Brainchild of Food for Friends founder Simon Hope (who opened Brighton’s legendary veggie joint back in 1981) The Crabtree public house and kitchen has recently re-opened after a two-year hiatus and a major overhaul at the hands of Hope and his family.
Serving up some of the best locally sourced grub this side of the Devil’s Dyke, The Crabtree is as much a country boozer as it is a proper restaurant - "gastropub" is not a portmanteau to use here. Situated within a listed building which, in parts, dates back to the fifteenth century, the pub’s assortment of open spaces combine period features (the enormous fireplaces will see plenty of action this winter) with solid rustic design your local “Ember Inn” wishes it could do half as well.
The food, as you’d expect from a culinary veteran like Hope, is spot on (he has collaborated with head chef Mark Kinzel on the menu) and unctuous slabs of local cod, breem and mackerel sit alongside succulent cuts of Sussex lamb and beef and a consistently strong vegetarian option –the tomato and caramelized shallot tarte tatin is a lesson in considered veggie cooking. The impeccably sourced wine list, featuring star bottles from the new world and Europe was sampled at length on our visit and proved the gravy on top of this very hearty Sunday lunch essential.
The Crabtree, Brighton Road, Lower Beeding, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 6PT