Type of food / drink: Pub food and real ale
We went to The Cricketers’ Arms in Berwick Village in East Sussex recently while on a trip to nearby Charleston House and Gardens, the beautiful retreat for the Bloomsbury Group. The Cricketers’ Arms is a traditional flint walled country pub that serves a number of Harveys real ales. It was first established as an ale house in the 17th century. The pub is set in a lovely cottage garden and is situated at the bottom of the South Downs. The setting is idyllic and peaceful. It was a warm and sunny early summer day so we sat in the garden.
The menu is somewhere between gastropub and traditional pub food, with items such as home made chicken liver and mushroom pâté and chicken and chorizo warm salad. However, scampi and chips and ham, egg and chips did feature, although the latter did have maple syrup and mustard glazed ham. The vegetarian choice was home made spinach and ricotta ravioli in a white wine, asparagus and mushroom sauce – so much more inspiring than the typical (not home made) vegetable lasagne or goats cheese quiche 😀
The ravioli was very tempting but I fancied a light lunch so I went for the toasted ciabatta topped with mozzarella, peppers and basil. This was served with a side salad and cost £6.50 (at time of writing). To drink, I had sparkling elderflower cordial. I know, this is a real ale pub but I am ashamed to say that I am not a fan of ale and I was not with my ale drinking friend so I could not have judged the ale!
The elderflower cordial was wonderfully refreshing and the ciabatta had a decent amount of filling and was the perfect choice for a warm day. The accompanying salad included a nice citrussy homemade coleslaw and a slice of orange. My only criticism was that the mozzarella had barely melted and not quite enough for my liking – I do like a good bit of melted cheese. This was just my preference, however, and it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the meal. It was lovely sitting out in the early summer sun with the birds singing. There were a few cheeky sparrows who were after a few morsels too!
The pub is just off a main road (the A27) and on a narrow country lane that leads to Berwick Church, home to some murals painted by three Bloomsbury Group artists (Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Quentin Bell). The church is a popular stop off point for visitors to Charleston and I’m guessing The Cricketers’ Arms gets its fair share of Bloomsbury pilgrims!
Whether you’re a Bloomsbury pilgrim or South Downs rambler or not, The Cricketers’ Arms provides a warm welcome and is a lovely country pub. If it is raining or a cold day, the pub itself is nice and cosy. I will make sure I go with someone who appreciates real ale should I return!
The Cricketers’s Arms‘
Berwick Village (near Lewes and Polegate)
East Sussex. BN23 6SP
Tel: +44 (0)1323 870469
Pub opening times: Monday – Thursday 10.00 – 22.30
Friday and Saturday 11.00 – 23.00
Sunday 12.00 – 22.30
Typical cost per person for one course excluding drinks: Up to £15 (more for steak); Up to £10 for a light lunch