Food - Shelleys

Two cooks and a food writer want a Monday lunch treat after a weekend of work. We try Shelleys. First, a glass of wine in the globally-warmed air on the terrace. This is one of the calmest spots in Lewes, free of the background chug of the globally-warming A27. It’s your venue for spring blossom, summer nights and autumn leaves. You can come for a drink without eating. I’d recommend the Riesling over the Pinot Grigio.

The lunch deal is £18.50 for three courses (though you can order just one). Portions are generous but not profligate. We split between smoked salmon with a citrus cream, Parma ham with mango, and a goat’s cheese and spinach tart that wobbles and oozes above its crisp pastry base and has a nattily-dressed pine-nut and green salad. Bread is home-made and bouncy. The main courses demonstrate a class act at the stove. Erika asks for her rib-eye rarish-medium; I request medium-rare. Spot-on, and excellent meat. Sophie’s calves liver, thicker than most, is perfectly cooked. Good sauces and veg. Fol-de-rols: zero.The chocolate panna cotta is creamier than most - more of a mousse. A spiced pear with cinnamon ice-cream has little bits of home-candied orange, and the cheese is proper artisanal stuff. Petits fours. Three cooks less petit. Some may feel queasy about the hotel-Louis-Quinze décor, but the staff are hospitable rather than stuffy. And the food? One of the best-cooked bargains in Lewes. HE

Mousse loose: Shelley’s puddings are rather special

Shelleys Hotel, High Street
When? 12 – 2.15pm (last order taken)
How Much? Three course lunch £18.50
(t) 01273 472 361