Review: The Lodge at Prince’s Sandwich
- Credit: Archant
The area around Sandwich is a golfer’s paradise and The Lodge at Prince’s provides the ideal venue to stay in smart, comfortable accommodation and enjoy a meal at the Brasserie to set you up for a few rounds on the links
You don’t have to be a golfer to appreciate a stay at Prince’s, but it probably helps and certainly the majority of guests at The Lodge are attracted by 27 holes of championship Links golf, practice facilities and a clubhouse.
On the same stretch of coastline as Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club and next to the Royal St George’s golf club, it’s even got its own history room. Here fascinating documents and photographs have been painstakingly gathered and beautifully displayed by John Gardner, the Club’s archivist. He used to play here when he worked in London and loved it so much he moved his family down to Sandwich once he retired. Daughter Ali is now the business development manager at The Lodge.
So what did this non-golfer make of it? Well, the fantastic drive along a private coastal road to get here, with views across the Channel and over to the White Cliffs of Ramsgate on one side and sweeping golf links on the other, certainly sets the scene.
Then there was my room – which isn’t called The Bay Suite for nothing. Fabulous views of the bay (with two seats placed to catch the outlook at its best) and those vast skies that east Kent does so brilliantly.
I’d arrived early, but reception didn’t bat an eyelid, a club sandwich was conjured out of nowhere and after a quick explore of The Lodge (quiet because the world was out golfing) I was able to easily hook up to the free WiFi and catch up on the day job.
The Lodge opened in May 2012 and is based on the original 1906 building which burnt down some 30 years ago. It offers 12 bedrooms across two floors and two suites, all en suite, all with tea and coffee-making facilities and plenty of storage for your clubs.
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All rooms are designed on clean, modern lines with large, comfy beds and excellent bathrooms (great showers). The Lodge Houses offer a further 12 two-bedroom apartments each with their own lounge, popular with groups and societies.
My Work Colleague joined me for dinner in the Brasserie on the Bay, which is open to residents and non-residents and can seat 76. A contemporary, stylish space warmed by a wood-burning stove, a splash of colour is provided by local coastal scenes.
James Noakes, the Operations Manager, was knowledgeable and passionate about the menu, which combines ambition with dedicated seasonality. Support for local foraging opportunities and local produce shines through; this was notable in my crab tian, lifted from blandness by the accompaniment of tangy wild garlic pesto.
Similarly, the white truffle oil with MWC’s mushroom velouté added a real richness and depth of flavour to the dish.
Less successful was my wood pigeon, cooked sous-vide but seemingly not for long enough as I could barely cut through it; the accompanying French-style petit pois and pea shoots were also insipid.
However, my beef-fan colleague was very happy with her sirloin, which proved juicy and flavoursome, and she particularly liked the glazed button onions alongside.
Puddings redeemed the show – I loved my chocolate marquise (star ingredient by the Kent Dark Chocolate Company) with honeycomb and black cherry ice cream, while MWC’s favourite crème brûlée was enhanced by a subtle Earl Grey ice cream.
Our (recommended) drinks included an Eldferflow Bubbly, Chapel Down Bacchus and a delicious dessert wine called Westwell.
Service throughout was informed and friendly, but I have never been served three courses in under an hour: more awareness of digestion and timing would be helpfu.
Lucky me got to stay the night, but breakfast again revealed some anomalies; the request for a familiar classic produced a heap of cold smoked salmon and a separate slice of toast bearing lukewarm scrambled egg, rather than both cooked together.
However, all in all, this is a perfect overnight base for the golf enthusiast with an appreciation of local ingredients.
Where: Prince’s Golf Club, The Lodge & Brasserie on the Bay
Princes Drive, Sandwich Bay, Sandwich CT13 9QB
What: Contemporary restaurant, open to residents and non-residents
When: lunch 12pm - 2pm, dinner 6.30pm-9pm
How much: Dinner: two course £25.50, three courses £32.50
Meet the chef
Tell us a bit about you
My inspiration to become a chef came from the tradition of my home and family in the Ukraine. When I moved to the UK, I studied at Thanet College in Broadstairs then moved to London to work under Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett at Murano in Mayfair. I worked in other fine dining restaurants in London before moving back to the area to work with Ricky Smith at The Lodge at Prince’s Golf.
Your main local suppliers?
All our meat is sourced from Preston and Borgdale Butchers, our fish is from Jenkins of Deal and fruit and vegetables from The Fruit Bowl in Sandwich. My head chef Ricky Smith is a keen forager and we often take a coastal walk in quiet times to source wild produce grown on our doorstep.
Your signature dish?
I love pasta, it’s one of my favourite things to make, my favourite being local crab with squid ink linguine, wild garlic and asparagus.
Your top cookery tip?
Never take shortcuts or overcomplicate what you’re making, let the quality of the ingredients shine..
Who has influenced you most?
Angela Hartnett – London was a baptism of fire but she inspired me to better myself, worked with passion and produced the most amazing, delicate flavours from minimal ingredients and all with little fuss.
Who would you love to cook for?
Raymond Blanc, he is an inspiration.
What did you have for breakfast today?
Local smoked kippers with free-range eggs, simple but so fresh and packed with flavour.