A PUB that claims to have invented tartar sauce has been rated the best in the county.

The 600-year-old Griffin Inn in Fletching was recognised by the Good Pub Guide as Sussex’s best for food and “one of the very finest dining pubs across Great Britain”.

Its landlord, James Pullen, said: “I hate to sound conceited but this is long overdue.

“What we do here is completely unique.”

So is James. He talks about the pub at breakneck speed, says he is a former international chess master and polyglot and babbles in German, French and “un poco español”.

He said: “As you’ll see, I’m am interesting character: whether they love me or hate me, people always admit that.”

The pub has been in James’s family for 42 years and the menu changes daily.

On the blackboard today – James hollers for the chef and relays the menu back down the phone – “Scallops… squid with chilli aioli… fresh crab and samphire linguine… and we’ve picked the white meat out especially”.

James is particular about how the way his establishment is described.

He said: “I hate the term gastro pub. We’ve been going for hundreds of years – we were doing great food long before that term came about.

“You know a house tartar sauce? The one with gherkins and capers? We invented that.

“Everyone uses it now. It’s part of our beer-battered fish and chips, which really is the best in the country. We use fresh cod from Newhaven, not frozen stuff from Gravesend, a very light batter, and mushy peas with mint.

“And while you eat it, you’ll be looking out over the Sussex Serengeti.”

James explains this is the name given to the two acres of rolling countryside behind the pub.

“There’s not a building in sight from here to the South Downs,” he said.

“You can almost see the wildebeest bathing in the River Ouse.

“You’ve got to see it to believe it.

“And another thing: this is a remainer pub. No Brexiteers.”

James reveals he has begun post-departure contingency planning.

“We’ve been looking into a no-deal menu. It’ll have to be based around beans on toast and spam,” he said.

But for now, it seems there is no need for The Griffin to skimp on luxuries.

There’s a beach bar, wood ovens on the terrace, roaring log fires indoors, and a selection of 120 wines.

James said: “The way I describe this place is it’s as though you’ve died and gone to heaven – in the most quintessential English pub.”