“The perfect venue to hunker down on a rainy evening”
The Chequers Inn is an archetypal country pub but nestling within the boundaries of the ancient market town of Battle. The pub itself enjoys an elevated position at the top of the hill which leads on to the high street. Built upon the site of the 1066 battle, this cosy bolt hole has been one of my all time favourite places since the 1980s.
Dating from the 17th century, the Chequers has enjoyed the patronage of the Great and the Good of the parish for many a year. Up until the latter part of the last century the car park used to overflow with Horse and Hound on Sundays. Today the pub continues to attract a mix of old and new money,which makes for a buzzing atmosphere on a busy evening.
Management changed hands last year-and for the better! Inside things have changed too-and for the better! With subdued candelight, a cosy and eclectic relaxed sofa area is the place to start the evening with drinks and nibbles. The Chequers is now “shabby” and quite “chic” but the changes have not been done in a visibly contrived fashion. The tables and chairs are a mish mash of combinations, paintings on the wall clearly hark back more than two centuries while the reliable knarly, old and knobbly wooden floors finish off the surroundings admirably.
We visited on a cold and blustery midweek in winter, yet the place was busy, warm and indeed welcoming. Staff fuss and cosset their customers, enhancing the evening experience.
The Chequers is the perfect venue to hunker down on a rainy evening. A well nurtured pint of Harveys kicked off the performance nicely.
Starting off in their pleasantly eccentric lounge area we tucked in to some bread with a nice warming homemade feel and an olive oil dip.
The menu is refreshingly sparing with eight starters and eight mains. To start, why not Pear,or Gnocchi, Tongue or the Soup of the Day? For mains Corn Fed Chicken, Tagine or maybe Halloumi? Our waitress told us us that the menu changes regularly and that the food is organic and locally sourced where possible.
As the pub filled our reserved table by the fireplace beckoned, the woodburner blinking to us enticingly. Once we had settled into our seats our starters sashayed through from the kitchen. My oak smoked chicken was a real treat with special accolades to a sprightly tarragon egg mayo. Nicely complemented by a homemade Branston style pickle and wafer thin crackling and washed down with a glass of chilled Pinot Noir. The mark was hit. Blonde polished off a delicious beetroot cured salmon with dill cream cheese and light toast. I was allowed to taste a sliver of salmon,moreish,special.
My mains choice, predictably was fillet steak – and what a fine slice of beef it was! Gorgeous garlic mash, cavalo nero & tarragon with a taste treat of shallot and red wine butter. Another winner from The Kitchen. From the inventive wine list was a warming merlot. Blonde enjoyed a momentous duck breast, pink roasted pistachio and apricot cracked, delightful pickled roast romanesco. L orange flavour dipped in too with an innovative harissa and orange yoghurt. We shared some extra sides, of particular note were the historic honey glazed carrots and some curly kale with sesame seeds and a soy sauce.
I finished with the selection of seven or so tasty cheeses served on slate while we also dipped into a gorgeous chocolate truffle terrine which tucked up the evening perfectly.
The menu at The Chequers food is indeed modern, inventive and innovative, so long may it continue. Tasty food with healthy portions, really well presented in a pub where even the walls to the salt cellars ooze genuine character and personality. What more can you ask for?
Chequers Inn, Lower Lake, Battle TN33 0AT