Have you ever craved a midweek roast? I’m not talking about microwaved leftovers on a Monday night, I mean a freshly-cooked, full-on feast with all the trimmings, lashings of gravy and a pudding to boot. Thanks to the Brighton Roast Company (BRC), now you can satisfy your craving any day of the week.
Taking over the kitchen at The Cricketers on Black Lion Street (The Lanes), they serve roast dinners seven days straight. And if you can’t quite handle the full works, you can ask for your meat or veggie main to be stuffed inside a soft sub roll, with a big pot of gravy on the side.
Proper pub setting
If you haven’t been to The Cricketers before, you’re in for a treat. Enter through the main door and you burst into the theatrical bar area, which is complete with velvet seats, flock wallpaper and a magnificent collection of memorabilia. Enter the courtyard entrance and it’s a more casual affair with cobbled flooring, cracked timber beams and lantern-style lights. I visited on a Thursday evening with my boyfriend Tommy.
A drizzly November night, we decided to sit in the cosy main bar area. Feeling snug and warm, I got straight into the wintery vibes with a tankard of steaming mulled cider.
The roast menu offers everything from root vegetable nut bake to rosemary and garlic leg of lamb, and Dingley Dell smoked gammon. There’s also a choice of 13 sides to select from.
This means you could have free-range chicken with fennel pork crackling, a pork roast with crispy fried chicken skin, or, as I did, a vegan main with sausages on the side.
Cauliflower steak and coffee-roasted beef
Tommy chose the coffee-roasted beef brisket served with horseradish and beef gravy. Clearly cooked with care, his tasty meat was flaky, tender and smoky. If you’re not a big coffee fan, fear not: the beef had a deep, rich flavour rather than a coffee hit.
I opted for the vegan roast – an inch-thick cauliflower steak topped with vegan cheese. Well-seasoned and seared around the edges, my al-dente steak tasted great with a big glug of onion gravy. Both mains came with roast potatoes and puffy Yorkshire puddings, plus whole braised carrots, dark leafy greens and a caramelized onion that was sticky and sweet with lovely little crispy bits.
On the side we munched on smokey pigs in blankets, which came as sticky full- sized chipolatas. We also ordered a bowl of marmalade-braised red cabbage. Sweet and vinegary with a scattering of raisins, it reminded me of Christmas.
The other sides on offer included classics like cauliflower cheese (vegan or not) as well as tempting twists like black pudding scotch eggs, or sage and onion stuffing pops.
Brighton’s best crumble?
We were fit to burst but the puddings sounded too good to resist, so we ploughed on with chocolate sponge and berry crumble. Served in its own little pot, our steaming chocolate sponge was rich, moist and comforting. It tasted particularly good with a big blob of vanilla ice-cream.
Delving into desert number two, we munched on a crunchy crumble topping and spooned at a deep purple berry layer that had just the right balance of sweetness and sharpness.
Served with both homemade custard and ice-cream, we both agreed that it was a strong contender for the best crumble in Brighton.
Reliably great roasts
Leaving The Cricketers with that snoozy Sunday afternoon feel, our walk home was definitely more of a waddle. As with every great roast, we’d stuffed ourselves silly, unable to resist just one more roast potato, or another spoonful of pudding. I can safely say that, whether you’re a vegan, veggie or meat-lover, you can rely on BRC to wow you with their roasts and satisfy your gravy craving, any day of the week.