With the holidays coming to an end it was time to celebrate for me.
Yes, my two little angels were going back to school with my youngest boy of 4 starting full time.
Now I realise there are some parents out there preparing the tissues for the big day but if I’m being brutally honest – I need a break.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I’ll shed a few tears for Miles and I will miss my little man but at the same time I need a rest….a rest from fighting, constant demands, fighting, whinging, dodging various flying obstacles and did I mention that they fight?
So I asked my dad if he fancied a trip to Cooksbridge to have a bite to eat in the Rainbow Inn. It’s been years since we last went and my with my younger brothers being 14 and 16 – Dad also had reason to celebrate!!
Dad was up for a getaway too so last Wednesday we headed out to the Rainbow Inn near Lewes and was looking forward to some good food and a catch up.
The Rainbow Inn hasn’t changed much, which I was pleased to see as it is a real traditional country pub, warm and inviting, with some quirky little touches like a hidden door which looks like bookcase.
We were greeted by welcoming smiles and asked whether we would like to have a drink at the bar first or go straight to our table. We decided to go straight to the table as we were both starving and were eager to pick our food.
Well, we were not disappointed as the menu had plenty of choice with starters of soup of the day, bruschetta or smoked salmon with capers and malted loaf.
I decided with on the seared scallops, chorizo, salsa verde and baby leaves. Dad went with Alex’s recommendation of warm crispy duck & watercress salad, mooli, carrot and sesame seed dressing – yum!
For mains there was anything from belly of pork, hand made burger, fish of the day, holmansbridge farm sausage or polenta cake with blue cheese sauce to mention a few.
I chose the pan fried duck breast, truffle mash, spinach and garlic puree, kale and jus where dad opted for seared sussex ribeye steak, handout chips, dressed salad but swapped the smoked garlic butter for a blue cheese sauce instead.
Alex who we later discovered is the innkeeper; was really helpful and informed us that all the meat, fish and veg is sourced locally which is great to know.
Alex brought the drinks over and I had to agree with his recommendation – the tempranillo reserve, Cop de Ma Spain is a good red and I’m already regretting my decision to drive and let Dad have a drink!
The pub has a really nice relaxed vibe – the restaurant is separate from the bar with wooden tables, chairs, traditional decor and in the background some great old tunes were playing reminiscent of Doris Day.
Our starters arrive and look absolutely devine.
The scallops are cooked to perfection, each one resting perfectly on a dollop of the salsa verde. This typical italian green sauce is packed with flavour and really compliments fish with the flavours of basil, mint, vinegar and garlic coming through.
This combined with the chorizo is a clear winner for me.
Dad is absolutely chuffed with his dish.
The duck is crispy just how he likes it and has a oriental flavour with the mooli, carrot and sesame seed very present in the taste.
The Watercress salad is a good combination with the duck, making this a very fresh and vibrant dish that I will certainly have when we go again.
Alex and his staff ensure we’re happy but our clean plates kinda give us away. Dad and I get to chuckle about the rest of the family whilst we eagerly await our main course.
When the mains arrive we both agree they look great. Dads chips are huge and the rib eye is nicely browned and topped with cherry tomatoes on the vine. My duck breast sits on a generous portion of mash with kale to the side, surrounded by a dark jus.
We tuck in and there’s silence which is always a good sign, Dad breaks it with “these tomatoes are fantastic” closely followed by “mmm, very nice”.
My duck is medium rare which is the way that duck should be cooked, this keeps the meat very tender as when over cooked duck can be chewy. The mash is smooth, good to taste and combines very well with the kale, duck and red wine jus.
I have to taste one of dads chips as they really are of mammoth proportion. They are very very good and twice baked at a guess and I’m really happy that dad loves his dish – mum is not so easy to please!!
We are stuffed to the brim but with the first two courses proving such a success, it’s hard to resist a pudding. Especially when they sound so tempting with Rainbow mess, glazed rice pudding, berry compote and raspberry sorbet.
Dad is feeling adventurous (for him) and decides on the gingernut & lime cheesecake, lemon curd and whipped cream – I decide to have the warm almond cake with morello cherry ice-cream, orange curd and mascarpone cream.
The cheesecake is wonderful, with the ginger giving this dessert a big kick with every mouthful, the kick fades fast in time for the next.
My dessert is a beautiful mixture of taste and textures with the warm almond cake against the ice cold cherry ice-cream and the thick creaminess of the mascarpone cheese.
My only complaint is that I’ve put on a few pounds but I’m sure this will burn off whilst chasing my little angels tomorrow.
Brighton reviewer: Leigh Carrington, October 14
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