Harveys Fish Market, Oyster Bar & Restaurant – still not the plaice to go!

Harveys of Ramsgate now has an AA Rosette and a change of chef (or so we were told).  We thought we would give it a second chance, and see if our opinion of it differs now from our last rather damming post.

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Harveys Fish Market, Oyster Bar & Restaurant
We ordered the fixed price ‘grazing menu’, (which had a very limited fish selection)  2 courses for £12 (this certainly sounded like a bargain),  and a couple of glasses of pretty good wine. We also ordered a portion of their own baked bread which was okay. The starters arrived. Things were looking up as the presentation appeared to be not too bad. My salmon and beetroot with micro greens actually had flavour. Unbalanced but flavour none the less. My companion went for the butternut squash risotto. It also looked good but turned out to be completely lacking in flavour, basically just stodge ….oh dear as we were ready to amend our opinion and eat humble pie.

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My main course arrived. Apparently this was a ‘belly of pork’. Well it was like no cut of meat I had ever seen. It looked more like a cross section of spinal column (more cartilage than belly!). Only one word came to mind during this course and that I’m afraid was ‘Repulsive’.

Belly of Pork!
Belly of Pork!

My companions Plaice looked like it had been bitten by a Shark!. It was also over cooked.

Plaice and Potato salad
Plaice and Potato salad

When asked if we wanted dessert or coffee we decided to pass and left the restaurant as hungry as we went in.

Instead we had pancakes at Miles Cafe Culture – a genuinely buzzy and quality establishment.

Pancakes at Miles
Pancakes at Miles Cafe Culture

Our visit to Harveys was on a Saturday at lunchtime, only two other tables were occupied, so for ambience we had some background music and a baby crying in the corner. We were also a bit surprised that the fish slab was not  in use, to let us see what fresh fish was on offer.

We passed by again in the evening, on the way to Age & Sons, and noticed that the restaurant was barely half full. Which was interesting when compared to the completely full Age & Sons, which attracts exactly the type of clientel that Harveys are trying to target.

How the AA could award Harveys with “The only AA Rosette in Thanet” is beyond me. There are more deserving restaurants in Thanet, such as Age & Sons. It was also disconcerting to read the description of Harveys in toptable, it used words like “steller seafood” and intimated that Celebrity Chef John Burton Race was involved in the cooking. I am pretty sure he is not.

After two visits now, our conclusion was that Harveys would be an ideal candidate for another Celebrity Chefs TV show – Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.

It’s great that so much money has been invested in Ramsgate, which does really need a good fish restaurant. We just don’t feel the investment has  been made in the kitchen where it really counts. It’s also good to know we are not alone in our views, as I have spotted a couple of reviews now that use words like “Dire” to describe the food in Harveys. So unless there are some major changes here, Harveys can relax as we won’t be reviewing them again.

UPDATE – November 2009 : Just read Jay Rayners recent review for the Observer, spot on. He was also brave enough to try the Oysters!

UPDATE – July 2010 : See picture below, this is amazing. It looks like they are actually using the negative review in The Observer to market the restaurant.

UPDATE – October 2010 : About time!  Harveys is finally closed – RIP please! For more information see post from Isle One.

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Miles Cafe Culture in Ramsgate

One of the highlights on the culinary front, in an area sadly lacking in good places to eat, is Miles Cafe Culture.  It is in a prime location overlooking the harbour.  It is open all day/every day.  It has a very good breakfast menu,  much better that the usual greasy all day breakfasts a lot of the places in Ramsgate do. The handmade sausages being a highlight.

The kitchen is pretty much geared up to provide an opportunity for all day food grazing, should you find it hard to leave!  On our last visit we were especially impressed by the “fresh” Calamari* rings that were made to order.

It’s also a good venue for a relaxed Sunday Lunch too. I would suggest booking for that, as there is limited space in the Restaurant section and this is popular among the more well healed locals and London visitors.

The wines are also of a good standard, from about £40 for the Amerone to about £13 for the Riddle Riesling-Gewürztraminer.

UPDATE – December 2013 : We paid another Visit to this vibrant bar, but were very disappointed when we ordered the Calamari*, it had been so lovely on my last visit, I just assumed it would be again. No such luck – something had definitely changed. It was like eating elastic bands. I love Calamari when it is done well and hate it when it is like this. So much as I like Miles Cafe, I think I will restrict myself to just ordering drinks in future.

UPDATE – June 2019 : CLOSED

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Harveys Fish Market, Oyster Bar & Restaurant – not the plaice to go!

Harveys of Ramsgate, part of Kent Inns of Distinction, is marketed as a dedicated seafood restaurant  using locally landed fish. A fabulous idea, in theory.

Celebrity TV chef John Burton-Race of the Michelin-starred New Angel in Dartmouth is connected with it, loosely I hope, based on the standards achieved here, both in terms off food and service.

I can not see this place, surviving  the winter. I certainly will not be returning or recommending this unjustifiably overpriced venue. Neither the food quality or the level of service matched the look of the venue. Bland Fish, and one of the worst deserts I have ever had (hard meringue!). Plates passed across my companion at the table, come on – anywhere that typically charges £20 for mains, needs to deliver something a bit special. Then there is the ambience issue,  sitting next to a large noisy table of 10 in a half empty restaurant is far from ideal. This is most definitely not my idea of “fine dining”.

Its pretension without the quality, delivering expensive badly cooked food. Just another “Faux Gourmet” experience.

They could have done so much more in this prime location overlooking Ramsgate Royal Harbour.

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UPDATE October 2009 : Made a return visit to Harveys after all, in light of comments and the award of an AA Rosette. For details see Harveys Fish Market, Oyster Bar & Restaurant – still not the plaice to go!.

UPDATE April 2010 – Back in Ramsgate, this time to try Eddie Gilberts. For details see Eddie Gilberts – reasons to leave London? (Eddie Gilberts 7, Harveys 2)

UPDATE October 2010 – About time!  Harveys is finally closed – RIP please! For more information see post from Isle One.

 

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