B is for Broadstairs

On a stunning sunny Sunday in October we made a beeline for Broadstairs taking in the beautiful beach at Viking Bay, Breakfast at the delightful Belvidere Place Boutique B & B, the highly acclaimed Broadstairs Food Festival and the hidden delights of Bleak House.

I’d like to say we did the picturesque beach walk from Ramsgate to Broadstairs but alas we didn’t allow ourselves enough time. Instead we jumped on the regular Loop bus for the 15 minute journey to Broadstairs.

Belvidere Place

We had pre booked breakfast at Belvidere Place, Jilly Sharpe’s rather special Boutique Bed & Breakfast. It’s a beautiful quirky and artistic place with just the right level of civilized informality.

 

There was no menu, breakfast is based on whatever goodies Jilly can source locally. We were offered the choice of figs or baked apple to start. We opted for the Apple served with yogurt and just enough Muesli. Very healthy and tasty. Next course was bacon, tomatoes and egg served with toast and a delicious stuffed mushroom. Arbroath Kippers were also on offer. After a leisurely morning reading the newspapers, chatting to Jilly, her friendly staff and guests lucky enough to be staying in the much in demand 5 bed-roomed B & B, we headed off to the Broadstairs Food Festival.

Broadstairs Food Festival

The Broadstairs Food Festival is an event that attracts a lot of mainly Kent based suppliers and Restaurants. This year they had 100 plus stalls and 53,000 plus visitors over the course of 3 days. The Kitchen Theatre demonstrations were from several well known local chefs like Matt Sworder from the Corner House in Minster.  Steven Edwards who won Masterchef The Professionals in 2013  also did a session. The Kitchen Theatre presentation highlight I suspect though was from GBBO semi finalist and Broadstairs local Chetna Makan. Her session was interrupted by a surprise visit from the ever so slightly famous Paul Hollywood – check out the fun videos published by the Isle of Thanet Gazette. It’s just like being there 😉

Top Kent Restaurants like Wyatt & Jones and Rocksalt had stalls, as did Quex Barn – the wonderful deli at Quex Park.  There were tastings for Dudda’s Tun our favorite Kent Cider, and East Kent College were showing plans for their 4 star Training Hotel due to open next year.

 

We had hoped to get food from The Ambrette stall but they weren’t there this year. So for a late lunch we had some Pad Thai from an old favorite Siam Kitchen, followed by a dessert of coconut macrons and salted caramel bars from Sylvia and Terry.  We also brought some bread from McCarthys Country Store.

Bleak House

We took refuge from a very busy Broadstairs in Bleak House, which despite its uninviting entrance via the kitchen area is a lovely tranquil spot for drinks or afternoon tea.

You can pre book the formal Afternoon Tea in the Great Expectations Dining Room overlooking the garden and visit Charles Dickens study and the Smuggling Museum.

So after our lovely day out, we are certainly looking forward to next years Food Festival and to having a good few more breakfasts and afternoon teas in lovely Broadstairs.

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Launceston Place to be…or not to be?

The only regular restaurant we ever visited in London was the Foliage. We have been going there for a number of years. Now that Chris Staines is leaving we have been on the lookout for a replacement regular lunch venue. When I say regular I mean every couple of months. You can have too much of a good thing.

In fact it was a member of the Foliage staff that recommended Launceston Place.  I had not heard of the place but made a mental note to give it a try sometime. In the mean time the Great British Menu had propelled its young head chef Tristan Welch to fame. So it was with some anticipation that we visited.

At the start of the meal we were presented with a few spicy crisps tied together with a piece of ribbon bearing the restaurant name. While very cute I didn’t really enjoy starting off my meal with greasy fingers. The food was good, peaking for me with the main course of rose veal and sweetbreads. This was very good. To finish I had my first taste of Cranachan the supposedly traditional Scottish dish (I’m Scottish and had never heard of it or had it while growing up!). It was nicely presented although I suspect a traditional Scot might not recognise it. It was okay not something to rave about unfortunately.

On the way out we bumped into Tristan and had a long conversation with him. He really is a very friendly young guy and we wish him well in the future as he really is a talented chef.

Lauceston Place has 2 AA Rosettes, I suspect a third one is not too far away.

Launceston Place was also a venue on Celebrity Master Chef this year, the winner made a point of mentioning how useful her time there was. Tristan has also been a guest chef on Saturday Kitchen.

Update :  October 2009 – This years Professional Master Chef winner Steve Groves is also on the staff.

Update : February 2010 – The Restaurant has just been awarded its 3rd AA Rosette.

Update : June 2011 – Steve Groves is now working  at Roux on Parliament Square.

Update : April 2012 – There is now a new head chef at Launceston Place – see Press Release

Marks out of 10

Food 7

Service 7

Ambience 7

Launceston Place on Urbanspoon

LOCATION INFORMATION

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Alfie’s – what’s it all about!

Didn’t like the name before I visited, didn’t like the food when I visited.  Then came the bill!, I certainly didn’t like that.

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Alfies at the Bermondsey Square Hotel is not cheap, we went shortly after it opened when they were doing an introductory 50% discount, even with the discount I felt completely ripped off.

For starters I had asparagus with egg (expecting a nice runny egg to dip the asparagus in – got a hard boiled egg and some horrid mushroom sauce).  Then it just got worse, more of the disgusting gravy with my next course, it wasn’t the mushroom sauce but something rather close in taste and consistency.

We ordered a bottle of Chablis for about £26, and like the food it was decidedly inferior, basically I can only describe it as plonk.

This place is way below the standards of the other restaurants in the area.  How it can be described as “a significant addition to Bermondsey’s burgeoning foodie scene”  or as “a place that champions fresh English dishes” is a joke.  I rather wonder if the people who wrote this “advertising copy” actually ate there!

Marks out of 10

Food 2

Service 4

Ambience 2

Alfie's Bar & Kitchen (at Bermondsey Square Hotel) on Urbanspoon

UPDATE December 2010 – Alfie’s now have a new chef;  not sure I can bring myself to go back though.

UPDATE January 2011 – In a few weeks time Masterchef Judge Gregg Wallace is opening a new restaurant in the Hotel, replacing Alfies, see Big Hospitality Artical for details.

UPDATE April 2012 – Have yet to read a positive review of the restaurant (Greggs Table).

UPDATE September 2012 – The Hotel and restaurant are currently being used for the reality show Hotel GB – have to say that the place seems to be more about PR than food.

 

LOCATION INFORMATION
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