I cycled here... from London. I wasn't intending on coming here, we just wanted to cycle to a seaside town for Fish & Chips but our chosen venue (The Lobster Pot) was holding a wedding (how bloody inconsiderate) and I didn't think our Lycra clad, slightly soaked bodies would be welcome.
Unfortunately, Yelp hasn't really taken hold of Whitstable yet and anyway, my dying phone battery after navigating 100km meant I didn't get to spot Nik T's review. We went looking for a pub but, amazingly, all the pubs in Whitstable are packed on Saturday afternoons when the rain pours. Luckily we chanced upon this place, they not only had a large table for us in their bar area but the place was charming: An Oyster counter, a handwritten menu (not the easiest to read to be honest), locally brewed beers, rave reviews from various Sunday papers framed in the loos, polite staff, multiple rooms to keep us away from proper diners... oh it was perfect.
And not only was it perfect, but it was THE BEST FISH AND CHIPS I'VE HAD in AGES! They were delicious. And those beers were going down a treat (and simultaneously getting us drunk quite quickly). We stayed for several hours and towards the evening the restaurant area got busier but I know the next time I'm in Whitstable, I'll be back here like a shot.
Reading this weekend's stinking review in The Guardian prompted me to revisit the other stinking reviews that were previously available on Yelp, only to find they're gone (including the one I previously wrote).
So here goes again: the service was atrocious
We were told we couldn't have a dozen oysters because the kitchen was having it's break, the message relayed from chef to staff to us, chinese-whisper style, while chef was in plain sight.
The kicker? The place was completely empty.
So, we ordered three G&Ts, which took about 10 minutes to arrive and said we'd wait for chef to make his staff available for oyster shucking duties.
15 minutes later, delicious oysters in hand, we decided -like The Guardian reviewer- to never return.
Down from London or not, there's a level of service expected at the prices this place charges. This place manifestly fails to deliver.
The staff, whatever they may believe, are not dealing in the chic disinterest they may believe some of the customers may enjoy.
They're straight-up rude, a manner pretty unbecoming for such a charming building and beautiful town.
This is the best known fish restaurant in Whitstable, people travel miles to go there, and it's not unknown for celebs to visit.
You enter in a small bar that also sells fresh fish, and then into the 2 room restaurant.The first room has a lower ceiling and is slightly darker, specify the bigger room if you can.
Decor is original style, with stripped wood floor, brick walls and old furniture.
Good polite service, and efficient.
The food is good, I had Whitstable oysters to start,fresh and well presented never sure about their taste!
Then half a lobster, well done with some potato salad.
The Apricot crumble was huge
Useful wine list with some half bottle options.
Altogether a good experience, and 'tick off ' on the long list of Name places you really ought to go to.
Prices are slightly higher than average to match it's iconic status.
as the name suggests, you should really come here for their native oysters which are available only from sep to apr. at other times you can expect home grown rock oysters instead.
the freshness of their seafood is key.
no fancy service, no fancy setting and not even fancy cooking.
simple fare but guaranteed freshest ingredients.
my smoked eel starter was delectable, served with a creamed horseradish on toast.
the mussels were also really sweet and fresh leaving behind a broth so yummy that you need to polish it off with their bread.
the pan fried scallops as a main comes as 8 plump roe-in version.
simply grilled with shallots and white wine.
the whole portland cock crab is a favourite with my friends.
simply steamed and served cold with all the creamy crab roe laid on it's shell.
my whole roast local wild sea bass with garlic and rosemary, was fresh but tasted just ordinary though.
the barn like setting and big windows facing the north sea makes for a casual and relaxing atmosphere.
on a sour note, our fellow diners at the next table were the party spoilers!
they were a table of 2 elderly couples who were whiners!!
they kept sshhing the kids in our party!!!
in our humble opinion, we were not the only table with kids making noise and they certainly were within normal tolerance level.
on top of that, the acoustics of the place didnt helped and was definitely not build as such.
they even have the cheek to complain to the manager but the manager rightfully pointed out that they are indeed a family friendly business after all.
in case you are wondering about the oysters, they were not in season when we were there and hence the silence.......
Best oysters I've ever had. Yummy. I'd go back to Whitstable just for the oysters at the Oyster Fishery Company again. The fact that the seaside setting is gorgeous just makes it that much nicer. Service is especially friendly (or am I just a jaded Londoner?). Nice place.
A truly fantastic venue but really over priced for very standard food. On both occasions we've had fun 'luvvie' spotting but ultimately you go there for the food and i found we were down-grading our menu selection as the prices are more West End then North Kent.
The cod was well cooked and the (extra) chips perfect. My wife's sardines were 'nice' but she's a very forgiving diner and doesn't like to make a fuss.
Overall a bit disappointing hence the 3 star rating. (Rather than pay the exorbitant price for their oysters we went along the beach to the fishmarket and bought a dozen and an oyster knife for the same price as 1/2 doz. at the restaurant enjoyed later by the family with a bottle of chilled Prosecco.)
(I was also stupid enough to leave my wallet on the table and didn't realise until we were home (a good hour's drive away). I had business cards in it but no one had the foresight to call or email me. It was held until I picked it up though.)
Lovely place for a special occasion. The food, the atmosphere and the setting on the beach are wonderful.
The service is good and it is complete unpretensious despite having become quite the place to eat seafood.
This restaurant represents all that whitstable stands for:seafood,tradition,individuality and the beach.Oh and eye watering prices and a disregard for customer service.Food is simple but check that it is local,if not there are loads more choices in town.A tourist trap.
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