Set in a quiet little nook of Sussex in East Chiltington, Lewes, The Jolly Sportsman has always boasted pretty decent feedback and received two AA rosettes along with recommendations in the Michelin and Good Food Guides. It's a lovely big pub, painted in a perfect shade of grey and they have hit that sweet balance of modernisation whilst retaining the comforting feel any pub should have. The bar area is small but this is the result of punters being drawn to the food I imagine.
And although they obviously have a car park, I thoroughly recommend working up an appetite with a walk. Following some darn good Twitter advice, I parked the car near Lewes Prison (safe!) and found the footpath that leads up to Blackcap Hill. Then through dappled light forest all the way back down the hill all the way to the village. It's a decent 1 hour 45 minute yomp, but it's a lovely way to get there (apart from being chased by a cow and a call for AA car rescue - another story and both separate incidents).
Admittedly this feels more restaurant than pub, which to me isn't a problem. There's a quirky red room with raffia lighting, or a smart dining area. The outside is just glorious though, beautifully planted with sheltered tables set far enough away from one another to discuss your juiciest gossip without fear of eavesdropping.
There is a fixed lunch menu at £15.90 and £18.90 for a 2 or 3 course respectively, but we were going whole hog with the a la carte. As you'd expect from any gastro pub (do we still call them these??) the menu is peppered with our sensational Sussex produce.