obligatory, and between us we polished off the lot. Top marks, no critiques – and can you book us in for next week? – please and thank you.
Another bottle, go on then.
As I mentioned before, we don’t often get a leisurely lunch, so we kicked back, ordered a second bottle, and revelled in a superbly slow Sunday. The only thing that could possibly improve the roast would be a turndown service…
Then, out of absolutely nowhere, we ordered chocolate fondant cake. We were as surprised as you are! Warm cake, covered with melted chocolate and served with a dollop of sweet ice cream. The perfect finish to a gorgeous Sunday roast.
An outstanding roast at a Brighton institution – just 476 years in the making. A huge thank you to The Cricketers for having us. We’ll see you next Sunday!