We spent a few days at Rye in Sussex and had many great meals. The weather was pretty rotten for our trip so we weren’t able to take advantage of as many outdoor activities as we would have liked to, but the town of Rye had many interesting spots to visit and places to eat within a short walk.
The Grapevine champagne bar was the site of my first taste of English sparkling wine, which I had avoided because of the incorrect assumption that it would be too sweet. Grapevine offers about 25 sparkling wines; my champagne choice was out of stock and the barman recommended Charles Palmer sparkling wine from East Sussex instead. The wine is a 70% pinot, 30% chardonnay blend, nicely rounded and elegant. The bar has a clubby look, with low lighting, comfortable chairs, and dark walls covered in classic Hollywood photos. Notably friendly service.
The Globe Inn Marsh is a short walk outside the main town. We were impressed by the robust cocktail menu (tons of featured gins) and daily changing menu that is posted to the wall. We split the ribs for two: dry cured Gloucester Old Spot ribs served with chorizo baked beans, potato salad, flatbread, corn on the cob and two whiskey sours (?!). As the American at the table, I was primed to be more critical. The rib texture was very good; the sauce was much less sticky than ribs I’ve had in the USA, and needed to be spooned from the pan bottom to add flavor. The whiskey sours were quite bizarre, more like a sweet sparkling lemonade in flavor. Garlic flatbread, chorizo beans, and corn were all well made and the portions were American (read: huge). I also had a great elderflower-blackberry Pimms which wiped away the memory of the unsour unwhiskey whiskey sour.
Landgate Bistro made for a lovely dinner and was the most upscale of our choices. Notable were the cheese menu, baked cheesecake, a main of local salt marsh lamb, and the goose ham as part of an appetizer of potatoes and crispy egg.
On the not-quite-restaurant front, the Kino movie theatre was a great choice for a pouring, windy day, and the cinema cafe is fantastic. We’d been tipped to it by our hotel and were impressed. The cafe serves cream tea, many types of locally made cake, local Willets Farm ice cream, and well made coffee. The mint ice cream was fantastic.
Regrets: The Mermaid Inn was pricey and not interesting enough for the money. Knoops, of “best hot chocolate in the world” fame, is closed on Wednesday and Thursday, so we missed a chance to go during our short visit.