The weather is pretty extreme at the moment around the south coast of England and Seasalter near Whitstable was certainly a bit damp on our visit. The sheep in the marsh lands nearby looked like they were swimming rather than grazing.
The Sportsman which is a 15 minute taxi ride or a one hour plus walk from Whitstable station, was a cosy refuge and the perfect finish to our culinary tour of the area. The tempting offer of a glass of Pol Roger Champagne on arrival was just too good to turn down – our favorite champagne beautifully chilled. It was also good to see that since our last visit they had added a shorter tasting menu, which unlike their normal tasting menu, did not have to be pre ordered. At £45 this Tasting Menu option is excellent value for the caliber of food served here.
We ordered this new Tasting Menu and selected a reasonably priced bottle of Gavi di Gavi Vignetti Lugarara Giustiana 2010 (another personal favorite) to accompany it.
A delicious selection of bread arrived first, quickly followed by an amuse bouche in an eggshell. Then we had two Whitstable Oysters, prepared in two different ways – both were quite lovely, we were off to a good start. Next we had a beautiful looking dish described as Pot Roast Red Cabbage with Stewed Apple and Fresh Cheese. This turned out to be our favorite course, the cabbage was really flavorsome and beautifully enhanced by the apple and cheese. The fish course came next, Roast cod with a really moreish Bouillabaisse and olive tapenade. The previous two courses in particular emphasizing why The Sportsman has a Michelin Star. The meat course came next, a Roast Rack of Lamb with a particularly good mint sauce, leaving us with just enough room for the dessert. The dessert which followed some palette cleansing Ice Lollies was another high point, it consisted of one half of a Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart, served with Tangerine Ice Cream. A lot of Tangerines must have gone into that Ice Cream as the flavour was intense. The sharpness nicely countering the rich salted caramel in the Tart.
After this lovely lunch and fully prepared for the weather (or so we thought), we decided to walk along the beach back to Whitstable. We ended up cutting inland before we got there, as the heavens opened up and we got a little damp to say the least. I would recommend The Sportsman for a special lunch but would suggest avoiding any temptation to walk too far along the beach in the Winter.
It is also well worth allowing yourself some time to explore the rather gentrified seaside town of Whitstable, especially the Harbour area and the unique one off shops on Harbour Street.