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Restaurant of the month: The Mark Cross

Restaurant of the month: The Mark Cross

Restaurant of the month: The Mark Cross

The Mark Cross Inn

Mark Cross

Nr Crowborough

East Sussex


Tel: 01892 852423

Take a serene saunter through the heart of the East Sussex countryside – just don’t forget to pop in for a pint at the Mark Cross Inn along the way! The fourth notch on the Whiting & Hammond belt was added in September 2006, when they purchased the lease of this extraordinary pub near Tunbridge Wells.

Whiting & Hammond were drawn to this new location by the view; the rolling hills and luscious greenery of the Sussex landscape would be a key factor in drawing in customers who love nothing more than an ice-cold cider on a warm summer’s day in their local pub garden. Once again, wanting to get the most out of this new development before it opened, Whiting & Hammond immediately shut down the pub for an intensive 12 week renovation, which included a substantially enlarged kitchen, as well as the installation of brand new toilets.

The Whiting & Hammond formula that had served so well up until now naturally went down a storm. What’s more, it became even more effective in the summer months, with families being able to enjoy wholesome dishes in the radiant British sunshine of the garden and patio dining areas.

Inside, more was made of the space. Much like the Little Brown Jug, the open plan design was hugely beneficial, allowing more creative use with the pub’s interior. So, customers popping by for a cheeky half or settling in for a full-blown three course meal would be happy, there is a lively bar to prop up, as well as more intimate, secluded dining areas for those special occasions with nearest and dearest.

On that note, the Mark Cross has become a favourite among Whiting & Hammond aficionados, not least because of its charming staff and impeccable customer service. It has been recognised as the South East Food Pub of the Year and a finalist for Food Pub of the Year at the Morning Advertiser Great British Pub Awards, as well as winning Customer Service Pub of the Year and reaching the finals of the Sunday Lunch Pub of the Year category at the Publican Food and Drink Awards. Furthermore, it also reached the finals in three different areas of the 2010 Publican Food and Drink Awards, namely Customer Service Pub of the Year, Barman of the Year for Paul Rosser and British Food Pub of the Year.

The beauty of a pub like the Mark Cross is that every customer who comes in has their own personal story, memory or anecdote about it, which is hugely important to Whiting & Hammond – listening to people’s personal experiences through time helps create the pub’s own unique history. The Mark Cross was ravaged by an unfortunate fire last year, but has now been lovingly brought back to life.

Love British Food met with General Manager Michelle Fairless to talk more about The Mark Cross.

Why do you do what you do?

I've worked my way up through the ranks!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Definitely the social aspect, working with great people and meeting lovely customers.

What do you enjoy the least about your job?

Having to work all hours and Christmas Day!

What achievement for the restaurant are you most proud of?

After the fire last year, I'm really proud to see it rise from the ashes and stand proud looking even better than it had before.  We've got a great team.

Do you use British produce?

Absolutely, some of our meat even comes from the field next door!

What do you think is best about using British produce?

Our menus are tailored around what's in season and what's fresh so you can guarantee the dishes on our menu are as delicious as can be. ie. you will not find asparagus on the menu in the winter!

Why should people buy British?

Support your local farmers, it's a tough job!

What is your most popular dish?

We recently did a Yorkshire Pudding Wrap which went viral and people travelled from all over just to try it!

Facebook: @TheMarkCrossInn

Twitter: @themarkcross