UNINVITED GUEST the Griffin Inn: East Sussex

Article excerpt

Byline: MAX DAVIDSON

WHAT a perfect microcosm of all that is best in England! A 16th-century pub in an unspoiled village.

Applecheeked rustics propping up the bar. Fading prints of old cricket teams. Beamed ceilings. Panelled walls. The smell of warm beer and turkey pie and chips.

For 400 years, the Griffin Inn was 'just a pub', though a good one. In recent years, it has spread its wings and reinvented itself as a pubcumrestaurant with rooms.The result is perfect: retaining the best of the old, yet introducing some of the excitement of the new. If every village deserves its own post office, it also deserves its own Griffin.

There are only eight bedrooms, but they have been lovingly furnished. Mine was in the stable block and overlooked the beer-garden. It would probably have been noisy in the summer, but in spring, and at only [pounds sterling]70 for B&B, felt like the height of luxury.

There was a four-poster bed, a mountain of soft pillows, a beautiful antique writing-desk and a huge Victorian bath.

Well-chosen prints adorned the walls. It took about ten minutes to get ye olde key to fit into ye olde keyhole, but you cannot have everything.

Dinner, in the stylishly furnished restaurant, was equally delightful. The chef is a dab hand at salsas, delicate, densely flavoured condiments, and was at the top of his game. My seared scallops came with a salsa of black pudding and peppers, my pan-fried tuna with a salsa of tomato and crayfish. …