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|Address:||48 Harbour Street, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1AQ|
|Price: £25.00||Wine: £13.50||Champagne: £39.50|
|Opening Hours:||Thurs-Sun 12.30-3pm Thurs-Mon 6-9.30pm|
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The Williams & Brown Tapas Bar in Whitstable is totally in keeping with the classy seaside-town surroundings. It is not overstated, there are no flashing lights, it is just a simple restaurant… a simple idea that oozes quality and attention to detail.
The restaurant is predominantly a tapas bar, as the name suggests, although there are other fish dishes and paellas on the menu to maintain the Spanish theme. Estrella is the beer of choice, while the cheapest bottle of Hispanic wine comes in at £15.50.
After recommendation from our attendant to decide on five or six dishes for two people, our choices began to flow from the kitchen. The chef decided, and quite rightly, to start us off with a lighter dish – almost like serving up a starter.
The manchego with membrillo ewes’ milk cheese and quince jelly (£6.95) arrived first and blew me away. The sweet quince with the sour manchego was a match made in heaven, while the chilli it was served up with added spice to an excellent collection of flavours.
In a very European start to the meal, our next dish of Basque chorizo and salchichon (£6.25), which we combined with the left-over manchego, creating our own aperitivo.
A huge bowl of deep-fried whitebait with aioli dip (£5.95) arrived as a stop-gap before our more meaty dishes – well, we couldn’t eat in Whitstable without having a little fish! They were crispy and delicious with no hint of grease, but a good number of them were left behind as we entered the business end of the meal.
The dishes arrived at intervals of about five mintues, ensuring that each was given a proper airing on the table before the next arrived. Up next were the Albondigas meatballs in tomato ragout (£8.50), again cooked to perfection with no dryness – which can often be the downfall of a meatball dish. The tomato ragout smothered the beef, which tenderly fell apart on contact with taste buds.
Then came the most anticipated dish of the day, the beef Madrid, thinly-sliced ribeye steak, chargrilled and served with salad leaves and shavings of manchego (£12.50).
The four small pieces of steak still cooking in their own juices were top-quality. I usually go for a dollop of something with my beef, but this didn’t need it. The flavours of the meat did it all. It was an excellent dish if a little pricey for the size.
Our final choice, which opperated more as a side order towards the end, was the classic patatas bravas – deep-fried potatoes with spiced tomato sauce (£3.95). It was again a large bowl and a fair bit came home in a doggy bag.
The atmosphere was intimate, the staff were knowledgable and the food was excellent, all for £59.15.
Now Whitstable is not quite the Costa Vasca, but it is beginning to do a good impression.