Once described as ‘one of the finest examples of a timber-framed building in Sussex’, this Grade I listed 16th-century village inn dominates Mayfield’s High Street. It has been here since 1575, when it was built for Sir Thomas Gresham, Elizabeth I’s Keeper of the Privy Purse and founder of the London Stock Exchange. The entrance hall features a large ornately carved wooden fireplace by master carver Grinling Gibbons. Wattle-and-daub infill, a splendid oak-panelled restaurant and secret priest holes complete the period appeal. A private residence until the 1920s, it is now a family-run business. Real ale drinkers do well here; the handsome choice embraces half a dozen of the nation’s favourite brewers, from Harvey’s in Lewes to Theakston in North Yorkshire via Adnams in Suffolk. As in all good kitchens, the meats, poultry, game and vegetables come from local farms and producers. The lunchtime menu includes sandwiches, wraps and ploughman’s. Alongside are salads constructed by nationality (British, Russian, Italian for example); fish choices such as baked sea trout fillet or roast wild halibut; and Middle House classics such as lamb’s liver, crispy bacon, creamed potato and onion gravy. Pub favourites among the starters, mains and desserts include chicken liver pâté with herb brioche; slow-roasted belly of Mayfield pork with pear and orange purée, crackling, vegetables and a sauce of local cider and sage; and a seasonal crumble with cream or crème anglaise. It is not just the building that has been described in superlative terms – the private chapel in the restaurant is regarded as ‘one of the most magnificent in England’. Step out onto the lovely terraced gardens to enjoy views of the rolling countryside.
Open all year
Open all week
Open all day
Lunch opening: Monday to Thursday 12-2.15, Friday to Sunday all day
Dinner opening: Monday to Thursday 6.30-9.30, Friday to Sunday all day
Food and drink
Real ales: Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Greene King Abbot Ale, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Theakston Best Bitter, Adnams Southwold Bitter, Sharp's Doom Bar, Fuller's London Pride