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|Address:||2 Church Road, Oare, Kent ME13 0QA|
|Tel:||01795 533 633|
|Price: £32.00||Wine: £12.50||Champagne: £45.00|
|Opening Hours:||Wed-Sun 12N-2.30pm (Sun -3.30pm) Wed-Sat 6-9pm (Fri-Sat -9.30pm)|
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The Three Mariners has enjoyed a lengthy reputation for serving good food. It is widely known to anyone with an interest in this county’s restaurant scene.
And in October 2012, the Oare pub was granted a Bib Gourmand, which the Michelin guide awards for “good cooking at moderate prices”. Being of sound mind, the thought of excellent food without having to dig too deep in the pocket is surely a no-brainer. It would appear I’m not alone in thinking this as the place was packed on
the sunny Monday evening we visited.
Its old-school feel is heartening and there’s no sign of the trendy modern décor associated with many gastropubs. The menu is pleasing, too, with a mixture of meat and fish without so much fancy-pants cuisine. Using Ray Winstone’s voice to describe the place, I would say “a proper pub”.
We were seated at the table, with home-made bread, salty butter and oil at no charge (always gets a thumbs-up).
A conversation with the waitress made it clear that the £16.95 set dinner menu wasn’t some sort of joke – neither was it left over from lunch to entice passing trade. Three courses it is, then!
I started with a fresh crab cocktail. The lemony taste of the salty crab-meat was served on a bed of cucumber, tomato and olives, with a suc-culent slice of avocado for good measure. The tangy Thousand Island sauce set all off perfectly.
My adventurous guest chose from the à la carte menu the grilled vegetables and burrata. The burrata is a Mozarella casing with a cream and Mozarella centre and made for a melt-in-the-mouth, rich starter.
For the main course I went for the fillet of farmed sea bass. The fish was cooked beautifully, with a crispy skin and flesh that fell apart as you
touched it. It was served with a zingy tomato and piquillo pepper salsa, which was delicious and I would have liked to have seen more of, as well as new potatoes, vegetables and a generous serving of spinach.
My guest chose the herb-crusted rump of lamb in a thick red-wine jus, with thin, crispy potatoes and vegetables. There was real plateful and I was delighted to take part in consuming it, but the sumptuous meat and strong jus beat both of us by the end.
The servings were on the large side and so we opted to share a dessert of chocolate mousse with raspberries resting on slices of banana and dripped with raspberry and chocolate sauce. The mousse was infused with popping candy, which made for a fun and imaginative end to the meal.
Here comes the Bib Gourmand bit – the total bill, including three drinks, came to a staggeringly low £51.55.
The set menu is not afraid to appeal to the masses and the quality of food is outstanding.
My recommendation is to get in there quick before the Mariners team realises the ridiculously good value that it is offering.