The Ostrich at Robertsbridge
BY NICK FARLEY
There wasn’t an ‘Eat’ column last month because, frankly, we didn’t find anywhere to recommend. You may find that hard to believe when the whole of the South East these days is simply one big joined-up restaurant, but it’s true. You probably think that we spend most of our days swanning about the countryside stuffing our faces in the pursuit of a page of editorial, but that’s not quite how it works: we usually aim for places that have been recommended to us by reliable foodsters that we trust, or we go to places we know of ourselves, and it’s worth saying here that despite the profusion of eateries there are very few which people actually seem prepared to recommend. Anyway, the Eat adventure is usually one of the very last things we do before the magazine goes to press and therein lies the problem: when the destination eatery doesn’t cut the mustard we are left with no report and not much time to find an alternative. That’s what happened last month: first we had a restaurant that served disgusting food at an extortionate price and then one that was closed when we turned up. How somewhere can be closed on The Pantiles on a hot Summer day beats me, but it was. This month we got the job (job?) done early in case we needed a back-up, but we needn’t have worried because we holed-inone at the Ostrich Hotel in Robertsbridge. It was a beautiful Indian Summer Day in mid-September with the temperature at 21⁰C and not a breath of wind, so we ate in the garden. The garden at The Ostrich is itself interesting and is billed as “tropical” which, with its banana trees and the bright sun on our visit, it certainly was. A delightful spot. At lunchtime I am not usually seeking the hautest of cuisine and I thought a pint of beer, a sirloin steak and decent chips followed by summer pudding and ice cream seemed about right. And so it proved: excellent steak cooked exactly as I had asked for it with good chips and vegetables. Simple. The Editor’s lasagne also struck exactly the right note and she, her virtue overflowing, opted to have a salad accompaniment, a salad which even included grapes from the vine growing against The Ostrich’s back wall. No food miles there. A summer pudding is not going to get the gastro-pubbist’s pulse racing but it works for me every time and The Ostrich version 34 The Onion magazine
was well up to the mark. Silly, of course, not to have ice cream and cream with it, and so, in the interests of research, I did. A tarte citron for the Ed and coffee to follow, all charmingly served, left us feeling that life wasn’t half bad and that’s exactly what a good pub/restaurant should do to you. First impressions count for a lot and The Ostrich just felt ‘right’ from the outset. We were warmly welcomed, well served and made to feel at home. Had it been dinner rather than lunch we might indeed have settled down and gone through the card in a much more adventurous style, sitting in the very comfortable-looking dining area which is part of the bar. It looked really inviting and I can imagine that in darker, colder days – the November days when you are perhaps reading this ̶ and with the fire alight, eating or simply drinking and reading the paper in this quaintly furnished bar would be a very pleasant experience. The Ostrich is not going to put Michel Roux out of business, but it’s not trying to; it’s simply a jolly nice place to be and to eat and to drink. The meal for two as described including a pint of Harvey’s and a glass of wine and coffees came to £39. www.ostrichhotel.co.uk Tel: 01580 881737 The Ostrich Hotel, Station Road, Robertsbridge, TN32 5DG onionmagazine.co.uk
Published on Nov 2, 2014
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