Rose & Crown, Cuckfield: ‘Friendly high end dining in an informal setting’


Rose & Crown, 17th Century Pub and Dining, declares the sign set into the frame of the historic hostelry fronting London Road in Cuckfield.

The simplicity of the branding belies the complexity and quality of cooking now taking place in the village pub re-opened this month by Mark Dennis and his chef son Simon.



Their vision is to create an innovative oasis of high end dining in an informal setting.

Simon at 25 has already amassed a decade of professional kitchen experience, most recently at the renowned Jeremy’s, Borde Hill, the Sussex Restaurant of the Year 2014.

He thanks Jeremy for his passion for cooking, as well as the skills he has in abundance, but the Rose & Crown celebrates his own style he says.

His idols include Tom Kerridge, who at the Hand & Flowers in Buckinghamshire originated Michelin-starred dining in a pub setting.

Rose and Crown opening night SUS-141103-165513001

Rose and Crown opening night SUS-141103-165513001

Mark and Simon are emulating this concept to present perfect food in a more relaxed atmosphere - two rosettes by the end of the year is their initial aim.

But that all depends on the food, and the quality of ingredients and technique used in the kitchen.

The Rose & Crown does not disappoint.

Its show-piece main at present is Hay Baked Goat, Fondant potatoes, Purple Kale and Wheat Beer Sauce (£18).

As the plate came to the table the enticing smell of perfect roast lamb was the first element of this clever dish to delight the diner.

The loin and shoulder meat of goat is baked on a bed of hay, then braised in two pints of wheat beer before being compacted into a succulent croquette.

Meanwhile the double loin, similar to a Barnsley chop, has been water-bathed at 61 degrees for six hours, and rolled with chicken mousseline through the centre.

The depth of flavour was very impressive and the serving substantial.

For lovers of lamb, this dish comes highly recommended.

As does the starter of Lobster Ravioli, Spinach, Shellfish and Vanilla Bisque (£9).

With the lobster delicately enclosed in a single light ravioli, bathing in the shellfish and vanilla bisque, this was an accomplished dish, with all the flavours singing in tune.

Also to start, Sautéed Duck Hearts was a new experience, served with Crispy Egg & Brioche Soldiers (£7).

The heart is not like other more familiar offal such as liver and kidney, but much meatier in texture.

It is after all a working muscle, and as Simon said, its the best muscle because it is always working.

Other delights included the amuse bouche, or pre-starter served during the evening service, which on this occasion was a pork, pigeon and pistachio terrine, as well as an extremely moreish pre-dessert of warm olive oil and pistachio cake served with tonka bean cream.

It is these little touches, along with fresh olives and home-made bread, that raise the bar of the pub’s offering, especially considering the pricing of the dishes.

The 28 Day 10oz Rib-eye is the most expensive main on the menu at £22 and, simply served with goose-fat cooked chips and a café de Paris butter, it is hard to beat for quality and quantity.

Part of the steak could be cut with a fork because the meat was so tender.

All the desserts cost a very reasonable £6.50 and the Chocolate & Brown Butter Ganache, Blood Orange was the perfect sweet to conclude a wonderful dining experience.

For more information about the Rose & Crown in Cuckfield, or to make a reservation visit or call 01444 414217.