I’ve been to The Black Lion for a Sunday roast several times before – I first came here for a roast in 2014 – and always really enjoyed it. However, I hadn’t been for over a year, and not since Roasts in Brighton had started at the beginning of 2017, so felt that it made sense to revisit one of my old favourites.
The Black Lion is a cool pub on Black Lion Street, I’ve been here many times as it is a great pub to come for food during the week, or for drinks at any time during the week. It’s open late 7 days a week, until at least 1am, making it one of my favourite haunts for a late beer or two.
So as per usual, come Sunday, my girlfriend and I had decided on the Sunday roast venue beforehand and got there just after midday. There were already a handful of people there, both inside and in The Black Lion’s nice outside area.
The weather wasn’t great, but seeing as the outside seating covered, we decided to sit outside. It is quite dark inside at The Black Lion, which is a nice setting for some drinks and a laugh with your friends, but it might not have been bright enough to get a decent photo of their Sunday roast!
Not wanting to deviate from what we both know and love, my girlfriend and I went for the roast loin of pork (£13) and the roast strip loin of British Beef (£13.50). There are the other usual options available (lamb, chicken, and a vegetarian option – a goat’s cheese wellington), as well as some side dishes, including extra roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, cauliflower cheese, and extra Yorkshire puddings.
I think that we were the first people to order food, as it didn’t take long for it to arrive.
The beef was ok, it tasted good but it didn’t look to me like it had been roasted well. It was tender, but not particularly full of flavour, and I found myself using a lot of pepper to season it.
The pork came as three slices of bland, soft pork loin, not too dissimilar to what you might expect to find at a carvery. When most other pubs in Brighton are serving really nicely cooked slices of pork belly, it comes as a real disappointment to only be served a few slices of pork on your plate. The crackling was unremarkable.
The rest of the meal just felt a bit bland. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, persay, but it just wasn’t comparable to any, if all of the other Sunday roasts in Brighton that I’ve reviewed so far.
Roast potatoes were alright, they were crispy and fairly soft inside, with the exception of one that was a bit undercooked.
The honey-roasted parsnips and carrots didn’t have much flavour to them, and what was advertised on the menu as butternut squash puree was actually just mashed butternut squash. My serving still had a number of seeds in it that I picked out.
The broccoli was cooked nicely, and the green cabbage was average. There wasn’t much of either of them, it would’ve been nice to have more greens on the plate.
The Yorkshire pudding was good though, it was nice and light, crispy but soft inside.
Unfortunately, the gravy was really thin and watery, which meant that it had little taste to it.
I ate all of it, and as I said before, although there wasn’t really anything wrong with it, there didn’t feel like there was much right with it either.
We made the assumption that there must have been a new chef since our last visit, something which I have since learned to be true, so this would appear to explain the vast difference in the Sunday roast experience we had this time around.
When you consider that the prices we paid were on par, if not more, than other pubs we’ve visited and reviewed, it really makes for a lacklustre Sunday roast. Other pubs offer better Sunday roasts, that are cooked better, and are bigger, than The Black Lion.
This roast would probably pass as good, if not great in other places, but in Brighton, and with all of the other pubs offering Sunday roasts, and for the most part, really great roasts, it really falls short this time. Which is disappointing, because I really like this pub. I’d like to think this might be a one-off, but with some many other pubs still to try in Brighton and Hove, I can’t see myself opting to come back here for a Sunday roast any time soon.
Having said that, the staff were, and always are, very friendly and welcoming at The Black Lion, so the experience is always an enjoyable one, especially if you visit for drinks at the weekend.
Website – http://www.blacklion.pub
Phone Number – 01273 711 884
Address – 14 Black Lion St, Brighton BN1 1ND