Bistro, British, Modern European·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Quince

Silver Award

A fine neighbourhood restaurant if ever we saw one, Quince finds its home in the sleepy town of Westgate - Margate's introverted cousin – where it quietly serves locals with the sort of high-quality cooking and seamless service you might expect in a higher-profile joint. Chefs and co-owners Ben Hughes and Rafael Lopez have created something special here, serving uncomplicated, produce-focused dishes that change regularly with the seasons.

The smart dining room marries charcoal grey panelled walls with warm wooden furniture and parquet flooring. Tables are large and widely spaced, while an open kitchen at the back of the restaurant has the subliminal effect of connecting diners with the food they’re about to eat. This is important, because exceptional produce and local sourcing are both non-negotiables for the team.

The ability to elevate simple ingredients to supreme heights is a skill that many chefs fail to master, but Ben and Rafa are a gifted duo and their talent shines through on every plate. An elegant starter of prawn terrine with smoky cod's roe, charred greens and crisp sourdough toast is a thing of beauty, balancing smoky, salty and umami notes with soft and chewy textures. Elsewhere, asparagus spears and gooey soft-boiled eggs with heavily salted yolks are dressed in crunchy hazelnut butter. Main course is wonderful again; beautifully cooked hake balanced on brothy, well-seasoned beans with caramelised fennel and clams. To put it more plainly: this is food you simply want to eat.

There are flashes of such inventiveness during our meal that we experience moments of genuine glee. A non-alcoholic riff on a Bellini, for example, is served in a Champagne glass with a scoop of raspberry sorbet in the middle, which we drink through short, metallic straws as it melts. Dessert is bursting with retro appeal, a punchy, orange-soaked marmalade trifle combining vanilla-specked custard, cream, fresh sponge and chunky homemade marmalade.

The restaurant is a little quiet on our visit, but warm service and the humdrum of that open kitchen in the background goes a long way to making us feel welcome and relaxed. It might be a little off the beaten track, but Quince is a gem worth travelling for.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Bistro, British, Modern European
Cosy, Fine dining, Romantic
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Birthdays, Celebrations, Child friendly, Dates, Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating


Quince is a seasonal British restaurant in Westgate-on-Sea, serving easy going bistro-style plates that feature great local produce. Co-owners Ben Hughes and Rafael Lopez worked together at The Goods Shed in Canterbury before relocating to Westgate to set up Quince. The restaurant is just two minutes walk from the station, making it easy to visit for those coming from further afield. In addition, Quince is just ten minutes from the north Kent coastline.

The restaurant features calming interiors, from herringbone floor to a mellow grey blue colour palette. There’s a glimpse of an open kitchen at the back of the room, and the modest decor allows room for the food to take the spotlight, and Hughes and Lopez combine British and Mediterranean sensibilities in a menu that’s packed full of delicious, classic flavours. Dishes on the menu at the time of writing include pork, liver and prune terrine, grilled octopus with lentils, fennel and seaweed, wild halibut with braised leeks and cockles, and duck breast with beetroot, blackberries and hedgerow jelly. Desserts include a choice of great cheeses, with quince paste and crackers of course, and sweets like apple terrine with creme fraiche and bay leaf sugar.

A large proportion of Quince’s product comes from a radius of just 15 minutes drive from the restaurant. That includes using Kentish day boats for fish and seafood, Quez Estate Sussex beef and lamb, Longland Farm ducks and sourdough from Staple Stores in Broadstairs, as well as other local farmers for fruit and vegetables.

Meanwhile, Ben’s wife Portia heads up front-of-house, and Master of Wine Clive Barlow has curated a compact wine list that features some quality English wines from nearby vineyards such as Gusbourne, as well as bottles from further afield.


Does it do a set menu?

Yes, it offers a lunch set menu with two courses for £26 and three courses for £29.50.

Helpful? 0

Who is the head chef?

The kitchen is headed up by Ben Hughes and Rafael Lopez, previously of the The Goods Shed.

Helpful? 0


39 Station Road, Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, CT8 8QY

01843 833864 01843 833864


Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu 12:00-15:00
Fri 12:00-15:00
Sat 12:00-15:00
Sun 12:00-15:00
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 18:00-21:00
Thu 18:00-21:00
Fri 18:00-21:00
Sat 18:00-21:00
Sun Closed


Share your thoughts with other diners

Write a review

Book a table

Find a table

Sorry, you cannot spend SquareMeal vouchers here yet.

Other restaurants we like near Quince

Check availability