The Sportsman

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The coast along south-eastern tip of England is one of my favourite places to be, crisp salty wind, pebble beaches and pockets of fishing towns.

I discovered a quiet strip of the coast along the estuary of the River Swale, a trail path that meanders along the beach, behind beach huts and stretches as far as the eye can see. The walk starts next to The Sportsman, an unassuming pub by the sea.

The Sportsman is a Shepherd Neame pub that was awarded a Michelin Star in 2008. Philip and Stephen Harris took over The Sportsman in 1999 to serve good quality food in relaxed surroundings.

The Telegraph named them as the top gastropub in Great Britain and it was this very article that prompted me to call and make a booking. That was back in March 2016, it wasn’t until June 2016 that I was able to visit due to the high demand of their Tasting Menu. When the day finally came around I made my way down to Whitstable to enjoy a stroll along the harbour, a tasty seafood lunch, a beer in the sun and a walk around Reculver before heading over to The Sportsman where I was greeted by a charming pub with endearing staff.

I had booked the Tasting Menu, you can also enjoy a smaller tasting menu or choose dishes from their daily menu. I enjoyed the fact that each course was a surprise as it came out. Here’s a look at what I had that day:

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Courgette Tart, Pickled Herring with Rhubarb Jelly on Soda Bread + Lamb Liver, Cheese + Melba Toast
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Poached Egg Yolk with Smoked Eel + Coriander
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Homemade Chorizo, Caviar + Rhubarb Granita and Seaweed
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Rock Pool with Japanese inspired Dashi
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Homemade Soda Bread, Sourdough + Focaccia with Homemade Butter
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Young Vegetables pickled in Grand Cru Vinegar with Verbena, Mint and Yoghurt Dressing
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Grilled Slip Sole in Seaweed Butter
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Braised Turbot with Smoked Roe + Green Beans
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Crisped Lamb Belly with Homemade Mint Sauce
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Lamb from Monkshill Farm with Vegetables
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Elderflower Posset with Buttermilk Foam and a Deep Fried Elderflower on the side
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Rhubarb Soufflé served with Vanilla Custard Ice Cream and a Rhubarb Sauce
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Macchiato
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Dessert Tarts

The Tasting Menu was £65 per person (in 2016) for ten delicious courses, lasting for the duration of 3.5-4 hours. The coffee pictured above was not included in the price, but it was necessary for the drive back home!

Watch this short film to see how chef Stephen Harris creates his signature Slip Sole.

I have returned to The Sportsman twice since this visit, and have experienced a few variations on the menu. Including:

Herring with Apple Jelly on Rye, Cheese and Tomato biscuit, Duck with Mustard
Turbot tata with yoghurt and a soya foam
Cream of Vegetable Soup, with Vegetables from the Garden
Crab, Carrot Hollandaise
Black Bream, Pea Sauce and Pork
Rump, Slow Shoulder Roasted Lamb, with homemade Mint Sauce
Strawberry Eton Mess

 

The Sportsman, Seasalter

thesportsmanseasalter.co.uk

✌🏻 KF

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