A couple brought together by the chef and writer Rowley Leigh are to open a country farmhouse restaurant-with-rooms near Deal in Kent next month.
Updown Farm is a grade II-listed 17th-century farmhouse set in seven acres that has been refurbished in the past four years by Ruth Leigh – Rowley’s daughter – and Oliver Brown, who trained under Rowley at Le Café Anglais in Bayswater.
There will be seven bedrooms and a “hyper-seasonal Italian-leaning” menu using local produce, with open-fire cooking and a pergola and terrace for outdoor dining.
Brown said: “Updown Farm is a dream come true for Ruth and I. After the last few years working on the house, and hosting some of our favourite chefs and good friends at the farm, we can’t wait to have people here to stay, and get completely immersed in life here. Updown is a celebration of what the area has to offer – from some of the most beautiful fruit and veg from our neighbouring farms to wines from local vineyards. We have big plans for the Updown and hope to restore more of it in months to come – watch this space!”
While working at Le Café Anglais, Brown became fascinated by the Cantonese cooking found in neighbouring Bayswater establishments and went to work in Hong Kong, before returning to launch his own take on Cantonese food at Pop Brixton, called Duck Duck Goose.