I found myself in Eastbourne, in the depths of the pandemic, trawling through the ever-useful Happy Cow app for a place to get a good vegan meal.
Even in desperate times, I’d rather plump for a bag of ready salted and a satsuma to keep myself fuelled than give my money to a restaurant with a token plant-based meal on the menu or – even worse – one with “vegan options available, just ask” in small letters.
And on this rainy October night, the choices were looking sparse. Top of the list was the Crown and Anchor, a pub on the seafront. It was local, the reviews were great, and the separate vegan menu including five desserts clinched it.
We booked – as makes sense in these crazy times – and scored the catbird seat, tucked in beside an open fire. From seven main-course meals, I went for sausage and mash, and my companion had the Beyond Meat burger. Mine was superb, and, equally important to me, plentiful. Same goes for the burger; there were even enough chips for me to pinch one or two.
Stuffed as I was, the desserts kept calling me. We had the apple pie and ice cream and the Biscoff cheesecake between us. Both were delightful, with the apple pie being a real highlight for me. A cold vegan Bailey’s Irish coffee was a significant temptation for me, but I resisted. Next time.
The service was excellent and atmosphere welcoming, if coloured by the weirdness of these strange days we’re in. We crowned the evening with a postprandial stroll along the glorious pebble beach a stone’s throw away from the pub.