I’m amazed I haven’t reviewed this place yet. I did some time ago on tripadvisor https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g658255-d3196479-r210306261-The_Sun-Carshalton_Surrey_England.html#REVIEWS but I think it’s worth updating that review and re-emphasising my admiration for a great pub.
The Sun has played an important role in my life. It’s been something of a constant in my drinking life in that it’s one of the places I grew up and learned to drink, that I still return to. Some places closed, some changed, and obviously I’ve moved around and changed a bit, but somehow I’ve managed to keep up semi regular attendance at the Sun since 1996 or so.
A few examples:
• I left the Sun at approx. 2 AM one St Pats. I had to be on a trading floor at 0730 that morning. I made it.
• At least 2 birthday drinks
• Winning money on darts then giving it back when the guy was deeply annoyed at my obviously staged improved performance.
• Constant lockins, back when lockins were “a thing”
• My first shift behind a bar
• Best rugby match I’ve ever watched on TV (Munster v Wasps Heineken Semi Final)
• Some important things that will remain private
• 2 Wedding Parties
The Sun has changed just as I have. From deeply dodgy Sth London Boozer which was a constant challenge to the Met to something of an Irish accented rugby community, back to a dodgy boozer and now what it’s been for years. Possibly the perfect example of a suburban community pub, that happens to serve great restaurant food.
The Sun remains a pub. They have a lot of beer, and it’s very well kept. There is always at least 3, normally 4 real ales on hand pump, plenty of craft on keg and in cans / bottles and all the usuals. I was mildly surprised but really happy to find the governors take their younger staff on brewery tours so they can better understand the core product. The Guinness is still excellent. The couple that owns the place are experienced in the trade and know that a pub lives or dies on the quality of its beer and welcome. They do both brilliantly. I’ve got a lot of time for Jo the manageress. One of the best publicans I’ve met.
Whilst food is clearly important to the Sun – and they do it very well, more of which later – this is not a restaurant in pub’s clothing. You can come in, grab a table and just drink and keep drinking. Because it’s a pub. They’ve kept the Victorian pub vibe and some of the wood and glass that I remember, but there’s been a fair amount of remodelling since I was a kid to make the interior more practical. It’s just one big space now with 3 separate areas that facilitates a kid friendly area for food (including board games etc), drinking only and a mix of food and drink for adults.
There’s a great outside area of patio and garden, where I believe there’s a wood fired pizza oven that we always seem to miss. It’s a very pleasant place to be through spring / summer / autumn. It’s not just for smokers but provides a different option and vibe, whether you’re eating or drinking – and it takes the pressure off the not massive interior. Make no mistake this place is popular, they need that extra space.
The food is probably the best you can get in Carshalton. Whilst there’s a lot of good pub classics, there’s clearly ability in the kitchen, which is often best shown by fairly intricate starters, such as homemade lamb koftas that have great subtle spicing with a perfect Greek salad on the side to cut the richness of the meat. Alongside the bangers and mash and exceptionally tasty burger, there’s serious restaurant food. There’s been a trend for multiple things with one animal eg roast partridge (in season) served with a conft leg that was breadcrumbed and deep fried. Kentucky Fried Partridge. One of the best things I’ve eaten in the last 5 years, including at Michelin starred places. This theme was repeated later in the year by roast pork belly / crackling with a pulled port scotch egg with runny yoke.
My mouth is watering at the memory of an impromptu day off with Kirsty and the kids where we went to the sun for lunch, I had the double pork dish and was VERY happy.
Finally there’s the function room. Often they’re sad corners / sheds that bring in a bit of extra income. At the Sun, it’s a very special space that has been thoughtfully designed. Funky and modern but not jarringly so, it feels like a boutique hotel’s sitting room.
Kirsty and I had our belated family wedding party there and then again for our friends. It’s a wonderful space, unique in the area. Good for 40 people for relaxed buffet, or 20 for formal it’s a very attractively designed long room, with its own balcony. The natural ambiance creates a relaxed atmosphere which is complemented by really friendly and smart staff who were a great addition to the party.
Then there’s the food. Unlike other places, you get to work with the kitchen to create what you want, not what they want to give you. We decided on a Caribbean theme as we ran off to Barbados to get married. The kitchen responded with an intelligent and subtle understanding of spicing that was big on flavour but not burn your face of jerk. Pulled pork, salt fish, spicy and mango prawns were all great. The rum punch was as good as we got in Barbados. There were kids at our party who were well catered for with a special kids menu and lots of games and toys in the room. They loved the balcony as well. Basically if you’re in the market for a private party in the Sutton / Croydon area, I can’t think of anywhere better. As I say, it was so good, we did it twice.
So to conclude:
• Attractive place
• Smart, friendly, knowledgeable staff
• If you want to drink, it’s a pub
• If you want to eat, the food is outstanding
Guess where I’m going on Saturday when a mate visits?