Harden's survey result
“From the outside, it really is a scruffy, rundown-looking pub in a bleak landscape” (“with views over fields – the sea is out over the back”), but “it’s worth the long haul to find Stephen Harris’s uninviting-looking old place as it offers inspiring cuisine” that many consider “the best ‘pub’ food in the UK”. “The decor has been tidied up a bit recently, but happily not enough to jeopardise its second most attractive feature: it is unforgettably ordinary! That there’s zero pretension contrasts spectacularly with the peerless kitchen”. “The culinary approach is not fussy or arty but the straightforward route produces something sublime (dab and smear practitioners take note!)”: “simple, unpretentious and fantastically flavoursome” dishes using “good local produce (including lamb)” and with “fish cooking a highlight, as are the oysters, both natives and poached rocks”. “The tasting menu is a real ‘tour de force’” with “every dish spot-on” (you have to order it in advance, but there’s now also a shorter one you can have on the day). “Good wine too at even better prices”. “Everything just seems to work together perfectly”.
“If you want to discover what fine food is all about without the flummery head here!” Stephen Harris’s famous seaside boozer on the marshes near Whitstable “is a surprise, as it looks scruffy, and the view from the back is of caravans and traffic cones”. But “it represents a somewhat magical and cherished escape to discover this remote yet first-class place, characterised by its modestness and very down-to-earth yet dedicated staff”. Key to the experience is the “out-of-this-world” food (from either the à la carte or tasting menu), “unfussily, yet superbly executed using fresh local produce” and its twinned with a wine list which, though less earth-shattering, represents “stunningly good value”. And while it looks “very unprepossessing” outside, the dining room is beautifully “light and airy”. “Fingers crossed they don’t wreck it by expanding the building”. Top Menu Tip – “the best ever homemade bread and butter” and “outstanding slip soles”.
“From the outside you would think you had arrived at a run down pub”, but Stephen Harris’s legendary, if “shabby looking” coastal tavern – “on the North Kent marshes near Whitstable” – is nigh on “the perfect pub”. Few establishments can match its consistency – “they get it spot on, every time, all of the time” – be it the “chilled-out” atmosphere; the utterly “charming” service; or his “inspired”, “honest”, “strongly-flavoured” cooking – most particularly “out-of-this-world fish dishes”. “Go – just go!” Top Menu Tips – “magnificent native oysters” and his “pitch-perfect slip sole with seaweed butter: the most delicious fish dish ever… and he makes his own butter!”
“The shabbinness, isolation and beautiful remoteness on the windswept north Kent cost are all part of the charm” of this “phenomenal” coastal pub, whose “unassuming style” (the harsh would say it looks “like a Harvester next to a caravan park”) gives no hint that it is one of the UK’s most popular gastronomic destinations. Owner, Stephen Harris, takes local produce, and creates “exciting”, “pitch-perfect” dishes (most notably on the 12-course tasting menu). “The fine food, the sea air and the scenery all justify the long trip – it’s like a day’s holiday.” Top Menu Tips – “to-die-for slip soles, and lamb cooked to pink perfection”.
The Sportsman Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Still worth the advance planning required to book a table.Rarely put a foot wrong and to sample Stephen Harris's peerless slow cooked belly pork again was a recent treat as was the hake fillet.Inspired desserts are a must even at lunch."
"Fish very good. Meat not. Service was poor - forgotten orders, didn’t know Rioja could be white: no cutlery. Nice art On walls and relaxed but not a destination place."
"Outstanding as usual!"
"The best gastropub we visit. Tasting menu is a real "tour de force". Everything just seems to work together perfectly."
Faversham Road, Seasalter, CT5 4BP
Tuesday to Saturday, 12:00-14:00 and 19:00-21:00 and Sunday 12:30-14:45
Last orders: Mon closed, Tue - Sat 9 pm, Sun 2.45 pm