Between the home cooked feasts of Christmas and New Year, we headed down to the wintry Kent coast for a walk along the pebble beach followed by lunch at The Sportsman pub.
From the outside it looks like a simple place, but inside the food has earned one Michelin star and is perfectly cooked from local ingredients. They even pan their own seasalt from the water a few metres away – that’s how seriously they take the idea of local sourcing. But what’s great about their cooking is that they don’t get too fancy. It’s just good food, with a little creativity, and expert cooking.
For starter I had lightly poached rock oysters with pickled cucumber and Avruga caviar.
Main course was baked Hake fillet with chestnuts, bacon and parsley sauce.
And for dessert, the whole table shared a Tarte Tatin, which was served with ice cream.
We were in good company, with Tom Kerridge (the acclaimed chef behind The Hand and Flowers in Marlow – and winner of BBC TV’s The Great British Menu) dining here with his family, as he seems to be on this day every year when we have a family birthday lunch here.