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Macknade Manor, Canterbury Road
David and Rona Pitchford’s covetable Georgian manor house on the outskirts of Faversham is the very model of an unpretentious country restaurant-with-rooms, combining a “gorgeous setting” with personable service overseen by the hosts themselves. Inside, all is cosily domestic, although the refreshingly restrained menu suggests serious culinary intent (despite some determinedly old-fashioned touches and a sprinkling of food-related literary quips). For more than three decades David has honed his own version of Anglo-French cooking, relying on top-drawer ingredients and well-tutored expertise to deliver the goods. The seasons matter here, with pickings from the manor's own walled garden, local game and fish from south-coast boats deployed in harmonious ways. Examples of his “beautiful fresh local food” might include ‘fruit-fed’ loin of pork with spinach, pickled Russet apple and pork jus as well as roast breast of pheasant with spiced red cabbage, blackberry purée and celeriac, but the repertoire also accommodates more eclectic ideas – crispy crumbed king prawns with smoked paprika and lime aïoli and compressed watermelon, for example. To conclude, try the famed deep lemon tart or the hot blackberry soufflé. Impressive wines too.
SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2018 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in spring 2018. Thousands of readers took part and the results were moderated by SquareMeal’s editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The UK survey does not include any restaurants in London. Click here for the full list of SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.
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Macknade Manor, Canterbury Road
Faversham Station 704m
Selling Station 4km
M2 Junction 6 1km
M2 Junction 7 1km
Tues-Sat 12N-2pm 7-9.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 2
The first thing we noticed was that the premises were much more suitable for a fine-dining restaurant than when we last dined at Read’s rather a long time ago. The rooms have a certain restrained elegance, and we took our aperitif in the ante-room which we enjoyed with some decent mixed olive bread and canapés in the form of cheese on toast, olives and an anchovy pastry. We started the tasting menu with parsnip and apple soup, which could have done with some seasoning and perhaps a different type of apple, and this was followed by salmon, endive, seeded rye toast and some tangerine purée which made very little difference to the dish. The bacon-wrapped terrine gave a good taste of chicken though the vinegary white cabbage and the poorly distributed Agen prune added little. The monkfish on parmesan rice was quite acceptable and improved by the accompanying Chardonnay beurre blanc sauce and fennel, and it served as a nice introduction to the main of local lamb, loin and breast (we preferred the latter), and mixed vegetables. The English cheeses, Folkestone goat’s and Colston Bassett the best, which were served with an 80s selection of cream crackers, were succeeded by a very light Grand Marnier soufflé with vanilla ice cream to feed into the top. Very much as had been the case some 20 years ago we were struck by the ho-humness of this experience, which was more brasserie than manoir, and we had the impression of being in a time-warp with the old-fashioned approach - where else these days would you find the complete set of cutlery for the tasting menu set out for each diner at the start of the meal and have the vegetables (including mini corn on the cob?) for the main course individually served in a mini copper pan? Presumably there is a demand for this kind of restaurant in this neck of the woods, but it is not difficult to see why it has not kept its one-star status.
Food + drink: 4
The wife and I decided to celebrate our first year of marriage at this place.
Now being a foodie, I have heard good things about Read's, it's had a Michelin star for some time, so there standards are very high.
We arrived on time and were shown to the drinks lounge, where we would have a drink and mull over the food menu, we felt a little edgy and a bit out of place, all very swanky, but after being there for a bit, we settled into the settings and the people around us.
After looking at the menu we couldn't quite decide on what to have, so we opted for the seven course taster menu.
The food was amazing, fine dining at it's best and the service matched the food, they really did look after us.
The price of the seven course was £60 a head, quite pricey but for Michelin star service and food, it's pretty reasonable.
Our whole experience was great and one will won't forget in a long time.
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