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Tasty dining destinations for Valentine's Day in Kent

The Ferry House was awarded 2 AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence in 2023 CREDIT The Ferry House
The Ferry House was awarded 2 AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence in 2023 CREDIT The Ferry House

How about a delicious candlelit meal for two as a cure for any passion-induced butterflies in your stomach? Let Lindsey be your guide to the county’s most romantic restaurants…

THE FERRY HOUSE, Isle of Sheppey
A 16th-century former inn, set stunningly waterside between two wetland bird reserves, The Ferry House was awarded two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence in October. Owned by a local farming family since 2000, menu items showcase highwelfare beef and produce homegrown in the one-and-a-half-acre kitchen garden. A small plates lunch menu, a la carte dinner menu or pre-bookable dedicated vegan menu is available during February, or for Valentine’s Day, sample an array of the hyperlocal produce with a one-night special tasting menu. Staying the night in one of 11 luxury rooms will guarantee you unwind and reconnect as a couple. Where: Harty Ferry Road, Harty, ME12 4BQ. theferryhouse.co.uk

QUINCE, Westgate-on-Sea
This modern intimate bistro is not only listed in The Michelin Guide, but also rated as ‘very good’ in The Good Food Guide, so for romantic dining this is a special place. Behind the restaurant are friends and colleagues, Rafael Lopez and Ben Hughes, who have fused their British and Spanish heritages into their cooking and take great pleasure in cooking for, as well as serving guests. There’s a relaxed feeling in the restaurant, as they describe the dining room as their ‘home’ and everyone is welcome to relax and enjoy it,too. The food is creative and constantly evolving as the team respond to the seasons and the produce available locally. Where: 39 Station Road, Westgate-on-Sea, CT8 8QY. quincewestgate.co.uk

EL SOL RESTAURANT, Canterbury
Tapas makes for the best sharing plate or are quite simply nice and easy to pick from if you’re meeting on a first date! El Sol is a relatively new eatery in the town but is already proving popular. It gained a Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice award in 2023 and reviews have included the food being ‘top notch’ and the restaurant itself as an ‘authentic little gem’. There’s everything from the humble tortilla to halloumi patatas fritas, along with battered and deep-fried Manchego cheese. Round off a romantic meal with some of Spain’s famous churros and chocolate and what’s not to love? Where: 7-8 Sun Street, Canterbury, CT1 2HX. elsolrestaurant.co.uk

Great British Life: St Leonards in West Malling is an elegant and relaxed setting CREDIT Jason WainSt Leonards in West Malling is an elegant and relaxed setting CREDIT Jason Wain

ST LEONARDS, West Malling
St Leonards provides an elegant, yet relaxed setting. Local produce is showcased and celebrated with a menu that embraces British cuisine, and European influences with a twist. The restaurant reopened its doors in autumn 2023 after extensive fire damage earlier in the year but is now doing what it does best, with many locals and visitors glad to see the team back. From brunch, an a la carte menu, lunches and Wednesday steak night,there’s also an exquisite cocktail menu. Try the signature cocktail The St Leonards which blends dockyard gin, pink grapefruit, framboise liqueur and more delicious ingredients. Cheers to the return of St Leonards. Where: 47 Swan Street, West Malling, ME19 6JU. stleonardskent.co.uk

THE CLOUDBERRY RESTAURANT, Cranbrook
With Cranbrook Union Mill gracing the landscape, there is another gem which, once found, is never forgotten in this medievaltown.It’s a wonderful spot for a romantic dinner for two as there’s a relaxed and intimate atmosphere. But it’s not just a popular place to eat, itis also home forToby and Beverley who run the restaurant. With only 20 covers, locals and visitors from around the country and beyond head to the Georgian building which offers a short, focussed set menu described as ‘sophisticated and hearty’.It changes regularly using the best the season and local producers can offer. While it may be small in size, it is a must-visit. Where: Stone Street, Cranbrook, TN17 3HE. PH thecloudberryrestaurant.com

KOYLA, Ashford
For something a little different, Nepalese cuisine is a must and at Koyla you can immerse yourselves in the rich and diverse Nepalese tastes. There’s traditional (and much talked about!) momo dumplings, aromatic dal bhat and Koyla stir fry, with Gulab Jamun (a sweet dumpling) with rose-fragranced syrup and vanilla ice cream for dessert. Every dish is a celebration of authentic flavours which transport diners to the vibrant streets of Kathmandu. Shanker Pandey, founder and head chef, has more than two decades of experience and is always sharing his knowledge in Nepali cuisine. Takeaways are available for a cosy night in.. Where: Mersham Le Hatch Hythe Road, Ashford, TN25 6NH. koylakent.co.uk

 



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