Saturday, September 20, 2008

Grubby Thoughts

During my assignation with one of our lovely local authors earlier this week, the discussion turned to the woeful lack of fine dining hereabouts. Of course, it would be great if the island's papers carried restaurant reviews. But you could be certain that the first mention of a dodgy prawn at a Thorley establishment would see their advertising revenue going down the gurgler along with everything else. So that's out of the question.

There are some excellent eateries - the Indian Princess in Margate springs to mind, or the relatively recent Age and Sons in Charlotte Court here in the Millionaires' Playground. But how do you tell the perfectly matured fillet of beef from the Turkey Twizzler if you've never been before?

That's why, as a service to my fellow Thanetian gourmets, I'm offering you the chance to put your restaurant reviews here on the island's premier blog. And if you can give the place a knife and fork rating out of five, I can begin to build the ECR Guide To Good Food In Thanet. So, whether it be a simple pub meal, a great curry, perfect fish and chips, or the dining experience to die for (from E. Coli or not as the case may be), send your reviews to


Peter Checksfield said...

I like the cafe on the cliff top promenade at Ramsgate's Westcliff (can't remember what it's called). Often when I'm out cycling (particularly in colder weather) I stop for a large slice of apple pie & custard with a large mug of tea!

Anonymous said...

The Torrendeos tapas bar attached to the Neptunes Hall in Broadstairs is good value and quite tasty, with draught Masterbrew available from the bar

Bon Appetite in Ramsgate was awful the night I went, we ordered a cammenbert cheese dish which came in its wooden box , nothing particularly wrong there, except it had Tesco's stamped on the bottom . Not fine dining and not cheap

Anonymous said...

The No 6 Brasserie in Margate Old Town area looks good but have not been there yet. Its more pricey than some other places I have seen but lets face it there aren't a lot of classy establishments hereabouts so a welcome to them!

Anonymous said...

Nothing to beat Petes fish in Ramsgate for a family outing, have to make sure your bottom fits in the seats though - not an easy feat for many who eat fish and chips on a regular basis!
Luckily we fit as a family with one exception as we dont eat them regularly.Followed by ice cream at Pelosis.
Cliftonville way there is Batcelors - good pasteries and lovely quiches, you wont ever make a quiche after eating one of theirs.Forgot to say Florentines and fruit tarts also their speciality

Michael Child said...

My favourite local restaurant is Osteria Posillipo Pizzeria in Broadstairs, this is one you need to book in advance especially in the summer if you want a table outside. Usually ringing them up a couple of hours in advance is sufficient click here for their website

Peter it’s called the Lookout CafĂ©, very good value and good quality too.

Anonymous said...

I agree about the Indian Princess not a chicken Korma insight really good.

Batchelors as 1.22pm suggested very good also worth going to for the perfect 1950s East German interior every time I go there I think I will get arrested by the Starsi for carrying the Guardian.

What about a last chance to see section , pubs and instiutions under threat, I would nominate the Little Brown Jug very eccentric and old fashioned Pub I think owned by Thorleys but so far not mucked up has a boule court outside and is little changed in thirty years

Anonymous said...

I'm not telling as I want to get served next time!

Anonymous said...

The Ali Raj in Margate is in my view the best Indian restaurant and take-out in the area. I have tried Dickens of India and The Tamarind in Broadstairs and neither compare. The Tamarind seems driven more towards fashion than quality and value.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention Harbour Cafe, Margate and Oscar Road Cafe, Broadstairs.
A good cycling stop in all weathers is the Palm Bay cafe, a good bribe to get kids to cycle as far as that!

Anonymous said...

Anyone tried the new Ossie's fish and chip shop in Ramsgate High Street yet?

Gourmet girl said...

The Akash Indian restaurant/takeaway opposite Chatham House School in Ramsgate is very good - lovely green pickle!

Anonymous said...

Angela's cafe (the blue one) Margate parade, mega breakfast was and is a thing of beauty. Indian Princess is brilliant, The windshack at Minnis bay does very very good smoothies (ask for the black and blue) and a steak baguette which melts in the mouth, also has one of the best views in Thanet.

Marina said...

I used to like Brandybucks in Cliftonville when I was a kid. Is that still around?

Anonymous said...

No sorry Brandybucks has suffered the same demise as the rest of Northdown road,apart from Sandy's carpet shop - it closed about 5 years ago! When did you last visit Cliftonville?
Tried to go to Age and son yesterday as have heard rave reviews but it is closed on mondays! Went to Siam Kitchen instead which was good.

Marina said...

I admit I haven't been to Cliftonville for years. I try to avoid the Margate area in general because I don't have a death wish.

Tony said...

The Siam Kitchen in Ramsgate has to go on the thumbs up list, brilliant food. Agree about Bon Appetite, food was OK but £15 for a bottle of Echo Falls!!

Anonymous said...

The whole of the Isle is awash with often mediocre all day breakfasts, but some treasures are worth seeking out.

The Harbour Bar in Margate serves up truly delicious Sunday lunches, cooked by someone who obviously loves food not portion control. The format is predictable with a choice of meat, a large yorkshire pud and the necessary accompaniments but the execution is miles above average with spot-on veg and plenty of it! Just the thing for a Sunday blow-out.

The Bankok Thai in Cliftonville is a little (literally) gem with dishes not found on other thai menus, with scallops, whole sea bass and really authentic thai greens - booking seems to be essential as they only have about 8tables - its a "bring your own bottle" too so the bill will hold no shocks.

Age & Sons seems a little too in love with itself, unfortunately. A self satisfied smugness at being the only eatery of its type in the area allows the food to be a bit hit and miss taste-wise, with a hefty dollop of style over substance - but there are some delights to be had, such as a meltingly sweet roasted onion for starters and their coffee is excellent. Pricing is a bit over zealous, with a ramakin of cabbage coming in at c£3 but overall it is more than a decent bet if something on the daily changing menu tickles your tastebuds. The first of more like it, I hope, to provide a bit of competition in Ramsgate.

Worth the journey to Canterbury, the Goods Shed still remains a firm favourite, with an ever changing menu of whats good from the market on the day. Excellent, imaginative cooking with flair and honesty.

Anonymous said...

Had coffee twice at Age and Sons and that was fine. Went back for lunch. Disaster. No one sensible front of house. Youngster of about 16 years old running the place but hadn't a clue about service. Wandered off to find a menu. Left us for ages without offering to get us a drink. Wandered back, no menu. Chef calling out from kitchen 'This is off, that is off'. Girl wandered off again so we followed suit. Never been back. Annoyingly two people eating already so obviously something was being prepared but, sorry, it's not good enough to leave customers standing wondering if they'll get anything to eat or drink.

Anonymous said...

We tried out the Ramsgate Cafe on the Margate Road near Westwood this weekend. Clean and bright with new pine tables a large tv screen in case you cant miss half an hour of Sky Sports and on-the-ball staff. Ordered the special breakfast and it was HUGE. It arrived on a plate the size of a tea-tray and quanitity did not mean low quality. You can always tell a good caff by their sausages and these were just right. Fresh, home made bubble and squeak was yummy with proper green cabbage and bacon. I couldnt finish it but it felt that if you could, a bell would sound and someone would give you a rosette..

We tried La Magnolia on the little raised elspanade above the harbour today. (we are without a kitchen due to building work and couldnt face another microwaved meal).
It is, along with Bon Apetite et al, in a spot that should be doing a roaring trade - but the quality lets it down badly. Mussels and octopus came in a garlicky broth with cherry tomatoes. All sounds good but just missing a little love that turns ingredients into something special. Had to ask for bread twice, by the time it came I had half finished. The pizza - and i should have known better - came without some of the promised ingredients and was just plain boring. Well natured staff but no-one cared in the kitchen. We will not care to return.

Peter Checksfield said...

Probably a stupid question, but does anyone know of any Jamaican / Caribbean restaurants in East Kent (I'm certain there's not one in Thanet). Personally I can't stand Indian food, & I'm not too keen on Chinese / Thai either, but I really miss the food of my youth when growing up in Peckham / Dulwich in South East London!

Miss Piggy said...

Bon Apettit in Ramsgate..

Not cheap... but that food is divine.. and they support their local farmers and buy local produce... Yum!

Anonymous said...

Heard good things about Harbour Cafe meals on a Sunday. However also heard terrible things about their hygiene. Apparently not the owners primary concern.

Anonymous said...

Tried Harvey's in Ramsgate harbour the other week.
Purely personally, I'd recommend - not going there!

The trio of fish in tempura was cod, cod and cod in batter no better and in my opinion worse than any of the local chippies. The thrice cooked chips were floppy and under-cooked.
For all its pretensions, my impression was that you'd be better off being on "come dine with me".
Mediocre food, over-priced and the ambience of a cafeteria - purely personal view of course, your experience may be different.

Anonymous said...

Rosario in Albert Terrace, Margate is not at all bad. Slightly bumbling but good food and friendly.
Don't try the all-you-can-eat buffet if you're eating tout-seul (tutto solo) - for some bizarre reason they won't let you!
Italian but much more than pizza and pasta.
Good food and good value (especially the buffet for multiple diners).

ArlingtonResident said...

Ali Raj on the Canterbury Road, Westbrook has friendly waiters keen to serve (we had two chasing our order)and the food is perfectly reasonable - both taste and price.
The wine list is a bit thin - especially if you only want a half bottle of red!

ArlingtonResident said...

We've stopped going to The Harbour Cafe because of the poor and stroppy service we've had from the owner. Lovely position and a good menu (not that you can guarantee to get your choice) - in my experience not a happy one.

ArlingtonResident said...

The Belgian Cafe in Ramsgate harbour is a novel (if Bohemian) place to go at any time.
Good and varied food, reasonably priced.
Although the on-premises micro-brewery seems to have gone, there's still a good selection of beers - even the rather revolting Belgian fruit beers for those that like them.
An experience well worth trying.

ArlingtonResident said...

Baithak: the Pakistani & Indian restaurant in Westcliff Arcade, Ramsgate has new management.

Great-tasting food.

No licence at the moment, so take your own alcohol (no corkage). On the other hand it would be good to respect their religion and stick to the soft drinks available.

ArlingtonResident said...

Having been put off No6 in the Old Town (Margate) some time ago (ordinary food at high prices), we thought we'd try it again.

Great food (OK, still high prices but not sky-high). What a difference! Exciting plans from the (?)owner about specials nights etc. Planned to try it out some more.

BUT, wandering past a few days later ... There's a notice on the very-closed door saying it's closed by the landlord.

Shame - so close to being an asset.

Wonder what style of food the next opening will promote

ArlingtonResident said...

Siam Kitchen (above Ramsgate harbour)will be BYO in September - although their current house red is quaffable.
Friendly staff and reasonable prices.
Food style varied - and very tasty. Good fish-cakes and great fish in blanket. The coconut rice and fried egg noodles complemented the sweet and sour pork (more like toffee pork - delicious)and red veggie curry.

Will go back!

ArlingtonResident said...

Pouces Tea-rooms: a little gem.
Very able and friendly service from a well-organised team.
A range of light and unusual cakes warm from the oven, even catering for gluten-free requirements. Beautifully light and exceedingly tasty.
By invitation only, so no riff-raff to upset the ambience.

ArlingtonResident said...

No6 (at No 6 Market Place in Margate Old Town) is now Mullins Brasserie.

They promote "modern European cuisine with a hint of the Caribbean" and seem to deliver.

As their very first customers, we enjoyed the Pork Souse and Fishcake starters, the Salmon and Chicken Breast mains - and the Chocolate Fondue and Lemon and Lime Tart desserts (the chef was having problems with the, first choice, creme brulee).

Side dishes would have filled us too much to try the puds - and the mains did come with vegetables and bits to make it a meal.

The starters were spicy but comfortably so.

All in all, very tasty food, a bit out of the usual and well presented.

Well worth a try - let's hope that they can buck the trend and make the place work at last. If the new owners' enthusiasm is a factor, there's a chance it'll catch on.