The Skylark Story – a must visit restaurant in Eastbourne

Written with the help of Erina Howard-Graham's storytelling

If you are staying at Port Hotel in Eastbourne, make sure you head to Skylark. A cafe and restaurant which celebrates the very best of Sussex.

On Grove Road in the Little Chelsea District is Skylark. This award-winning cafe and restaurant is unique for its dedication to serving local produce. Owned by Erina Howard-Graham and her partner Craig Fletcher, the pair opened this independant eatery in January 2018. Their aim was to showcase the high quality produce that Sussex has to offer. 

Skylark is a gorgeous casual space to catch up with friends over a cup of specialty coffee and homemade cake in the daytime. By night, Thurs-Sat, it transforms into a candlelit restaurant. They serve locally-sourced steaks and fresh fish, alongside wine and handcrafted cocktails for an intimate and exclusive experience. The idea for this business stemmed from the recognition that Eastbourne needed more independent and interesting places to eat. Erina and Craig had worked together on various hospitality jobs, but after they came back from travelling, they decided to finally create something for them which reflected their passion for local food and drink. 

The menu boasts simplicity to ensure the focus is on quality, fresh ingredients.

The result is honest, healthy, and colourful dishes, which are created by Craig Fletcher and his talented team. They have modern European influences with some classical cooking. Because everything is made from scratch, customers are guaranteed flavoursome and real food. The benefit of cooking from scratch also ensures an inclusive menu, so that all dietary requirements can be catered for. 

Among popular morning dishes are the Full English (£11.50) with award-winning handmade sausages from Deans Butchers (a Grove Road neighbour). Another popular choice is the smashed avocado and soft poached eggs (£9) on sourdough from Poppyseed Bakery. Fresh fish is very popular with regulars and tourists alike. It comes to the restaurant daily straight from the fishmonger, who contacts Craig daily with his specials and information on their daily catch. Skylark currently uses Southern Head Fishing and MCB Seafoods, J. Heaths and Sons butchers and Dean Butchers, Poppyseed bakery, and Northiam Dairy amongst their long list of suppliers. In the Autumn-Winter, game appears on the menu, indicating how they adjust the dish options to match the season. 

Skylark also sources their wines from local vineyards. Hidden Spring, Court Garden, Bolney and Rathfinny are supported by Skylark to raise awareness of the delights of English wines. They recently had an evening of wine pairing with Hidden Spring, encouraging communal learning, eating and drinking. Further ‘meet the supplier’ nights could be on the cards and may be a future endeavour to look out for…

What makes Skylark truly special is the passion of the staff. Passion which transpires into and is reflected by the loyalty and support of their customers.

Expect immaculate service from waitresses and bar staff who genuinely care about good hospitality and a great knowledge of the dishes. They are what makes the old man return every morning for his Americano to accompany his newspaper reading. Smiles and laughs are shared between staff and customers when you introduce friends to Skylark for olives and a bottle of English wine to share. It is a space to feel familiar, even if you are only visiting for one night.  @skylarkeastbourne

A stylish stay embracing the Eastbourne coastline at Port Hotel

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