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The Sportsman


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I tend to do the round trip from London. About an hour and a half each way for me. Or split it with someone.

Wish I could eat like this once a week

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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I tend to do the round trip from London. About an hour and a half each way for me. Or split it with someone.

Wish I could eat like this once a week

Your photos look great and I am going to get there before the year is out (if I had a boat it would be dead easy from us, just hop on at Mersea) as it seems an inspiring place for anyone into food and more.

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I was also there on Sunday + it really was a joy. Some things just didn't work for me (eg cockles with Campari) but having been a couple of times it is great that Stephen is confident we will take his more experimental dishes in the wider context. His home-churned butter still worth stabbing your dining companions for (the turbot sauce approx 80% butter, + as for the mussel + bacon chowder...) Warm chocolate mousse with salted caramel underneath, partridge pasties, rhubarb ice lolly with panettone 'milk'... I could go on but I am about to have a Sainsbury's-sourced sandwich for lunch + it's too dispiriting a contrast. I love The Sportsman. You owe it to yourselves to go!

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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Has anyone stayed at the Hotel Continental and can recommend it?

My husband lived there when he was a student in the 1970s, before Whitstable was gentrified - it was really grotty then, judging the photos. I gather it's quite smart now & it would be fun to book in if it's worth staying at.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I bet we're the only Michelin-starred venue to use paper napkins

Stephen Harris

http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/news_de...articleid=56032

The Sportsman is on my wish list since finding this thread and reading other articles.

The whole idea of serving quality food with such passion in a casual setting is something I wish we seen more of. At least in the states it seems seriously lacking.

Robert R

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Has anyone stayed at the Hotel Continental and can recommend it? 

My husband lived there when he was a student in the 1970s, before Whitstable was gentrified - it was really grotty then, judging the photos.  I gather it's quite smart now & it would be fun to book in if it's worth staying at.

Yep its lovely well was 3 years ago make sure you get a sea view room though

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  • 1 month later...

Made a relatively last minute decision to spend easter weekend in Whitstable. Unsurprisingly The Sportsman is fully booked for every service.

Any one else know of good places to eat in the area? Considering sister restaurant in canterbury but the people I'm going with think it might be too far to travel for dinner.

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Made a relatively last minute decision to spend easter weekend in Whitstable. Unsurprisingly The Sportsman is fully booked for every service.

Any one else know of good places to eat in the area? Considering sister restaurant in canterbury but the people I'm going with think it might be too far to travel for dinner.

Do try the Sportsman's sister The Granville at Lower Hardes (direction Hythe just outside Canterbury).

Maybe The Dove at Dargate?

You might care to try The Goods Shed in Canterbury for somewhere unusual, if not IMHO as good as it was soon after opening - but good shopping too.

There's Read's at Faversham...

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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in faversham across the road from the station there is

http://www.railwayhotelfaversham.co.uk/index.htm

i can't vouch for the food, as i haven't eaten there but i seem to remember that Jay rayner wrote it up and the menu looked quite intriguing.

I can vouch that the beer works though, we had a little interlude there after a very pleasant lunch at the sportsman a few weeks ago.

you don't win friends with salad

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Made a relatively last minute decision to spend easter weekend in Whitstable. Unsurprisingly The Sportsman is fully booked for every service.

...

Should have mentioned earlier that I believe 'ordinary' weekends are fully booked for about a month ahead...

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Went to the Dove in the end. Thanks for the recommendation. Had a good meal but nothing ground breaking. Worth popping in if your in the area. The only real issue was the wine list. I guess Shepherd Neame don't give their chefs/landlords much of a say over it?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Our third and best meal to date at the Sportsman. We had the tasting menu though Stephen Harris kindly made a few adjustments on Rachel's menu to help her avoid bivalves!

I’m sure I can’t remember it all but needless to say it was all pretty stunning and I think I’ll be hard pressed to have a better meal in the UK this year.

We started with a selection of nibbles including a lovely angels on horseback and some smoked herring roe. However both were surpassed by the superb pork scratchings, warm, crisp but with a slightly soft centre at the same time.

I think most dishes have been commented on previously, the Mussel and bacon chowder holding thick slices of bacon and a generous handful of tender mussels. Beautiful. As a substitute Rachel had pickled herring cabbage and apple juice which wouldn’t be out of place on the tasting menu in future.

The ham seems to taste better every time I have tried it, more interesting layers of flavour this time distinctly apples at one point. The Tartare of sea bass was quite outstanding ,the layers of flavour including good salt and acidity and a soya foam that actually tasted of something and subsequently served a purpose other than looking pretty. A super dish with excellent balance. This dish was a prelude to the main event. The Steamed seabass with the smoked herring roe sauce. Oh Joy, what a dish, in an age where saucing seems to have taken a back seat this was an absolute delight, a big plate of sauce topped with perfectly steamed seabass and lovely sweet asparagus. Slightly smokey, buttery and with a slight sweetness/acidity (?). An absolute star dish that really wouldn’t seem out of place in a two or maybe even a three star restaurant, again, excellent balance to the dish which I ended up mopping of the plate with the last of the bread and finally resorted to using my fingers to wipe up the last remnants. Although I describe it as buttry it seems the dairy content I've since found out comes from creme fraiche.

Before our lamb dish Stephen brought us some lamb belly goujons and a mint dipping sauce, well after these I’m thinking that maybe they should do a miniature bar menu, with the likes of this, the angels on horseback, the ham, the potted crab, the scratchings, I can see myself now sitting there pint in hand marvelling at the gourmet versions of classic food that I was nibbling whilst watching Man Utd beat Chelsea to win the title.

Milk-fed Monkshill lamb was a chop and a slice of melting shoulder, again the quality of the ingredients playing a pivotal role.

Warm chocolate mousse and milk sorbet was heavy looking but surprisingly light with a delicious layer of salt caramel at the bottom. There was also cake milk with a rhubarb ice lolly and I forget the other dessert. Petit fours to finish included a miniature version of the gypsy tart which was a relief as I thought I was going to have to order an extra dessert.

Absolutely deserving of its star with elements of the meal (the sea bass in particular) well in two star territory. as an added bonus I didn’t have to drive home or fall asleep on the train afterwards, what more can a man want?!

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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  • 1 month later...

Had our first trip to the Sportsman a week ago: it won’t be the last. I loved the bread and the homemade butter, though didn’t think they actually went together. The onion bread was fabulous but didn’t need any other fat, and the rye bread was too strong in flavour to let the butter sing through. I shared the antipasti platter – a lovely selection of salads, and pickled things. The smoked eel, and pickled herrings were similarly simple and very good. The mains courses were all excellently cooked. I had the roast rib of beef, which was served with the best Yorkshire pudding ever – light and crisp. I had thought my mother’s Yorkshires could not be surpassed – but sorry Mum… The meat was superb – tender and very full-flavoured. The roast potatoes were also the best – perfectly golden. The starters and mains were all extremely good, solid, but basically quite simple classic British cooking, using top-quality ingredients.

The puddings however were fancier, and more modish – except the excellent rhubarb crumble. I had the blood orange lolly with cake milk, sloe gin foam, and junket topped with red fruit and breakfast cereal. I’ve moaned on this board before about how ‘claggy’ I find most high-end puddings are these days. Too many of them, I find, are creamy, with golden flavours, and not enough fruitiness to counteract the creaminess, and there aren’t enough different types of pudding – they are all creamy. Well this was a modish pudding that was extremely well balanced, with a good contrast of tastes and textures. This was the star of the meal for me, but I enjoyed everything thoroughly. The hot chocolate mousse with ice cream and caramel defeated my small son – so I had to help out, and by gosh, that was good too. We topped this off with a walk along the sea wall, in warm sunshine – smashing.

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We're off to Margate this weekend and wanted lunch at the Sportsman on the way... poor naive fools you do of course have to book 5 weeks in advance for a weekend lunch.

So any other suggestions? Is the Granville still owned by Stephen Harris? Funnily enough there's no link form the Sportsman web site.

Presumably Wheelers will be booked up. Is the Oyster Factory bookable? Or should we decamp to Canterbury?

Ta v. much.

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We're off to Margate this weekend and wanted lunch at the Sportsman on the way... poor naive fools you do of course have to book 5 weeks in advance for a weekend lunch.

So any other suggestions?  Is the Granville still owned by Stephen Harris?  Funnily enough there's no link form the Sportsman web site.

Presumably Wheelers will be booked up.  Is the Oyster Factory bookable?  Or should we decamp to Canterbury?

Ta v. much.

The Granville was very pleasant for an unplanned snack just before Saturday lunchtime last food orders, (2pm) this past weekend. Not full, just busy. Tables in the garden extend the capacity. Seriously bloody good asparagus risotto, by the way.

AFAIK The Granville is/was a Harris family venture. I didn't ask but it seems that Stephen Harris's brother Phil might have returned to Seasalter, leaving The Granville in the hands of sister Gabrielle. Lots of familiar dishes on the menu.

For really good food, (and affordability too), you shouldn't be disappointed.

If you don't know The Granville, its a couple of miles outside the City of Canterbury (its actually right on the road to Hythe). Rather than come off the A2 and slog through Canterbury (the A2 exits are an oddly incomplete set), you might think of coming off at Bridge and navigating through the lanes to the pub. Head straight in to Canterbury to pick up the Canterbury/Margate road.

On the other hand, if you know The Granville and are looking to explore pastures new, you might try The Goods Shed in Canterbury - its interesting all right, but, IMHO not as good, and not as good value, as in its early days a few years back.

The Dove at Dargate is much closer to the Thanet Way, but while a nice country pub that does good food, it ain't as special as The Granville.

The Dog (at Wingham) ought to be good, but for me personally, too many combinations just simply didn't work properly. The Razor Clams in my starter were about the most positively memorable aspect. I haven't rushed back, but it might possibly appeal to a more metropolitan palate! (And wallet!)

My suggestion: book for The Granville to make sure.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Lots of restaurants in Deal, none, AFAIK, remotely in the Sportsman/Granville league. Tell me what you find!

The Bluebird is a lovely little tearoom (in the old Coastguard building) close by the Dover Patrol memorial atop the cliffs at St Margrets. Should be a vigorous walk along the clifftops from the Walmer end (or drive round). Just beware the odd opening hours!

The Coastguard (pub at the bottom of the cliff at St Margrets) has done decent fish (but think more of chips rather than sous-vide in a nage of mussel broth, etc). Spotted a local paper advert for lots of staff vacancies there recently, dunno why. But for fish & chips the standout has to be The Pilot - all the way along at Dungeness (strangely bringing to mind photos of Scott's Antarctic hut...)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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  • 1 month later...

Has anyone got any rec's for in or near to Margate for lunch this coming Saturday. Going to the Sportsman the following Saturday so would be good to go somewhere different. While we're on the subject has anyone got any rec's on what to have at the Sportsman (I understand they don't do the tasting menu at weekends?) :sad:

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Has anyone got any rec's for in or near to Margate for lunch this coming Saturday. Going to the Sportsman the following Saturday so would be good to go somewhere different. While we're on the subject has anyone got any rec's on what to have at the Sportsman (I understand they don't do the tasting menu at weekends?)  :sad:

On the way to Margate we had a nice lunch at the Oyster Company in Whitstable.

On the way from Margate to Walmer Castle we had a nice lunch in Broadstairs:

The Bayside Brasserie.

Margate has ... errm... some fish and chip shops.

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