How can I have never been to Rye before now, given my love of food, nautical atmospheres and rummaging for vintage tat? It’s amazing there! Perfect for a day trip from London, blustering with fresh sea breezes, its cobbled streets lined with charming old fashioned shops. It has one particularly amazing foodie pub too – The Ship Inn. It’s wonderfully atmospheric and friendly; you can take your toddler along, have lunch and not fear becoming a social pariah when they inevitably start screaming, squawking and tearing around like a dervish. No-one bats an eyelid, as the staff are laid back to the point of being serene, and the food is big, calorific and bursting with flavours of the sea.
My husband and I ordered a fish soup each then shared one portion of smoked fish in cheese sauce with toast dipping soldiers and a pint of gorgeous smoked prawns and mayonnaise. These were all starter portions and we couldn’t imagine finding any spare room for a main course – or, sadly – a pudding. Small daughter was immediately provided with a high chair, then nibbled at the toast before going for a chaotic spin around the pub while we supped our ales. The interior is all low-ceilinged, wooden and adorned with maritime antiquities and Cath Kidstone-esque tablecloths. It’s so relaxing here – a great pitstop.
Forgive the slightly crap photos – taken with wobbly phone in hand, too hungry to care at the time about quality.
Fish soup (note the whacking doorstop of malty bread – about 3 inches high!):
Smoked fish in cheese sauce with toast dipping soldiers (carnage photo – I was too busy hoovering to remember to take the photo at the beginning):
Pint of smoked prawns and mayonnaise:
Cosy bliss. You can’t see them in this picture, but there were some excellent dogs snoozing about the place – if dogs are allowed in, that tends to be my benchmark for a fine pub:
Fruity local ales on tap:
No fear eating here with a disruptive little lady:
I was unsurprised to notice that the pub has impeccable food sourcing credentials, much of it from the local area, not least the delicious bread. This comes from the nearby Lighthouse Bakery, run by the lovely Liz and Rachel, where we did a fantastic breadmaking course a few years ago. Good God, I still fantasize about that course, where we made 20 loaves of bread between the pair of us and stuffed them onto the back seat of the car to take home – happy days!
After lunch, we wandered the streets of Rye and rummaged through the bric-a-brac shops, then pressed our noses up against the glass of Britcher & Rivers, an old fashioned sweet shop on the High Street. Time stands magically still here, and the air inside smells EXACTLY how newsagents used to smell back in the 80’s – sugar, perfume and vanilla, with a musty hint of tobacco.
The Ship Inn