Food Review: West Hill Tavern

Once upon a time in West Hill, there were more pubs serving a fine Sunday lunch and midweek dinners than you could throw a pud at. The Sussex Yeoman held the crown while The Eddy, under its previous landlord, played with its chefs like a game of dice.

Now both have dispensed with food completely; under Hatt and Mark at The Eddy, life’s way too much fun to eat, while The Yeoman is still reeling from the social distancing rules in its tiny kitchen.

But what’s this? The West Hill Tavern – or the Westie as it’s better known – has steamed into the foodie void left by its neighbours and is serving up a rather tasty menu. Sunday lunch is a mountain of a meal which really could last all week if you ask for a doggy bag, as we did.

The kitchen is run by Phil Bartley from Great British Charcuterie and is in charge of sourcing the dry-aged Angus beef, the South Downs lamb from Lancing College’s home farm and rare breed pork belly from Dingley Dell. And that means it all feeds back into the circular economy and supports the local farmers saving the planet by sequestering carbon into the once pesticide-soaked soil with their beasts’ handy hooves. The squash, mushroom, spinach and cheddar, almost all born and bred within the sound of Brighton waves, are shaped into a classic Sunday Wellington and come with a vegetarian gravy that would confound the pickiest of palates.  And don’t get me started on the hot cookie dough with ice cream, Chocolate & Beetroot Brownie & Salted Caramel Ice Cream, local cheeses or selection of Gelato Gusto ice creams.

But it’s the 10” sourdough pizza, made fresh by Great British Charcuterie Co. Brighton’s own suppliers of some of the best local meats and cheeses it can find, that has become the Westie’s backbone since Lockdown. Try the Wagyu pastrami from Bowhill Farm in Chichester with Mayfield Swiss, Pickles and Dressing or the pepperoni from Moons Green Farm in Tenterden.  And if you weren’t in on Sunday, you might even have space for the Nut-Hella-Good pizza to follow, with Nutella, marshmallows and white chocolate gelato.

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