The Mermaid Inn is a wonderful medieval half timbered inn with sloping ceilings, creaky floorboards and a history that involves smuggling, Catholic priests, secret tunnels,royal visits by both Queen Elizabeth 1 and the Queen Mother and the inn is said to be haunted by ghosts.
On a day trip from London, having walked around the cobbled streets and narrow lanes, I wanted to sample the famous Rye Bay scallops as there was a Scallop Festival taking place and this was the last weekend.
I ate in Dr Syn’s lounge, sitting on the leather chesterfield sofa, opposite an ornate mirror that showed the reflections of the outside of Mermaid Street. From the special Festival menu I had scallops with Caramelised Apple, Black Pudding, Smoked Scallop Roe, Celeriac and Cider for a main course of £16.00. Beautifully presented, the scallops were plump and delicious, and I thought the black pudding and celeriac and cider enhanced the flavour of the sea with earthy, smoky contrasts.
Dessert was a fine creme brulee with gingerbread finger biscuits, perfect for snapping and scooping up the creamy rich goodness.
I would love to return and stay for the weekend in this lovely inn, and explore its many attractions. Although I managed to explore a lot of the town, and visited Lamb House as I have read a lot of Henry James and E Benson, and I enjoyed walking around on the cobbled, narrow streets taking in the distinct architecture of this fine Cinque Port.