“ A pub / restaurant located between keymer and Hassocks outside of Brighton. „
Friendliness from staff, good food and a welcoming homely atmosphere make a good pub in my opinion. The Greyhound Inn public house at Keymer, a few miles outside of Brighton, has all of these attributes in plentiful supply. Despite being over 100 miles from where I live, I've just made my fifth visit to this pub and each time I look forward to enjoying time in the company of Hassan, the proprietor, and can't wait to tuck into the fresh tasty food that he prepares.
We first discovered the Greyhound about 18months ago. We were staying at a gloomy hotel in Brighton and had had several meals in the centre and decided to try to find a country pub one evening for a change. We found this one after heading back out on the A23 towards London and then taking the first turning off signed to Hassocks and it is about 8 miles outside of Brighton. It looked picturesque from outside with soft lighting and still retains the character that you'd expect of a building 450 years old. We enjoyed the meal and hospitality so much that we joked with Hassan that we wished we would be in the area on a Saturday when he opens up to serve a cooked breakfast, as the breakfast in the hotel had been less than inspiring. The next thing we knew we had been invited the next morning for breakfast. We were a bit dubious as we drove back the next morning thinking maybe he had been joking or was regretting his friendly remarks, but no, he was there, apron ready, to begin cooking for us at the same time as preparing the bar and kitchens for lunchtime trade. We were presented with the best cooked breakfast that you could ever wish for as well as being made to feel like really special house guests.
The following day on our way home we dropped by with a thankyou gift and as it was lunchtime just had to sample the puddings as we hadn't found room for them the first night and after breakfast it would have been just a tad greedy, despite seeing them there on display in the glass fronted fridge. The beamed ceiling of the pub is covered with hooks and from each hangs a mug - we were able to contribute a new mug for this collection as our 'big breakfast' thankyou.
As I have relatives in the area we had since returned once more, for lunch this time taking my grandparents, but that was before my reviewing days, but since I have started writing reviews I knew that when I next visited this would be a place that more than deserved a five star review. That visit occurred after a long day visiting relatives and then sale shopping in Brighton, between Christmas and New Year, and we decided that the perfect way to round off our day would be a quite sit down with good food at the Greyhound.
Our timings meant that we were a bit early arriving, at 5.30 as food is not served until 6.30, but we were happy to wait and were shown to a table in the bar area where Hassan came and took our drink requests. I was impressed when I asked for a J2O and instead of being told a few flavours, he brought over 8 different bottles for me to choose from. He also brought the A La Carte food menu over to us so that we could begin choosing, but also told us that if there was anything else we wanted to just let him know. As one of my daughters was not overly hungry we asked if there were lighter snacks so he also showed us the lunchtime special board and bar menu and also told us that there was a children's menu.
The bar was a really pleasant place to sit and chat and while away an hour. There were some local magazines and leaflets to read and we felt quite at home to bring out a game that we had with us to play (I don't usually have these in my bag, but it had kept the kids amused at great grandparents). Being an old country pub there is the perfect roaring open fireplace that all good pubs should really offer for a cold winters evening and the walls are cosy oak panelling, but brightened by the walls above being painted a pale yellow. As it was Christmas all of the mugs had been removed and from each hook a gold, silver or red bauble was hung, with some tasteful fairy lights strung between, as well as a Christmas tree and cards on the mantel piece. It really did look so festive, cosy and welcoming. Music is played at an unintrusive volume and the lighting was just right for me, dimmed but not too dark to see what you're eating; I do hate stark pubs with bright lights on. The bar has definitely retained its local village pub atmosphere with many people in there just for a drink. It seemed friendly with lots of people knowing each other, but we didn't feel out of place being outsiders. There is also a second linked room with a billiard table and bar games, although at this early hour on a Friday night no one was using this. We were also the only diners on this occasion, although we did leave at about 7.30 and other tables were reserved. Previously it has been more full and we have had to eat in the bar area on one occasion, so it may be worth booking at busier times.
Hassan, as mentioned already, owns the pub. He was born in Iran and has been a chef for thirty years. He really gives the impression that he is not 'at work', but that you are at home with them and that he loves every minute of what he is doing. Many of the other team members in the kitchen and bar appear to have a family resemblance.
As our food was due to be served we were invited by Hassan's daughter who is the main waitress and bar attendant, to move through to the dining area, which is linked to the bar. The tables were laid with bright yellow napkins decorating the wine glasses and again Christmas decorations.
We opted to start with main courses as we knew that the deserts looked absolutely irresistible and we wouldn't manage 3 courses. Starters are available though ranging from soup at £3.75 through many traditional starters to King prawns in a white wine and garlic sauce at £5.95. I chose the scampi at £10.95 - not very original I realise, but I'm always glad when it's there on a menu as it's definitely my favourite. The scampi itself tasted good and pretty much as you find it in most places. The chips were chunky, crispy and lovely and hot - just perfect and it was also served with peas and a salad. The salad was as crisp as you could ask for and consisted of lettuce, cucumber, red onion and red and green peppers. It was definitely just as I'd hoped that it would be and my daughter also really enjoyed this too. My husband chose Huntsmans Chicken with chips and vegetables for £10.95. He described the sauce that the chicken was in as having a nice mustardy flavour and the cheese topping looked good. Sadly for him he is just far too fussy with his veg so only ate his carrots and pinched some of my peas. I therefore got to sample his cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage which were all nicely cooked being still firm without being raw. Our final choice was the smoked mackerel salad served with a good sized bowl of new potatoes. My daughter was impressed that the bed of salad also included more exciting things like avocado and it was very nicely presented.
The food is all cooked to order and was definitely hot and fresh. Food is sourced locally where they are able to which also adds to the freshness. The menu is quite extensive, although I only noticed a couple of things for vegetarians on the main menu, unless you eat fish in which case the selection is wide. With the addition of the lunchtime menu with meals of about £8 and the bar menu that includes jacket potatoes, sandwiches and petit pans at under £5 there should be a good choice for everyone. It does suggest on the menu that if you like your meal adapted from the standard that this can be done. I would recommend looking at the menu at www.greyhoundkeymer.com if you're interested, as this review could go on forever if I included more food options.
The deserts are cleverly displayed in a glass fridge as you walk through into the restaurant, so I'd already chosen what I'd like prior to eating my main so was making sure I'd leave room. I believe that these are probably brought in, but they all looked mouth watering. There's apple pie, cherry cheesecake, banofee pie, chocolate fudge cake to name a few and they all cost £3.95. The pecan pie was exceptional and I've had this served with cream twice there now, and hope to again in the not too distant future.
Our bill for 6 drinks, all be it soft ones, except a shandy, 4 main courses and 4 puddings came to £71, which seems about right for what we received. Service is not included, but is worthy of a tip. Watch out for the vouchers that are sometimes available on the website for reduced prices of meals.
The pub is open all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday and lunchtimes and evenings the rest of the week. Special Sunday lunches are available of 1, 2 or 3 courses between £8.95 and £15 and of course the cooked breakfasts on Saturday would be worth a visit. In keeping with its local atmosphere quiz nights are held on the second Monday of each month and open mike sessions on the second Sunday. I bet these are great nights to try out and I only wish I lived near enough to get myself on a quiz team. They do also cater for special occasions and parties.
Whenever I've visited it's been winter or dark or horrible weather, but I have peered out through the doors into the garden where there is a patio, large grass area and a covered arbour all with bench seating, so it looks like this could be good for a summer evening drink and meal too. There's plenty of parking with a few spaces at the front and a larger carpark to the side. Toilets are adequate, although a little dated.
You may have guessed by now that I would whole heartedly recommend this pub to you if you are ever in the Brighton area and feel like escaping the hustle and bustle of city life, for a quieter village setting in glorious traditional pub surroundings. Whether it's for food or just a drink with a jovial host I doubt if you will be disappointed.
Keymer Road (B2116)
Te: 01273 842645