Abergavenny Arms, Rodmell

Driving through Rodmell about 6pm recently, all traffic heading for Newhaven abruptly came to a halt. 

She of the Sat Nav said in her most irritating tone, "Turn around; another route is 22 minutes shorter." I ignored her but this time she was right. 

Following another driver's example, I made an awkward 
three-point turn, belatedly realising I would hit a post if I continued the angle I had begun on.

By manoeuvring better the second time around, I aroused the wrath of a driver coming in the other direction, but continued my retreat towards the Abergavenny Arms in Rodmell.

This is a pub which used to serve really excellent food for lunch and dinner until it closed down around 18 months ago and I hadn't been back since it re-opened.

Either entrance - back or front - takes you into the spacious and yet paradoxically cosy atmosphere of the pub. 

A big fire was burning in the centre of the main bar and dining room and I was made to feel very welcome by pub manager, Jon Cleall and his assistant, Ella, a charming and well clued-up young woman.

When I explained the situation, adding that I was famished, she immediately invited me to "sit anywhere you like" and led me through the menu. 

At any rate, Ella knows her food and, despite being a vegetarian, was brave enough to return to the chef to ensure that my calves' liver was done to a pink turn after Jon had initially suggested doing it 'rare'.
She had already suggested brown 
garlic bread as a starter and I scoffed this with an excellent glass of South African Southern Lion merlot, if memory serves well. 

Eating all that delicious bread was a mistake, of course. It was a generous portion and so was the main course; so much so, I failed to do full justice and finish my hearty platter. 

A word of thanks to Chef, David Cluer for a beautifully presented and meltingly tender dish of calves' liver; and for being willing to cook liver either rare or simply pink. 

At just under £20 for garlic bread, wine and a calves liver with grilled bacon and winter greens (peas tonight), the meal was pretty good value. 

Unfortunately, you'll just have to take my word for that because I didn't have a camera of any kind with me. But I promise to go back for some photos when I return at the end of November.

Meanwhile, click here Abergavenny Arms for opening hours and other details.

In summer, it's worth calling in on Virginia Woolf's former home with husband Leonard and having a cream tea at Abergavenny Arms afterwards.
The inside of Monk's House - decorated by Virginia's artist sister, Vanessa, Monk's House feels just as though they just walked out into the garden... 

... and the gardens are really very special, with Virginia's writing studio in the midst of them.
Unlike Charleston Farm in Sussex, where Vanessa lived, the National Trust volunteers at Monk's House are friendly, relaxed and knowledgeable without being snooty. 

Dining Room, Monk's House, Rodmell.
VDuBourdieu © 2010
A last word on the Abergavenny Arms. In winter, they do hearty Sunday lunches. They are also happy for walkers and their dogs to drop in.

Don't worry if there's a crowd of you at the weekend. There are several different areas for dining or simply quaffing a pint, not to mention a few alcove tables. There is also a lovely garden for more clement days outside.

Please telephone for bookings 01273 472416 or email: sue@abergavennyarms.com

Click here for menus, pictures and more info.

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