I mentioned in my January Life Update blog post that I’d taken my eldest, Ben, to a restaurant in Whitstable recently, so I thought it might be nice to do a review in case you’re ever in the area. Not sponsored, I just think it’s a lovely place to eat. The restaurant is called Samphire, and it’s one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in Kent.
It’s a small Bistro with a big emphasis on using fresh, local produce. You can see from the evening menu in particular that dishes change according to what’s in season and they source ingredients from local farms, allotments and producers in Kent and the whole of the UK.
The first time I went, I was staying in a local Air BnB. I was on a date weekend and we went to Samphire on the recommendation of our host. If I’m honest, we were hungover, so we both went straight for the full English, but it was nothing like a stereotypical greasy spoon fry-up. Bubble & squeak, incredibly tasty sausages, black pudding (not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it) and sourdough toast. All washed down with a big coffee. Perfect. But do check out the brunch menu because there are delights such as Shakshuka, Salt Beef Hash with duck egg, and Kedgeree to try out. I need to work my way through the entire menu.
When Ben and I went for lunch, I’d reserved a table beforehand, and arrived to see my name chalked onto the table, which was a nice touch. The staff are lovely and friendly, and even though it’s a small bistro, it doesn’t feel cramped. It’s nicely decorated, with pieces of art on the wall … I spotted one of Peter Cushing, who was a local back in the day.
The evening menu is a lot broader than the lunch menu but my eyes were immediately drawn to lamb meatballs on flatbread, and Ben went for fish pie. Now I rarely eat fish pie, not usually my jam (I’ve got a weird thing about mashed potato), but I can honestly say it was the most delicious fish pie I’ve ever eaten. Totally changed my mind. Gorgeous smoked fish inside with creamy, crunchy mash on top. It didn’t touch the sides.
As for my lamb meatballs, the sauce was a preserved lemon tzatziki with pine nuts sprinkled on top, served with a mixture of salad leaves. I don’t think my description has done it justice but it was delicious.
We debated having dessert – they bring out a chalkboard for you too choose from – but we decided not to. Which is a shame because we were eyeing up the table next to us as one had chosen a coconut rice pudding and the other some sort of pie that we couldn’t make out without coming across as proper stalkers. Suffice to say, it looked gorgeous.
Oh, and they also offer locally caught fish of the day and again, we had a bit of food envy looking at our neighbours’ pan-fried plaice!
There’s so much else to say about this little gem of a restaurant, but proof of the pudding is in the eating. Just go, you won’t be disappointed. And oh my god I’m so hungry now!