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Marquis @ Alkham (Dover)

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5 replies to this topic

#1 Harters

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 12:34 PM

The website of the Marquis tells that Charlie Lakin was sous chef at the Star and, later, head chef at the Feversham Arms.

Question. Is he good enough to make the Marquis worth a punt? Or should I stick with the GFG listed nearby Wallet's Court?
John Hartley

#2 dougal

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 07:58 AM

Dunno. (Yet!)

Wallets Court has struck me as being more about service, ambiance, etc rather than special food.

My suggestion for extraordinary value is still The Granville at Lower Hardres (behind Bridge). Its in The Sportsman's family. No tasting menu, otherwise very comparable - but much easier to get into! http://www.shepherd-...ille_canterbury
The Fitzwalter Arms at Goodnestone has become a metaphorical member of The Sportsman's extended family. http://www.thefitzwa...o.uk/about.html

Neither are far off the A2.
Both should be worth your while.
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#3 Harters

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 09:16 AM

I'll get the TomTom out. It's a long drive from the northwest and, in truth, I don't want to add too much more time behind the wheel once we've got to Dover.

John Hartley

#4 Harters

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 02:09 AM

Well, in the end we went to the Marquis and throughly enjoyed the food. It was a good start to our week in Belgium & France (I'll be adding a Calais lunch recommendation to the France sub-forum a bit later)

It’s a converted village pub, found only by going up the sort of roads you read about in the newspapers where sat. navs. have taken someone and you hope no-one is coming the other way. All trace, internally, of its former use gone, the decoration is all stripped woodwork and modern artwork on the walls. It looks good.

Some canapés came with drinks – good olives, a nice fish cake and a carrot and curry cream on a cracker.

There are two fixed price menus. One is priced at £17.95 for three courses and offers three choices at each course. The other, bewilderingly called the “a la carte” offers five or six choices and is double the price.

My partner went with the cheaper menu and started with mackerel fillet which had a perfectly crispy skin, couscous and grilled red pepper. Delicious! The main was a very good sole fillet topped with cockles, mussels and samphire. It sat on a bed of crushed Jersey Royals. She finished with a vanilla pannacotta.

Meanwhile, I’d gone for the more expensive men. A starter of slices of crispy pigs trotter, stuffed with ham hock, and topped with fried quails eggs. It came with a pungent piccalilli. This was bang on for porky flavour – I liked it a lot. The main was duck breast. It came pretty much fully cooked through but was still tender. Also on the plate, some baby turnips, choucroute and mash. I liked the earthy flavours going on here, but felt it was perhaps more of an autumn dish than spring. Dessert was a chocolate and pistachio brownie with a chocolate tortellini. The latter a clever concoction – white chocolate mousse surrounded by a tortellini shaped strip of dark chocolate. Some passion fruit sauce finished off a very good pud.

All in all, this was a meal of really enjoyable food. However the experience was let down by service. Or lack of it. There were three staff. Two efficient and getting on with the job. The third – the one with the pad – flitting about from one task to another without completing anything. Needless to say, we drew the short straw. There had been delays at every stage, upping the “irritation stakes” from “mildly peeved” to “getting really pissed off”. We’d waited too long for a drinks order to be taken, for menus to come, for each course to arrive; for the dessert to be delivered (having asked for it twice); for us to be asked if coffee was wanted – by then, it wasn’t.

The wine list had no half bottles but there were a number of wines by the glass, including several from Kent vineyards. Food and drink came to £91 which was very very reasonable.
John Hartley

#5 malcolmwilliamson

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 06:36 AM

In my continuing quest to track down the best QPR lunch menus in England I ate at the Marquis at Alkham mid week.

The Hotel/Restaurant is situated in the picturesque Alkham valley. The restaurant design is modern with the benefit of natural light. The welcome was warm and friendly; service was attentive and efficient throughout.

The best feature of the Marquis is its food. The table d’hote lunch menu,19.50GBP for 3 courses, offers 4 or more choices per course. For me the problem was what not to choose. The cooking and presentation were of high quality. For a benchmark I lunched at Michelin starred Simpsons in Birmingham last week. I felt the food quality here was as good.

Their wine list exceeds a hundred bins with over twenty available by the glass or half bottle carafe. Mark ups on the wines I recognised were very reasonable. Local ales also feature.

I'm envious of the fact that when we lived in East Kent we had to cross the Channel for a good restaurant meal. The Marquis would provide a worthy stop off or overnight stay (although I can't vouch for the Hotel side of the business) for anyone crossing to or from France.

#6 Harters

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 02:21 PM

We were back at the Marquis last week - now a Michelin rising star for two years. You'll see from my above comments that the food was good but the experience was let down by poor service. Absolutely nothing has changed.

We decided to take the tasting menu. It was a decision we’d later regret.

Things kicked off with a couple of canapés. A little pate which was so-so. A carrot cream, with a delicate curry flavour on a crispy biscuit. A selection of good bread came – particularly nice was a caramelised onion one. We had some left to have with the courgette and rosemary soup that was the start of the menu proper. The soup had a real depth of flavour - unfortunately not a pleasant one. The rosemary made the whole dish very bitter – best described as similar to dissolving a paracetamol on your tongue. The onion bread did something to take the taste away but this was not nice. Not nice at all. But it was the only duffer.

Next up, organic salmon marinated in beetroot juice – sweet, earthy and fishy all at the same time. Soused baby beetroot and a set cauliflower cream added further layers of flavour. This was lovely.

Guinea fowl breast had been smoked in the car park that afternoon. It was delicious – light and delicate but with a distinctive smokiness. To contrast, there was a rich galantine of the leg and foie gras and a well rounded, sweet plum chutney.

Then a fish course of roast cod with scallops and girolles. This was fab. Perfect cod – perhaps the crispiest skin I’ve ever eaten.

The final savoury course brought a fillet of local Dexter beef. Full of flavour and accompanied by a heart-stoppingly rich saladaise potato and a watercress and shallot puree to cut through.

The pre-dessert was a runaway success – blood orange posset with an interesting touch of star anise. Dessert proper was also the only proper sized dish. A soft and light banana soufflé came with ice-cream flavoured with tonka beans - something that Google tells me is technically illegal in America. Ahha – something interesting, with taste, is illegal in America. Blimey, that’s a surprise.

So, back to the service. Well, it really just killed off any enjoyment for us. Twenty minute gaps between a plate being removed and the next course being delivered is far too long. Not only do you run the risk of running out of conversation with your partner (except for the muttering about “where’s the food) but, having only eaten a few slivers of food for the first two hours, you’ll be bloody starving. Michelin rising star or no, we’ll not be in a rush to return.
John Hartley