MUST DO: 5 Kent Coast food hotspots

Dine near the beach at these unheralded gems all a short train hop from St Pancras


DEAL: Frog & Scot

Sharing tables and tasty gallic grub. Photo: Mike Owen
Sharing tables and tasty Gallic grub. Photo: Mike Owen

This hip new opening is two minutes’ walk from the beach on a high street that bristles with quirky independent shops. Owned by friendly couple Benoit Dezecot and his partner Sarah Ross, who also run nearby wine bar Le Pinardier, it’s a slick all-day French bistro with chef David Hart (ex-Sportsman) at the helm. Expect starters like seared scallops with celeriac, crab with fennel, Whitstable oysters or seafood platters; and superior duck confit, hake with beurre blanc or baked halibut with cucumber velouté as mains. On weekend evenings most of the tables – many of which are in fact sharing benches – are booked, but you can always swing by for a well-sourced glass of wine, or bar snack at the counter. A set lunch menu is just £13.95 for two course. 86 High Street CT14 6EG (01304379444). Need a room? Stay at Bear’s Well boutique B ‘n’ B (from £110)

RAMSGATE: The Falstaff

Cod, crayfish and salsa verde. Photo: SE
Cod, crayfish and salsa verde. Photo: SE

Addington Street in this Georgian Thanet resort was always the heart of the old town, and in the last few years its star has risen with cafes, vintage shops and pubs opening. Latest addition is possibly the most glam yet: The Falstaff has been refurbished and converted and is now a smart hotel, restaurant, café, bar, and shop selling delicious deli-type items. We popped in on a sleepy (and chilly) Sunday to nab the last free table and were impressed with both pan-seared cod, crayfish and salsa verde and a vegetarian beetroot, goat’s curd, caramelised walnuts and lentils. Mains from about £10. Eight individually-designed bedrooms are on hand to sleep it off. Falstaff Ramsgate, 16-18 Addington Street, Ramsgate, CT11 9JJ (01843 482600)

ST MARGARET’S BAY: Wallett’s Court

Ham hock terrine. Photo: PR
Ham hock terrine. Photo: PR

This long-established Grade II-listed ancient manor run by the Oakley family just inland from St Margaret’s Bay is attracting new fans with its well-priced lunch menu – just £19.50 for three courses. Try a creamy cauliflower soup with tempura, or ham hock terrine for starters, seared cod with brown shrimps, hollandaise and samphire for a main, and a meltingly exploding chocolate fondant for dessert. Chuck in the windswept plains of White Cliffs Country – it’s a half hour stroll down to the curving bay – and you might as well make a weekend of it. There are historic bedrooms, some with four-posters a spa and even converted barns and cabins galore. Prices from £95 a night. Wallett’s Court, Westcliffe, St. Margaret’s-at-Cliffe, Dover, Kent CT15 (01304 852424)


Dishing up at the diminutive Cockles bar on the Ram. Photo: SE
Dishing up at the diminutive Cockles bar on the Arm. Photo: SE

A lively new addition to an underrated seaside destination. Follow the route through the old town – or Creative Quarter as it prefers to be known – and keep on walking until you’re well out at sea. At the curve of the recently spruced-up Harbour Arm you’ll find a dozen or so streetfood stalls, plus an indoor parade of hip bars, pop-up restaurants: try Cockles for seafood and Chapel Down wine, Follies for pizza, the Big Greek Bus for meze, and, in the evenings, the Waiting Room bar for DJs and dancing. There’s even a snug champagne bar in the lighthouse. Opening times & full details here.

MARGATE: Hantverk and Found

Colchester Rock oysters. Photo: PR
Colchester Rock oysters at H & F. Photo: PR

Destination hangouts are mushrooming in Thanet’s hottest coastal magnet – we particularly rate Cheesy Tiger on the Harbour Arm, GB Pizza and its offshoot Roost in Cliftonville – but the tiny gallery and seafood cafe on one of the most charming old town streets is a must if you’re catching the new show at the Turner Contemporary. Cluster in the front room by the window counter or sit in the small (and, on our visit, very sunny) courtyard garden to devour scallops, oysters, razor clams or mussels. We particularly enjoyed a simple plate of pan-fried cod, lentils and poached egg; service is friendly too. Hantverk & Found 18 King Street, Margate, CT9 1DA