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 (there’s six of them), combining a “gorgeous setting” with personable service overseen by the hosts themselves. Dubbed by one fan as “simply the best restaurant in the area”, it is known to consistently excellent food and impressive wines for a reasonable price.
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 on the menu card). For more than three decades, chef 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 roast breast of Gressingham duck with squash, duck pie, pickled chanterelles and toasted hazelnuts, or roast Kentish lamb with smoked potato puree, haggis and lovage tart, roasted onion and lamb sauce. From the starters, though, lighter options such as the Salcombe crab with black raddish, XO sauce and brown crab cracker impresses, alongside beef tartare with smoked mayonnaise, raw yolk and sourdough crutons, and even the salt-baked celeriac with green apple, mushroom ketchup, pickled celery and autumn truffle. To conclude, try the famed deep lemon tart or the dark cherry soufflé. The cheeseboard is well worth a try, too.
The surroundings do their bit, too, with the manor being situated in Kent’s luscious grounds, studded with cedar trees, weeping willows and horse chestnut trees. Just outside Canterbury, other attractions are never far away, either, so why not make a weekend out of it? We promise you, it will be worth it.