Ok I will be the first to admit, and Helen will back me up, I am not the most romantic man in Kent. I spent Valentines day Watching Football and nuturing a hangover from a Stag night the night before. So to get me out of a hole I’d found myself in, I treated the better half to a meal out at the much feted Plough Inn in Stalisfield. Now we must be careful as there is another very good Plough Inn which is in Lewson street, so do not confuse the two, and infact do not mention the other one when you’re in either as I did and nearly got ejected from the entire village of Stalisfield. Now the Village itself is not the easiest to find, and is another example of a quintessential Kent Village. It is hidden on the North Downs between Faversham and the M20, and the Plough is at its center.
As it was Valentines we had to book, but to be fair it wasnt too busy, and we ended up with a lovely secluded table decorated with tiny love hearts!
There was a Valentine menu available but it was the specials board we found hard to walk past. As we stood in awe at the mouth watering line up on the boards we became aware that the couple having a romantic meal under the boards were growing tired of wiping our drool off their table, so we made our choice before they could shout ‘Stranger danger’ and returned to our seats.
I went for a starter of baked Camembert and Cranberry, which as usual Helen decided she would dip into more than was socially acceptable in the 21st century. She went for the Parsnip soup which by her own description was root vegetable heaven. Yes, there is such a place.
For a main we tucked into Veal with a slightly over powering Peppercorn sauce and Helen went for the Lamb.
I can say without fear of contradiction these meat dishes were amongst the finest I can remember having! The lamb was pink and succulent, the veal literally dissolved on the tongue. So tender it is making my mouth water even writing this. ( Theres a lot of saliva in this blog , no?)
Anyway the shame was that it was gone all too quickly, I would have liked a few more vegetables and lovely baby new potatos and like I mentioned the peppercorns were a little too much, but I am not taking away from the fact the meat was of the very finest cuts and done to perfection.
Helen washed hers down with a fruity Chaple Down Rose which she loved, I was driving so had a small half of one of there locally brewed ale, Blue boar, of which they specialize in. They even had an ale which the locals had suggested the flavours that should be included and made it into the beer. I didnt try this as I have never met any of the locals , so therefore have no idea what sort of things they might have suggested!!
For dessert Helen went for Pumpkin and Milk Chocolate Ice cream (Yes children, pumpkin ice cream), and I had a Malt Chocolate cheesecake with Beetroot sorbet and shredded caramalised beetroot. The cheesecake was fluffy and light, like a mousse, ( not the sort with antlers obviously, they’re not light, and rarely fluffy.)
The sweet beetroot was an experience, my only previous experience of this, most purple of root vegetable is hiding from it in terror as a child. This was something else! If Beetroot had always tasted like this I would not have beed addicted to Mars Bars as a kid!
Ok so the vital scores
Service was exceptional! The staff were very attentive, the owner Marianne was happy to chat with us and this all contributed to a warm and welcoming family atmosphere. Complimentary fresh baked bread was served whilst we chose our meals, nothing was too much for the waiting staff, and they were all knowledgable about the drinks and the food on offer so an amazing and rare 10/10
The food was also incredible, so a mouth watering 9/10
The menu was fresh and original, mostly locally sourced and whilst not a huge choice, what was on offer was very original and interesting, so an excellent 8/10
The decor and ambience was hard to beat. I have been into some cooler decorated gastro pubs of course but this was very authentic, warm and friendly. Who doesnt love an open fire on a freezing February night? The location is also beautiful if not the easiest to find, very very hard to fault, so an excellent 9/10
And value, well it was a Valentines treat to get me out of trouble so there are some things worth paying for. With drinks, and 3 courses we spent £75 plus a tip, which I know is not super cheap, but this is pretty fine food, in a wonderful environment. So that scores a decent 8/10
So freshly baked Drum Roll………
An impressive 88% making the Plough Inn one of favourite Gastro Pubs in actual Cool Kent.
If you want a special night out, in an off the beaten track location where you are made to feel at home, give the Plough Inn at Stalisfield a go, I don’t think you’ll regret it.