One local restaurant in particular that I have to highlight is Little Ships they have been especially creative during Lockdown. The restaurant is in a great location overlooking Ramsgate Royal Harbour and during the Christmas period for example their take away options included melting raclette and roasted potatoes, fresh brioche doughnuts and mulled wine.
Well aren’t we lucky here in Ramsgate. After a period of pop up hosting, the Ravensgate Arms now has a permanent restaurant upstairs. It’s open Wednesday to Saturday in the evenings and for lunch over the weekend. The restaurant has a lot going for it, Luke Crittenden (former head chef of Polpetto in London) has put together an excellent menu that includes a delicious selection of small plates that are perfect for sharing. His desserts I believe are made by his brother Ben (Chef/Owner of the acclaimed STARK restaurant in Broadstairs) and the drinks list isn’t just a decent selection of wine, it’s full of Ravensgate Arms craft beers and Cocktails. Arya at the Ravensgate Arms is a real treat.
We started with some nibbles, tasty warm sour dough bread and anchovies with seaweed tartar sauce. The anchovies cooked in squid ink tempura batter don’t at first glance appear particularly appetising, resembling black burnt chips, but when combined with the moreish seaweed tartar sauce are just fabulous (please don’t ever take them off the menu), on my next visit I won’t be sharing them.
The small plates include some luxury ingredients like the wagyu beef and lobster, we ordered & enjoyed both, but the standout dishes for me were the ones with the less flashy ingredients. The beautifully chilled Chicken Liver Parfait with sweet corn and chilli (ensure you keep some of the sourdough bread to go with it). The refreshing Mackerel, Gooseberry, Cucumber, Miso and my favourite the beautifully presented Crispy pig’s head with smoked Apple puree. There are some larger plates on the menu too, but I loved being able to try lots of different dishes, we ordered six small plates for two people to share which was something of a feast. We also kept room for a light dessert of Yoghurt Pannacotta with raspberries and meringue.
I do like the Crittenden brothers using their Game of Thrones obsession to name Restaurants. So can we expect “Ned” to open in Margate next, followed by “The Lannisters” in a grand country house just outside Canterbury? 😉
Wishing them all the best in their seaside town ventures, as we all know “Winter is coming”.
UPDATE October 2019 – Ayra has been awarded a Michelin bib gourmand.
Tucked away in the basement of the Royal Harbour Hotel in Ramsgate you will find the Empire Room restaurant, which captures the essence of an archetypal gentlemens club in the glory days of the British Empire. The restaurant has the look and feel of a special occasion venue but surprisingly with its reasonably priced set lunch and set dinner you won’t need to spend a fortune to have a lovely meal here.
The Empire Room certainly isn’t your average sea side town hotel dining room. The chef is well known in the area, he is Michelin-trained chef, Craig Mather the former head chef at the highly acclaimed and sadly missed fish restaurant Eddie Gilbert’s (one of his Eddie Gilbert dishes was Jay Rayner’s starter of the year a few years ago – which is praise indeed). Craig has for the past few years also been a Chef lecturer at East Kent College. So after reading about him taking over at the Empire Room Restaurant, we decided to go there for lunch. The set menu option is incredible value for money and we enjoyed some beautifully presented dishes along with a complimentary glass of house wine. The menu is seasonal and the highlight for me was the Fennel and Beetroot marinated Salmon with Potato mousse, a tasty and refreshing dish that was a perfect for the warm summer weather, as was the excellent ice cream served with biscuit crumb.
The restaurant has definitely upped its game since my last visit a few years back and is a great addition to the burgeoning Ramsgate dining scene.
The Empire room is normally accessed directly from its entrance on Nelson Crescent, but the hotel manager kindly let us exit via the hotel itself, which has a cosy lounge, attractive breakfast room and stunning sea views.
If you love the Empire Room you should also try their sister restaurant Little Ships. It’s in a great spot overlooking Ramsgate Royal Harbour, perfect for people watching, it’s a bit pricier than surrounding restaurants/bars but the portions are generous and the quality of the ingredents make it well worth a visit or two.
UPDATE October 2019 New Head Chef is Ross Barden (ex Sands Hotel, Margate). Craig Mather is now Executive Head Chef and is often seen at the stove in Little Ships .
The blossoming Ramsgate dining scene has another welcome addition for lovers of Japanese food. It’s the Kyoto Sushi and Grill, which is located in the High Street just opposite Argos making it fairly easy to find.
We were a party of five with the majority new to Japanese cuisine, so I ordered for the group to ensure that we were able to try lots of different menu items, indeed we had a veritable feast of Japanese goodies.
We started with some Edamame and two different types of Gyôza (steamed and fried) and moved on to the Ika Kaarage, deep fried baby squid with wasabi mayo and lemon grass. This was followed by lots of lovely dishes with the highlights being the beautiful melt in your mouth Tuna Tataki, a tasty Sea Bass dish, a lovely light Prawn Tempura and much to everyone’s surprise the Scallop Sashimi. We also had a Teriyaki dish and a selection of Sushi, our favorite being the Dragon Rolls. All of this accompanied by lovely hot Saki that went down very smoothly. We also had the opportunity to try some Takara Sierra Cold Saki, an American innovation in sake brewing that is only 12% proof.
I have eaten in several Japanese restaurants over the years in Tokyo, New York, Philadelphia and London so am not a complete novice, but I would recommend that you let your waitress guide you as some items on the menu will only be available if the restaurant has managed to source suitable fresh fish. The restaurant also does set lunches and Bento Boxes which are a good introduction to Japanese food.
The restaurant is tucked away in a side street in Ramsgate (2 Effingham Street). It is in a converted pub that still looks like a pub when you enter, but don’t judge this place by the decor, this is not your average Indian Restaurant. The owner and Head Chef, is Anil Kumar, he is the former Head Chef of the acclaimed Ambrette Restaurant in Margate. He also worked at The Cinnamon Club in London, and in restaurants in Dubai, Jordan and India.
We go for the set lunch which is amazing value. You start with a welcome drink usually a mango juice concoction. Then a small amuse bouche, which is a mouthful of deliciousness. They have a nice selection of starters, the Masala Dosa is a work of Art, and I highly recommend the Squid dish. Next there is a small complimentary cup of spicy soup. There is also a good few main courses to choose from. We have tried several of them, the highlight for me is the Goan Fish Curry, it is served with rice and warm freshly made naan bread.
The service is good and there is a small selection of wine.
The restaurant is well regarded, it won a Tiffin Cup award to find the UKs best South Asian Restaurant and has been favourably covered in the national press, see Guardian article which described the food at Flavours by Kumar as some of the tastiest Indian Food in the South East of England and they are so right. If you are in the area, this is a treat not to be missed.
UPDATE – Under new Management from 8/3/19 – now called Eats ‘n’ Beats
If approaching Addington Street from the coastal side, you will find the VinylHead Cafe at the far end of the street. The Cafe has a fantastic ambience. I actually think that it is the coolest cafe in Thanet. It attracts a lot of Artists and Musicians and at the weekend there are occasional Open Mic sessions and live music.
Vinylhead is licensed and serves good coffee and homemade cakes. For more substantial food check out the kitchen menu.
Another highlight is the attractive outside courtyard with its stylish seaside themed mosaic and huge cantilever parsol.