My mind is reeling. I’ve just got back from lunch at the Saltwood on the Green, a new restaurant offering Kent a rare taste of simple food, done exquisitely. Set in the picturesque village of Saltwood, just outside Hythe, it is exactly what I would hope for in a neighborhood restaurant: intimate and welcoming, but classy enough that it still feels a bit special.
So this salad is just, like, incredible. Believe me, I needed convincing too because melon is at the top of my ‘don’t like’ list. Melon and cucumber are the two foods that I have not grown to like as I’ve reached adulthood. But somehow, in some magical, mysterious way, the honey dew in this recipe works. Maybe it’s the punchy cilantro or the fiery kick of jalapeño drawing the attention away from the paltry, watery sweetness of the melon. Or maybe it’s the tartness of the unripe green tomatoes that just seems to create such a harmonious bowl of food.
Tomorrow our little Googies turns five. Over the past five years we have seen it evolve from a little café, to a café and craft beer destination, to a café, craft beer destination, music venue, ultimate coffee house and restaurant in its own right. To celebrate its birthday, owners Keith and Steve are raising the bar even higher.
If you’re like me, you look at every opportunity to cook for other people as an opportunity to create, experiment and just generally flex your culinary muscles. Not necessarily to show off, although I will admit to the odd twinge of pride when things work out how I hoped, but just because the thrill of creating – and then devouring – something new is almost as exciting as getting to share it with people you love. Knowing me as he does, my husband usually prefaces announcements of expected guests with, ‘Just keep it casual. Make something simple. Don’t go overboard.’. But sometimes keeping it simple is exactly what you need to do to create a masterpiece.
Nearly a year ago, the Old High Street in Folkestone welcomed a new addition to its restaurants, boutiques and art galleries. A small, unimposing coffee shop where people could go to get a cup o’ Joe with a difference. And ever since, that little shop has been cranking out delicious coffees and teas as well as experimenting with the brewing process and innovating new coffee based drinks the likes of which Folkestone has never seen before. Our recent heatwave has given Tom at Manifest Coffee yet another brilliant idea.
After a few months of success as a café, Follies on Sandgate Road in Folkestone is spreading its wings and on Friday, August 1, they will launch their bistro. For a lucky few, there was a sneak peek on Sunday with a counter full of the beautiful, fresh salads and charcuterie that Follies owner Ami will focus on in the bistro.
When it comes to the world’s favorite cuisines, Italy is up there. I mean, they did give us pizza and pasta so it’s not hard to figure out why Italian food is so popular. But with the popularity of Italian cooking there’s also been compromise, adaptation and copycatting – and not in an ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ way either. I think any Italian would run a mile if you tried to serve them up a gloopy plate of spaghetti carbonara or a pizza topped with canned pineapple and dry pieces of ham. For this reason I’ve become very mistrusting of Italian restaurants. That was until we stumbled into Briciole.
Next week Googies will welcome into its kitchen a legend of the Kent culinary scene. Charlie Lakin has been doing fantastic things with Kent produce since he moved down to the southeast from Yorkshire to work at Dunkerley’s in Deal in 2007. From there he moved to The Marquis at Alkham where he’s really made a name for himself. Now he’s made the tough decision to leave The Marquis and Kent behind to pursue a more family oriented life in his wife’s native South Africa. Luckily for us, he is offering the people of Kent a few final chances to sample his handiwork at various venues around the southeast.
Many of you will have read my first post about Salt back in November of last year. The Canterbury restaurant has built a great reputation for itself and its philosophy of small plates and local, seasonal produce. With a ‘restaurants to try’ list that could circumnavigate the earth, we only managed to visit Salt a second time a couple weeks ago. As always, the food was fresh, interesting and delicious. We also caught word that Emma and Lee were looking into a new place in Whitstable. Saltdog opened yesterday and is cranking out gourmet hotdogs and beer on the Whitstable seafront. So now the lucky people of Kent have not one, but two ways to enjoy the creativity of this pair and the beauty of local Kentish produce. So what are you waiting for? (more…)