Kent, or the “Garden of England” as Henry VIII once named it, is largely famed for proclaiming itself the first county in England, having an abundance of oast houses, and of course, for the Canterbury Tales.
With so many properties that have, and still do, form an integral part of creating that sweet British nectar (beer), and a history more steeped than most, it seems only fitting that we should discuss a true staple of Britain – the pub.
But believe us when we say there is no fiction here, as we unveil to you five of Kent’s most kicking watering holes from the latest Kent Food & Drink Guide.
First up we have a pub that proves that there is substance in the aforementioned statement from King Henry. The Wheelwrights Arms in Matfield, with its gorgeously rustic interior and undisputed character, produces dishes containing marvellous local ingredients that come together harmoniously to wow guests. On our visit, the hogweed seeds that lie atop the sumptuous saddle of venison had been freshly picked, as had many other elements on the menu. Locally sourced produce is clearly a passion of owners Rob and Gem, and this continues into the selection of drinks. Ciders are from the village of Matfield itself, while wine is obtained from equally proximate sources, which is testament to past and present booze production within the borough.
16th century charm forms the basis for an exceedingly good experience of drink and grub at the Cock Inn. During the chillier months, the enticing inglenook log fire allows punters to warm their extremities, and though the fireplace lies dormant in the summer, locals and those in the know flock to Boughton Monchelsea to get their fill of tasty dishes and beverages.
The creamy Fisherman’s pie comes highly recommended, as does the flavoursome roasted duck. Don’t fret if you’re more of a traditionalist as there are plenty of hearty British staple dishes to satisfy your hunger.
Great booze, a great buzz, and great bites are the cornerstones of a good pub and the King & Queen has all of the above. The interior has a cosy feel with exposed beams offering a traditional feel.
However, the menu offers taste adventures from further afield than these pastures. Duck breast in cherry and red wine sauce, Sicilian tuna steaks and moules marinières all give a continental feel, but are all executed to perfection as they are in their respective homelands. The added incentive of a children’s menu and a superb Sunday lunch make the King & Queen a popular choice with families and give a real sense of inclusivity.
Based in the quaint village of Brook, Ashford, the Honest Miller offers home-cooked, hearty meals, fit to grace any banquet. Local produce is the name of the game, with only the freshest ingredients making the grade.
Pan-fried brown trout, lavender-roasted lamb rump, and pan-fried calf’s liver make up just some of the exquisite options available to diners. The pudding menu also offers a whole host of glutinous goodies to gorge on including a marvellous milk chocolate mousse, sinfully indulgent sticky toffee pudding and delightful homemade ice cream in a variety of flavours.
The menu changes with the seasons at the Honest Miller, but you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll love no matter when you go.
Even from the hanging baskets outside, the Tudor Rose at Borden has an inviting feel. With pub classics ham, egg and chips and fillet steak on offer as well as an ever-changing choice of scrumptious specials, rest assured you’re in for a feast whatever your tastes are. As with all great pubs there’s a cracking carvery boasting all types of meat and of course something for the vegetarians in your party.
Dine under the natural light in the conservatory and wash down that magnificent meal with some of the best beers on offer. The oak furniture and hardwood floors give the Tudor Rose a definite homely feel, so much so that you might never want to leave.
For more of Kent’s best pubs, bars and restaurants, you can read the latest Kent Food & Drink Guide below.