Review: Ancient Mariner, Hove

As you may or may not know, I’m on a mission, to find the best roast in Brighton & Hove and have posted my findings in a series of mega reviews. To say my experiences have been mixed would be wildly understating the case-if there’s one thing you can be certain of going out for a roast in this town… it’s inconsistency.

Last Sunday I saw the following tweet…

 … oh YES I thought, doesn’t look the biggest, but when I asked for requests for the next round of the challenge a couple of weeks ago, Ancient Mariner came up twice, so I decided to go for it.

I had a quick peruse of their Twitter account and saw that they were bigging up their new chefs, even better, I thought, they will be keen to impress! If only I’d known how far from the truth that was…

*Quick disclaimer- I usually save up these reviews until I have 10 or so, to form one giant roast post, but seeing as my next isn’t due to go up for at least three months, I decided this particular experience needed documenting ASAP.

OR ‘Why not’ include extras as most places do…

When I arrived at just after 5 the pub was about 25% full and my order was taken at the bar by a vacant looking male. Not rude or anything, just totally tuned out- much like I probably would’ve been working a Sunday night in hospitality. It didn’t bother me at all, I got it, but it might have bothered some customers who couldn’t relate to the misery that is serving people on a Sunday night, especially when all you want is to be holding yourself and eating pizza in front of X Factor…

50 shades of beige… for £12

Before I’d had time to Instagram a photo of the menu, this had arrived.  It was clear that the kitchen didn’t have a rush on at that time, but under five minutes is scary quick…

Immediate alarm bells started to ring when I saw that they had removed the crackling from the meat to cook it… those alarm bells reached a deafening pitch as I tried to SAW my way through the grey and unyielding meat.

Two soggy parsnips, two carrot batons (hidden by the roast/deep fat fried) potatoes and two large TEASPOONS worth of kale and red cabbage- all for the ‘bargain’ price of £12.

Cauliflower cheese, apparently…..
Brown and mushy

This was an additional £2 to the £12 they charged me for the abortion above.  Brown, microwaved, and totally devoid of texture, but the taste wasn’t altogether unpleasant.
Seriously though, WHAT KIND OF CHEF IS HAPPY TO SEND THAT SHIT OUT?! And actually, why would the waitress agree to serve it to someone?!  I keep coming back to the same answer- because they couldn’t give a toss.

LOL at the Yorkshire/pancake

Whoever made this needs to be sent back to ‘chef’ school- WHAT an embarrassment. I just can’t believe the non existent pride you’d have to have to send that piece of …. out to a paying customer.

I’d put money on the fact that is grilled

 To be fair to whichever little pickle took the initiative to grill the crackling, they did make it crispy, and it was well seasoned at least. BUT so school boy, if you can’t crackle pig skin while it’s still attached, perhaps it’s time for a career change?

Then I made a serious error…. visiting the loos mid-meal…  If you thought the quality control was poor on the roast, you will enjoy this….

SO rank, imagine behind the fridge…
That layer of grime on the pipes…
Actual mould growing- bleurgh
All those grubby, unwashed fingers…
That bin is repulsive, just give it a wipe, FFS!

What I want to know is, do the staff have separate loos? Do they even wash their hands?? If so, WHY HAS NO-ONE CLEANED THIS SINK IN WHAT LOOKS LIKE YEARS?!?!?!

I could go through each of the above photos and comment, but I think they speak for themselves.  You know that watery thing your mouth does before you gag/throw up, well that was what I got when I zoomed in for a close up behind the lav…

I thought about raising it with the staff, but seeing as my 2/3 empty roast plate had been sitting in front of me for nearly 45 mins without a check back or being cleared, if ever there was a case of ‘zero fucks given’…  and quite frankly, they must have been aware of the state of their… ‘shitters’.

So obviously I put photos of my findings on all of my social networks and then this happened…

Charm school rang, they want their star pupil back…

This was sent to the inbox of my Facebook page, so they had clearly seen the photos of my ‘feedback’, no acknowledgement, no apology, no please. It’s almost like she’s pissed off that she or one of her team are now going to have to clean that absolute cess-pit. I blame the management, oh wait…..

I sent an equally charming reply and they responded on Twitter with this…

… or as a friend of mine put it; ‘So to recap. We can’t be arsed. Nothing will change. We don’t care.’…

Out of curiosity I searched them on the ‘scores on the doors’ website… they got a 3/5… in 2012- think it may be time for another visit and a revised score- those loos are some of the worst I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying a lot. I’d be mortified if I was them.

Have you been to the Ancient Mariner? What were your thoughts? Any other recommendations for where I should take the roast challenge to next? Or perhaps you’re a pub in Brighton & Hove who think they serve the best roast? I’d love to hear from you, please do tweet me or comment below.

Ooooh and also, please like my Facebook page if you want daily foodie and life updates from your’s truly.  Or if Facebook isn’t your bag I have an obsessively updated (in a good way) Instagram account as well thanks.



  1. November 22, 2014 / 2:17 pm

    JESUS! Those pipes haven't seen a cleaning product in a good year, or so! And what the actual F**K is growing down that plug hole?? I've never worked in a pub that has a 'staff' loo and would put money on it that this place isn't any different. I've got food poisoning just thinking about it.

    • November 22, 2014 / 11:10 pm

      Honestly Flo, it was an absolute horror show. Shame, cos I really like the actual pub itself. Absolute filth. I had a chat with the D.I.B. comms manager about it and he said that the manager (not the one who messaged me) is very upset about it and that he's pretty certain those loos will have been cleaned within an inch of their lives… let's hope so, eh!?!?

  2. November 24, 2014 / 10:21 am

    This is despicable; I'd contact Environmental health if I were you. It's a disgrace that anywhere would think it was acceptable to have toilets in this state! Utterly disgusting, I hope you wrote your thoughts on Trip Advisor too! x

    • November 24, 2014 / 10:28 am

      Honestly some of the worst I've seen- absolutely no excuses whatsoever!! I need to put it on TripAdvisor too, thanks for reminding me! x

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