In a time when every eating establishment is fighting for custom, a really good quality, traditional pub meal is actually quite difficult to find. There are some beautiful pubs dotted all around Kent and some are exceptional, but in my opinion, too many are trying to be all things to all people. I get it. Everyone is fighting for the custom. And the surge of foodies and interest in fine dining makes it increasingly difficult to focus your menu. But if you want return business, pick something and be great at it. Rather than mediocre at everything. There are a couple of pubs that I think serve truly tremendous food, in an authentically beautiful setting. Ones that I will – and do – return to regularly.
The Three Tuns – Lower Halstow
Ok, I admit this is also my second local pub so I’m possibly geographically biased. However, I’m totally impartial when I review food and the food at The Three Tuns is excellent. There is enough choice to please everyone. With seasonal specials and plates that are always vibrant and interesting. There is also a selection of locally brewed beers and ciders, which ensures that the pub purists are appeased. In the summer the garden in stunning and the pub front is an array of colour. Children are welcomed which is great, as dining out in great eateries with young children is often trickier than you think. Inside, the traditional solid wood bar and hop laden ceilings are warm and friendly, as are the staff. There is a full restaurant available for formal bookings but to be honest, we only ever eat in the bar. From fantastic fish platters of locally sourced mackerel, cockles and prawns to the traditional fish and chips, everything is plentiful and delicious. Jared’s favourite meal is ham, egg and chips, which is only one egg short of the adults portion. Oh and the chips just happen to be award winning in their own right. Got to be worth a visit just to sample them alone!
The Plough Inn at Lewson Street – Sittingbourne
The Plough Inn is signposted just off the London Road between Faversham and Sittingbourne, but blink and you will miss it. In the back of beyond, this pub’s reputation exceeds it and offers the best Sunday lunch I’ve had in Kent. Now I am not a huge traditional roast dinner fan, especially when eating out. But thats largely because I’m really fussy about paying for soggy spuds, mushy veg and incinerated meat. But I had no grumbles whatsoever at The Plough Inn. I had the lamb roast…..the spuds were crispy, the lamb was perfectly pink and the gravy was home made. What more could you want? Ok… how about smiling staff, sweets for the sweetest tooth and even a bit of live music?
Our next visit was even better. The menu has a great selection of dishes with lots of traditional pub grub favourites such as pies, liver and bacon or steak, as well as an excellent specials board offering a variety of delicious fish dishes. I had a clam starter and some lovely smoked haddock fish cakes to follow. The service again was excellent. Not pretentious but friendly, welcoming and helpful. Something which always elevates a dining experience for me.