Smiths Court Hotel, 21-27 Eastern Esplanade, Cliftonville, Margate, CT9 2HL
Far from your average eatery, The Orangery at Smiths Court Hotel is a rare find and not at all what you would expect from a hotel restaurant. Situated on Margate's eastern fringe, overlooking coastal cliff-top gardens and undulating waves below, this impressive establishment offers superb, affordable dining courtesy of two very talented chefs. Although the autumn à la carte was extremely tempting, we opted for a generous portion of moules marinières with a fabulously rich white wine sauce from the table d'hôte, far surpassing any mussel dish we'd ever had in France. For my main course, I chose a tender rabbit haché, with chunky chips, sautéed mushrooms and a cider sauce, while my companion opted for her favourite - calf's liver and bacon on a bed of creamy mash with a red wine and onion gravy. A sumptuous toffee apple crumble, as well as an assortment of homemade doughnuts with cinnamon ice cream, concluded our meal wonderfully. As we left, we vowed to keep this Kentish gem to ourselves. With varying menus guided by seasonal, locally sourced supplies, special fish supper nights and function rooms for hire, there's every reason and more to dine at The Orangery.