The Harrow Hill Hotel
Having enjoyed a relaxing beer and some friendly banter with staff in the inviting bar - with dark beams and rustic wooden flooring - we moved through to the restaurant. This clean, modern, bright and airy dining room radiates a real cosmopolitan feel, and is a far cry from the traditional bar. Sitting down, our eyes were drawn outside to the beautiful Mediterranean courtyard - ideal for a spot of alfresco dining on warm days - with views of the impressive fishpond. With such an outlook, you would be forgiven for forgetting you are in Kent and instead imagine yourself in landlord Giovanni's Sicilian homeland.
The Harrow Hill's general manager Colin expresses the philosophy here perfectly - 'The menu is not set in stone. We pride ourselves on having the flexibility to meet all customer needs' - and Italian head chef Fabio, a true craftsman, creates authentic Italian dishes with flair and imagination. I chose an exquisitely presented swordfish - a true feast for the eyes, served with pistachio and aubergine cream. My main dish of tuna with poppy and sesame seeds was a marriage made in heaven, balanced with artichoke and tomato cream. A parfait of caramelised walnut and hot chocolate finished off a truly delicious meal. Fabio's exact preparation and creative presentation ensured each dish was an impressive palette of taste, texture and colour.
This beautiful 17th-Century hotel also houses ten elegantly decorated rooms, offering the chance to extend your stay. So, luxuriate in the fabulous flavours of the Med, sip fine wine and be looked after by attentive staff, before retiring to the decadence of your very own four-poster bedroom.