Rocksalt 22

4-5 Fishmarket , Folkestone, CT19 6AA

7 reviews

45 Fish Kent

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SquareMeal Review of Rocksalt

One-time Gordon Ramsay acolyte Mark Sargeant continues to make waves at this terrific seafood eatery on Folkestone’s harbour front, with the airy ground-floor dining room and upstairs bar/terrace both capturing the phenomenal views full on. Seafood is touted as the speciality, and its shines from the very start – perhaps cucumber-cured mackerel with wasabi, ‘salty fingers’ and pickled beetroot, a lobster and salmon pasty or even of plate of Sonny’s locally smoked fish. Mains continue the squeaky-fresh maritime theme (think fritto misto or baked cod with heritage tomatoes, wild garlic and spring leeks), but the butcher also has his say with good-looking properly aged steaks, slow-cooked beef ribs or cider-braised duck leg with pears and Brighton Blue cheese. The kitchen makes its point emphatically through a simple respect for top-drawer raw materials, while desserts bring on the likes of Kentish gypsy tart or vanilla buttermilk pudding. Any murmurings about high prices are drowned out by cheers for the “stunning” location. 

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Nearby Tube/Rail Stations

Folkestone Harbour Station 287m

Folkestone Central Station 1km


Address: 4-5 Fishmarket , Folkestone CT19 6AA

Opening times

Mon-Sat 12N-3pm 7-10.30pm Sun 12N-3pm

Nearby Landmarks

Rotunda Amusement Park, Folkestone 810m

M20 Junction 13 2km


Telephone: 01303 884 633


Cuisine: Fish

Lunch: £18.50

Private Dining: 14


Food & Drink: 8.3

Service: 7.0

Atmosphere: 7.6

Value: 6.7

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

SIMON C. 27 February 2015

On arrival at ROCKSALT we were welcomed by the restaurant manager very politely and professionally. We were early so went top the bar above the restaurant. The bar staff were very polite and very professional. Unfortunately there was an unpleasant smell coming from the toilet door area, which was off putting. When we were ready for our reservation, we were shown our table and we sat down with our menus. Again unfortunately it took at least 20 to 25 minutes for our waiter/waitress to ask if we wanted any drinks. In fact I had to ask a waiter for this service. Our meals were generally very nice, however the potato gratin was very oily. I would like to go back to the ROCKSALT to see if they can improve?

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Heidi P. 11 August 2013

We had read tsome mixed reviews and were very pleased with our meal. The location is fantastic and every table has a wonderful view – if you are in a seat facing the other way, you have great mirrors that reflect the harbour scene. Service and attention to detail were great. Fair choice of dishes on the menu and prices were at the right level for a restaurant of this quality and location. We loved the “Shipping forecast” playing in the toilets… It was a birthday meal and the staff took care to make it special. If we were in the area, we would definitely visit again.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

ANDREW J. 23 April 2012

Having read about a new seafood restaurant in Folkestone harbour I was very keen to try it. I checked the website out and was happy to see the location was set with an incredible panormaic view of the english channel and fishing fleet. I booked the table for 4 people over a week in advance and requested a decent table as it was a double birthday celebration. It was all confirmed they would do their best. I arrived to find the restaurant a quarter full and when sat at our table only 3 places set. I little pedantic I know but when you pay London prices you want london service. Drinks were taken promptly however to order our food took 15 mins Then a further 25 for them to come out. I ordered Hot Shells with Fish Velouté which is a combination of clams, mussles and prawns on the shell. The sauce was cold half of shellfish had not opened and when I went to dehead a cooked prawn it burst out with blood. I called the waiter who I asked to take the plate away. The person who seemed to be in charge came over and said “the chef says that does happen” Ok. The harissa crab was unadventurous as it took some white crab most of the brown crab meat and mixed it with a little harissa paste to give it colour, a slice of bread on the side to accompany. So with our starters through and our first impressions ruined we waited for the main and we waited and we waited. I called our waiter over and said is our food coming, he went into the kitchen and said they were plating. He then returned out of the kitchen without our food, We questioned him again and he said “dont talk to me like that” and then “i wont be your waiter now” Staff not trained in manners and the kitchen staff dont know how to call service. The mains came and I have to say were decent, The turbot was thick and juicy and the cod sat well in a seafood sauce. The meal had been ruined though , slow kithcen staff accompnaied by rude and untrained front of house meant that not even the amazing view could make up for it. If your from London you wont come back. If your from Folkestone why would you.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Colin Wood 02 August 2011

After the much vaunted arrival of Folkestone’s newest restaurant the wife and I decided to give Rocksalt a try and I must say we were pleasantly surprised. Firstly, a quick word on Rocksalt’s aspect. Most seats in the restaurant will give you a panoramic view of the harbour so, if you’re like me and love to eat while enjoying a sea view then you won’t be disappointed however, having said that you certainly don’t go to a restaurant just to look at boats bobbing up and down. The menu at Rocksalt is original and impressive, as are the daily specials, and the wine list should suit most tastes. I had the Potted Crayfish Tails to start followed by a very reasonably priced and extremely tasty Rib Eye Steak cooked exactly how I asked it to be cooked (medium/well done) while my wife had a Tankard of Grilled Prawns to start with Kentish Lamb Rump as the main dish. Now my wife is a fussy eater but she loved both dishes and although I was more than happy with my own selection I have to say a little bit of “Food Envy” crept in, certainly enough to convince me what to choose on our next visit. We shared a selection of vegetables which were priced separately at £2.50 but as the portions were quite generous I’ve no real complaints there. We finished off with a Selection of Kent and Sussex Artisan Cheeses for “she-who-likes-a-cheeseboard” and I had a Selection of Rocksalt Ice Creams (home made of course), both were presented and tasted as good as the previous offerings. This was all washed down with the house Rose which was more than just palatable but it has to said was a tad expensive at £19.00 to be classed as a house wine. It was however of a very good quality and would probably be at the top end of wine lists at less impressive restaurants. The final bill came to £120, which also included a service charge of 12.5%, a bit steep you might say but, with the level of service we got on the night, I would argue that it was probably well worth it. So, would I go back again? Absolutely, my wife now cites Rocksalt as “her favourite restaurant” and I have to say it’s very near the top of my list too however, I would categorise it as a venue for high days, holidays, and special occasions which probably makes our next visit something to really look forward to.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

David J. gold reviewer 11 July 2011

As I arrive an onslaught of seagulls swoop for pickings at the ossified carcass of a herring. They pick and chew and squawk their dominance. A dinner dispute breaks out between the creatures. If they knew this rumpus was happening outside Rocksalt, they’d make a reservation and have done with it. The restaurant is on the Folkestone harbour and faces out across the English Channel and bracing sea air. If you’re unlucky you can just make out France. There’s anticipation in the town since Mark Sargeant opened his first restaurant as owner/operator. Curiosity among locals and whispers in pubs. Not since the late-70s, when Kent locations such as Folkestone, Margate and Ramsgate were family holiday destinations, have people considered the food offerings from the county known as The Garden of England. Indeed, there was little reason to back then. Now, however, as Rod Liddle recently highlighted in a piece for The Times: ‘Kent has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any of the Home Counties south of the Thames.’ Sargeant’s reasons for coming to Folkestone lie a little deeper than the foodie bubblings of the press. He was born in Kent and grew up scrubbing pots in the kitchens of the county before learning his trade at Michelin-starred Reads in Faversham. For Sargeant, returning to Kent was a move home and as he comments: “Folkestone chose me.” The salt water is in his veins. Eight-years as Head Chef at Claridges and twelve-years with Gordon Ramsay, Folkestone seems about as peaceful and removed from a conurbation as possible. Like much of the Kent coastline, there’s a washed grandeur telling of a richer past. The menu has an appeal and is largely dependent on local produce. There are a few colourful entries: red herring is quite literally the red herring jewel in the list: a beetroot-coloured mackerel smoked (by Sonny Elliot of Rock-a-Nore fisheries in Hastings) and served whole. There are traditional radishes, presented on a small wooden board, alongside an anchovy dip. Popping broad beans with mint sea salt offer an English charm, and Kentish sourdough is served with a very fine taramasalata and olive oil. A dressed harrisa crab holds the brown meat – which has more flavour than white – with crunchy toast as a spreadable-base. A sprinkle of coarse sea salt and you’re good to go. Sargeant’s response to the ingredients is considerate. His opinion of himself isn’t so high as to think that he can come to Folkestone and throw about foams and squiggles with a Michelin-hand. Instead, there’s an ancient marriage between freshly caught fish and its execution (literally and metaphorically) for the plate. In a region where fish is almost currency, respect is exhibited, for both the fish, and the men whose job it is to catch it, trawling it in before light while the town still snores. I was surprised to see a tail at one end of my pasty. Poking through like a crown. The ‘mackerel pasty’ stuffed with sausage-meat is a backside-to-front stargazy pie-inspired creation, with the tale-fin peeking through and the head removed. Sargeant did the honours and cut down the centre. Jigging with happiness. It’s like cutting into stone: you see the layers and colour-overlaps. The smell of warm pastry rises. It defies classification and is quite possibly the star of the show. The Rocksalt kitchen is capably led by Head Chef Simon Dyer and is equipped with a wood burning Josper oven to enhance the flavours of food. My ‘local mackerel with green sauce’ was way too large. Butterflied it consumed the plate. But this is no bad thing. The green sauce was a type of sauce verte with extra capers and watercress. Puddings (they’re not Desserts here), are a nostalgic reference to local classics: a light and delicious Summer Berry Pavlova, Cold Chocolate and Sea-buckthorn Fondant and a Kent Gypsy Tart to thump anything you were ever served at school. Alongside Rocksalt there is also a separate fish ‘n’ chip shop located in an old smokehouse. Above are four rooms available to provide accommodation for diners wishing to stay overnight. Charmingly, each room is named after a local fisherman. It’s more stylish chippy bolthole than the Rocksalt restaurant, and another reason to get the seagulls fighting.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

KC. 28 June 2011

Seen as a major coup in the regeneration plans for the town, there are high hopes that Rocksalt and Mark Sargeant's other outlet, the ‘posh’ fish'n chip restaurant ‘The Smokehouse’, will herald a fresh start for the neglected town. Having watched the building go up in what appeared to be record time, we were keen to book a table at the earliest opportunity, as good restaurants are few and far between in Folkestone. Others clearly had the same idea, and in the end we had to wait three weeks before we could get a slot. First impressions are extremely good. I reserved a table for three people on Saturday 25th June at lunchtime. We were among the first to arrive at 12.30pm, but the curved, wooden restaurant with its huge picture windows and simple wooden furniture soon filled up. Everything felt new and shiny and exciting and the staff were friendly, keen to explain the menu and attentive – in complete contrast to Lisa Markwell's allegedly bad service experience, published in the Independent on Sunday. Perhaps they took note, or she was in a bad mood that day. The food was … fabulous. We intended to eat only mains; in the end we each had three courses. The fish was fresh and expertly cooked; I opted for the Asparagus and Hollandaise starter and the Lemon Sole Fingers with Mushy Peas and Tartare as a main (well, it is the seaside), but will be more adventurous next time, as there is a wonderful range of fish on offer. As it is not exclusively a seafood restaurant, the waitress brought a large tray of uncooked meat to the table to explain the different cuts and prices (not sure how a vegetarian would react to that demonstration…). We didn't succumb, but it looked impressive. My companions raved about the Heritage Tomatoes and Kelly of Canterbury Goats Cheese, and the Turbot “Catch of the Day” was apparently exquisitely prepared. The puddings were a triumph. I had the superb Cold Chocolate and Sea-buckthorn Fondant, which explodes with orange flavour, while my friends plumped for Kentish Gypsy Tart and Summer Berry Pavlova. No complaints from them either, with one – a veritable foodie – declaring the lunch “faultless”. The view over the harbour wasn't great that afternoon, as the tide was out and the boats lay slumped in the mud; but when the harbour fills up, the boats are bobbing in the sunshine and Mr de Haan does something pretty with the ramshackle buildings opposite, the view will be pleasing. The upstairs bar was full when we visited and the outside terrace with its little sofa booths are sure to be popular. My only quibble was the open door policy in operation, which allowed people to walk in off the street and have a look around or wander through the restaurant to use the toilets. Noisy crowds of daytrippers ascending and descending the stairs to the bar were also an issue. Having waited three weeks for a table, I found it distracting and off-putting. Hopefully, this is a passing phase and will stop when the novelty wears off and the place settles down, but it is the reason I have marked Rocksalt down for ambience on this occasion. I wasn't too keen on the shirtless crowd sitting outside on the restaurant steps eating fish'n chips either, but perhaps I'm just being a spoilsport! In summary: fantastic food, pleasant restaurant, attentive and friendly staff, just needs a little judicial crowd control to make dining a more pleasant experience. I'll definitely be back to see how it matures.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Albion V. 26 June 2011

With a fantastic view over Folkestone Harbour, the restaurant certainly has atmosphere. We went last night (25 June) in a party of five and everyone agreed the food was wonderful. The sea bass was perfectly cooked and came with a tasty butter sauce, samphire (I have never had this before but loved it) and crushed potatoes. My husband the meat eater was able to tuck into a locally farmed steak, while the rest of us enjoyed the amazing fresh local fish. The prawns were incredible – just how you hope prawns will taste, but the never actually do. Though on the menue the pudding choices didn't bowl me over the pavlova I chose was simply the best I have ever tasted. Very much recommended.

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