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Review: The Crab & Lobster, Sidlesham

Set in the chocolate box pretty village of Sidlesham, near Chichester, this cosy pub with slick newly refurbed rooms packs a real foodie punch.

Theres no more smug feeling than discovering a seriously good gourmet boozer off the beaten track, and The Crab & Lobster in Pagham is just that. The epitome of a destination pub, it’s as attractive to look at outside as it is in, thanks to a recent top to top makeover.

Say hello to cosy corners and wood burning stoves with an upstairs showcasing stylish rooms with period features and high thread count linens. It’s got serious star quality too – recent diners include TV star Amanda Holden who had a long lunch with a gaggle of celebrity friends including actress Angela Griffin and TV chef Lisa Faulkner.


Hidden away on the edge of the village (enjoy the serious property porn on the drive down), The Crab & Lobster sits pretty on the edge of the banks of Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve. The pub is understated with chic grey paintwork and cute window boxes.


Inside the 350 year old pub is warm and stylish with a mix of open brickwork, slate floor and a muted palette of burnt orange and duck egg blue. There are several welcoming fires and the walls are decorated with coastal art from local artists. Outside there’s a small pretty courtyard with tables.


Where possible, the menu is sourced from local producers – Selsey fishermen and neighbouring dairy farmers and is adventurous without being pretentious.

We had to swerve the starters as we were, ahem, watching our waistlines, but should we have had space Miso Glazed Pork Belly with Steamed Clams, Bonito Flake and Seaweed Crumb sounded very appealing.

On the staff’s recommendation my husband plumped for the delicious Baked Crab Gratin with Garlic & Lemon Roasted New Potatoes, Tenderstem Broccoli, Fennel Marmalade & Salsa Verde. I was feeling fishy too (well, when in Rome), so opted for Pan Roasted Wild Sea Bass (above), with adorable Crab Bon Bons and Asparagus from nearby Almodington – it was exquisite and one of the prettiest plates of food I’ve ever seen.

Desserts were equally as good and I can never say no to the gooey gorgeousness of a Chocolate Fondant (below), this one was served with Caramelised Banana, Hazelnuts, Salted Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream. Sugar high here we come!

The fabulous wine list has delightfully wordy descriptions, with 17 classics by the glass to help you choose – some you will know and many lovely locals you’ve yet to discover.


There are four lovely rooms above the pub, all individual designed and recently renovated with stylish interiors and seriously comfy beds.


Kids are welcome and my son loved his ‘posh’ fish finger sandwich and the large selection of Caroline’s Ice Cream on offer (made literally round the corner).


Ten minutes drive from Chichester (voted our Best Place to Live in Sussex) there is plenty to explore in the city including the Pallant Gallery & Novium Museum. If you prefer outdoor pursuits head to the nearby Witterings for a bracing walk along the sea front to admire all the mega bucks beachfront properties springing up in-between the run down shacks.

The pub also owns a super cute beach hut called Beautiful Betty at West Wittering which is available to hire to guests staying at the pub or one of it’s sister pubs.


Good for: Fans of fine dining. If you like your pubs stylish yet unpretentious you’ll feel right at home. Ideal for special occasion meals, it’s popular so bookings are essential.

Not for: Due to the open kitchen dogs are not allowed inside, so leave Fido at home this time or book a table outside. Parking is also limited so expect to park on the street nearby.

The damage: High-end prices reflecting the excellent quality of the À la Carte menu, but there are more reasonable options and a set lunch available.

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