Age and Sons, Broadstairs, reviewed

Runner up for best restaurant in The Independent Food and Drink Awards 2009 and awarded a Bib Gourmand from Michelin, this family run restaurant in Ramsgate with fish at the heart of its menu is definitely one to watch

Age and Sons, Broadstairs, reviewed

Runner up for best restaurant in The Independent Food and Drink Awards 2009 and awarded a Bib Gourmand from Michelin, this family run restaurant in Ramsgate with fish at the heart of its menu is definitely one to watch

Set over two floors of a converted Victorian warehouse within a leafy courtyard in Ramsgate, Age & Sons serves delicious seasonal food prepared by talented young chef-patron, Toby Leigh, who set up the restaurant two years ago with his sister.

Toby says Harriet had a better head than he did for painting the rafters in the upstairs dining room, which is now attractively open. The floors are a lovely rich, warm wood,  the tables are laid with crisp linen and unusual side plates add a touch of individuality. The whole restaurant has an airy and light atmosphere, but I must admit I was glad that the music was only playing downstairs in the caf�, where you can have the equivalent of a bar meal.

A young man of passion and strong opinions, Toby also has excellent cookery credentials. He was taught by Rowley Leigh, from Le Caf� Anglais, and then went on to work for Heston Blumenthal.

A chance visit to Ramsgate because his mother Helen wanted to live by the sea led to Toby renovating what was once an old wine warehouse, built by Page & Sons, family wine merchants who’ve been operating from Ramsgate since 1804.

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By the time they happened upon Charlotte Court, Page & Sons had long since moved to larger premises and the ‘P’ had fallen off the facade. Age & Sons was born.

I discussed with Toby the relative merits of the rice which went into my risotto with girolles. As a half-Italian, I can say authoritatively that carnaroli is considered the rice of choice in Italy, but Arborio is, in my opinion easier to cook with: and this is the rice Toby chooses. In addition Toby gives me a hint: use mascarpone instead of cream in a risotto.

My companion chose the partridge and was most happy with this starter. For our mains, we both selected fish: I had a Dover sole with brown shrimps and she opted for the sea bass with purple sprouting broccoli. Savoy cabbage was a delicious seasonal accompaniment.

The accompanying wines from a well-stocked wine-list were excellent, with six different whites and six reds available by the glass. My companion and I had a C�te de Gascoigne, Domaine de Saint-Lannes, and a Trienne Les Aureliens Blanc, both very good. Even the red I selected, a Valpolicella, carried the advice to clients not to worry about “that wine you learned to avoid in the past!”

With the desserts, Toby truly came into his own and the Folkestone pudding pie, a rice pudding atop raisins, in a pie base, was delicious. My plum tart also demonstrated that Toby is a wizard with pastry, and his crab apple ice cream was utterly delightful. In between courses we had been offered a cucumber sorbet, which was an interesting example of Toby’s versatility in choosing local ingredients.

Toby uses the wonderful Brogdale butchers for meat and game, fish from Rye, vegetables from Prentis in Broadstairs, and he has a healthy interest in getting the freshest produce to stimulate ideas for a menu that may change daily.

Should anyone think this may be too ‘highbrow’ for Ramsgate, you can also find great staples such as beef burgers, fish cakes, sausages and steak.

Toby is a strong and confident chef and Age and Son is a valuable asset for the town and sure to be busy this Christmas, so do book early.  

CONTACT

Age and Sons

Charlotte Court

Ramsgate CT11 8HE

01843 851515 or info@ageandsons.co.uk

Typical prices: Risotto with cavalo nero and taleggio �6, sea bass with lentils, purple sprouting broccoli and Granville sauce �14.50, fillet of beef with thrice-cooked chips, watercress and horseradish �19.50.

Christmas menu: two set menus, �22.50 or �45

Restaurant open: caf� and restaurant Sat-Tue 9am-11pm, Sun 9am-5pm, closed Mon

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