A DARK and winding road through woods and across fields was the perfect prologue to a meal on the green.
Stalisfield Green, to be precise, home to The Plough, a traditional country pub built almost 600 years ago that sits proudly in the middle of nowhere. But what a gem…
A roaring fire, beams and tight bar set the tone for what was to be a cosy and delicious meal for two. Seated in old armchairs, we were greeted warmly and given a choice of drinks, almost all originating from the surrounding
area, and all definitely brewed in Kent.
We were handed our printed menus featuring meals and ingredients sourced from Kentish farmers, fishermen and brewers.Each dish had a name and the location from where it was sourced. And on consultation with our attendant we were assured of the quality ingredients available, with the old ‘We know the farmer personally’ line.
As The Plough representative had promised, we were not disappointed. To start, I opted for mussels steamed in Biddenden cider (£7.95).
Without beating about the bush, they were the best mussels I have ever eaten. They were juicy, oozing flavour and cooked to perfection, with none of the usual garlic war. Questioning the waiter on where they were from, I was told that usually the mussels used are from Hythe Bay, but because of the time of year these were from
Shetland, where the colder water was more beneficial to growth. That will do for me. My guest opted for the curried parsnip soup with sesame straws (£6.50) – the thumbs-up came as the creamy soup was polished off
without a hint of fatigue.
For mains I was swayed from the Romney mutton pie by the Farmer Palmer’s 28-day Angus steak with chips, mushroom, slow-roasted tomato and chop house sauce. I chose the rump rather than the sirloin at £16.95.
Medium rare I ordered, medium rare it arrived, an overlooked skill. The steak arrived separate to the home-cooked, crispy chips, promoting its magnitude. It was everything a steak should be, juicy but not fatty… excellently done. I almost wish I had gone for the sirloin because I can’t imagine how the higher grade tasted.
My guest went for the Monkshill Farm Kentish ranger chicken with smoked bacon (£15.25). A quick taste confirmed the presentation wasn’t just a façade – succulent with no hint of dryness.
The Plough’s home-made ice-cream (£4) – we chose the praline and chocolate-brownie flavours – was a perfectly light end to the meal.
Many businesses want to buy into the idea of locally-sourced food, but here it was done properly for just £59.75 for two. They say that if you have a good meal you will tell five people… a bad one, you will tell 15. After this
joyous experience, those figures should change.