When I recently returned to Broadstairs to play at the always wonderful Broadstairs Folk Week I was wandering down the High Street when my eye was taken by a rather unusual sign on a commercial premises. A place I had remembered from the year before as an eating house called Reubens seemed to have undergone a bit of a makeover. No surprise there as, in the twenty or so years I have been playing gigs here, I have seen places come and go, especially restaurants and takeaways in what is a fairly competitive market. What did surprise me, however, was the new name of the premises which appeared to have been re-designated as the Intolerant Wife! Hmm.
Half expecting a group of feminist activists to come down the street and firebomb the place, I wandered on (it was late at night). It was only later, talking to a friend of mine, that I actually found out what it was all about. A guy called Seth, who I don't know personally but is a friend of friends, has a wife who has several food intolerances / allergies and he owns the place. Can you see where I am going now with the name? The "intolerant wife" does not refer to the nature of the good lady but rather her medical condition which may explain the lack of the "sisterhood" burning effigies of men outside the door!
What I really like about the place is that they stress on their outside advertising that they cater for all, even those without allergies or intolerances. It is not some sort of exclusive club for a particular group of people but rather a very good little cafe that incidentally happens to cater for most types (if not all, I am no expert) of food allergies. I have read on at least one website that they will actually run three "stations" in the kitchen if there is any possibility of cross-contamination affecting people's intolerances / allergies.
I decided to pop in for a breakfast one day on the recommendation of a very good friend who had raved about it (my friend has no issues with allergies), saying it was the best breakfast in town. As is so often the case, local knowledge proved invaluable and I had a full brekkie which was excellent. I do not normally eat breakfast but it was pretty lunchtimeish and they still served it. I was interested to learn that they source their food as locally as possible. All this in a very friendly atmosphere with friendly staff was delightful.
Recommended, even if you do not have a problem with food and hugely recommended if you do.
Favorite Dish: The full breakfast was excellent.
In a market sector where places come and go very rapidly, and in a seasonal seaside town, the fact that this place has been going for 15 years should tell you all you really need to know.
When I play the Broadstairs Folk Week which I do every year, I try to treat myself to a meal in here, although "treat" is probably not a good expression as the prices are not overly expensive.
Broadstairs Tandoori is unusual in that is doesn't serve the usual Northen Indian food which is the staple of most "Indian" restaurants in the UK. Actually, most of these are run by Bangladeshis. As a contrast, this place serves, in addition to the usual favourites, a very good selection of Nepalese style dishes. Having been to Nepal, I can assure you they are very authentic and extremely tasty.
Service is good, although can get a bit stretched during the unusual rush of Festival Week (you need to book ahead then) and it is certainly friendly.
Elsewhere on my Broadstairs page you will see a slightly less than flattering tip on another nearby "Indian" restaurant. Why bother with it, when you have such a good place a mere two minutes walk away?
Favorite Dish: Hard to choose really. The mixed tandoori grill is excellent, although I normally go for one of the Nepalese style curries on offer.
I would recommend the various naan breads. There is one, the name of which I can't remember, but it's the speciality of the house and of Nepalese origin. I've never had it anywhere else in the UK. Just ask the waiter.
I remember this place as a very successful and good fish restaurant until relatively recently. How I wish it had stayed that way.
It is now marketing itself as a "contemporary" Asian restaurant, complete with the almost obligatory minimalist wooden decor.
In fairness to them, the service was pretty good considering that it was a busy evening. It is just a shame that the food wasn't up to the same standard. Two of our party of five had to return meals. I think that sort of speaks for itself.
My chilli beef dish was OK, but nothing more than that.
I certainly would not recommend this place.
Favorite Dish: I would be loath to recommend anything.
Update September 2012.
I promised a further update when I next visited Broadstairs I would inform the reader what was happening with the Charles Dickens. It has been bought back by the Thorley Taverns group (a very big player in East Kent) and been completely refurbished to a high standard. I did not have the opportunity to eat there on my last visit but friends whose opinion I trust say that it is very good.
Update June 2012.
Apologies to readers who know that I lke to keep my tips up to date and this information is slightly late. My last visit to Broadstairs was in Novemeber 2011 and I was shocked to see that the Charles Dickens was shut, along with it's sister pub the Prince Albert. I have many happy memories of this place both as a diner and a musician and it saddened me to see it closed and shuttered. I really do hope that someoe can restore it to it's former glory and I will update again on my next trip in August 2012.
This is effectively a large pub, which can be very busy in the summer season (specifically weekends), but it does do rather good food which is why I've put it in the restaurant tips.
Sunday is the best day, when they do traditional roast dinners and my favourite (see below). On other days, though, there is a wide selection of very good food.
There is also a restaurant upstairs with excellent sea views. Regrettably the fireworks nights in summer are no more, finished by the anti-social behaviour of youths coming into the town to cause trouble. This is a shame as they used to do a special menu here and it was a great place to watch the display but you can still get a great view over Viking Bay.
Favorite Dish: The seafood platter which consists of a huge variety of assorted seafood. Priced @ £9:95 and worth every penny.
When you consider an English seaside town you would normally think of fish and chips, and Broadstairs is very well served for that as evidenced on my other tips. However, every community in England of any size at all will have a kebab shop, generally run by Turks, Greeks or Cypriots (often now second or third generation) and Broadstairs is no exception. There are a few in town, predominantly at the top end of High Street and this one is probably my favourite. I have been eating there for many years and the fact that it is still in business in a fairly competitive market is very telling. It is effectively a takeaway but in decent weather they put a table outside as shown in the image.
Many kebab shops will carve the kebab and then leave it sitting about on a hotplate for ages which results in pretty dry and unappetising fare but Broadstairs Kebab always seems to have very tasty succulent meat. I have had other dishes from there, all good, but I usually plump for the doner kebab. Beware though that portions are very generous and even when hungry a small one is usually sufficient to fill me completely. Get them to add some chilli sauce and some pickled chillis and it is quite wonderful.
Update August 2013.
Readers of my pages will know I like to keep my tips as up to date as possible and so I am reporting that whilst I was in Broadstairs last week, playing at the ever-wonderful Broadstairs Folk Week and had my usual doner here. to be honest, I rarely eat kebabs but it is a sort of ritual when I go to Broadstairs. I have to say, I was not disappointed and it was still up to the usual high standard I expect of this establishment.
I see they now have a website which I have added.
Favorite Dish: The small doner kebab with chilli sauce and chillies.
In Albion Street there has long been a restaurant known as Phileas Fogg's and friends of mine form the area, whose advice I respect, spoke fondly of it. Strangely, in all the times I have visited Broadstairs, I never actually managed to visit it.
I have to report that as of August 2012 the place was closed for refurbishment and was to re-open as "Reeves", a fish / seafood restaurant. No date was given for the re-launch but it certainly had not happened by the third week in August when I left town. I was not really sure where to put this tip but I just wanted to share the information in case anyone was using dated reviews.
N.B. the telephone number I have provided is the new number for the premises and different from the old operation. At time of writing (20/09/2012) that number was still going to answerphone so it may not be open yet.
Update August 2013.
I do like to keep my tips as up to date as I can so I can report that the restaurant is now re-opened as "Raindells". I didn't get a chance to eat there so I cannot report on it but hopefully some other member can fill the void there.
There was quite a queue outside this Neapolitan style restaurant at the time of Broadstairs Folk Festival.
Booking is advisable.
Indoor seating and an outdoor terrace with view of Viking Bay.
Open from 12 pm seven days a week.
Other premises in Canterbury and Faversham in Kent.
A family firm since 1907. The cafe has remained unchanged since the 1950s if not longer according to a grandmother who I was talking to. She was a local lady who had been going to the bar all her life and said that the fountain had been there forever. It was not easy to take an internal photo as the place was cram jam full of families seated at tables when I visited.
Morelli's also have franchises in Harrods Department Store in London, in Monaco, in the Middle East and other cafes in the pipeline.
Favorite Dish: All sorts of plain and fancy drinks, non alcoholic.
Ice cream sundaes as well as ice cream cones and tubs with different kinds of flavoured ice cream.
Update August 2012.
I am just back from Broadstairs after a few weeks there and I can confirm that the place is still shut and being used as a sort of storeroom. I asked the owner of the adjacent pub to which it is attached, if there were any plans to re-open it and he said no. I shall leave the tip here as a personal memento of a lovely meal I had there.
Update June 2012.
My last visit to Broadstairs was in November 2011 and the place was completely closed (the restaurant, not the pub) and beng used as a storeroom. I shall be returning to play gigs in the town in early August 2012 and will update this tip as appropriate.
Update May 2011.
I like to try to keep my tips up to date , so I have to tell you that there is still a restaurant here although it is not a tapas restaurant any more. I shall leave the tip up as a reminder of an unusual culinary experiment in Broadstairs.
This restaurant is actually the old low bar of the Neptunes Hall pub (see seperate tip) and is still attached to it by a connecting door.
I happen to know that the vast majority of the food (except for the excellent local seafood) is sourced from a specialist Spanish importer. Once sourced, it is well-prepared and served in pleasant surroundings.
It's certainly not a cheap option by local standards, but worth it for a splurge. Individual tapas range from about £3 to about £7 per dish.
Favorite Dish: Kidneys braised in sherry. Very unusual, and perhaps not to everyone's taste, but I am a great lover of offal.
Further update 30/08/2012.
Readers of my other pages will know I like to keep my pages up to date when I can and it appears the Buttery has undergone yet another change of management apparently now being run by Thai people. I did not eat there on my last trip but my great friend Steve, whose judgement I trust, had his breakfast there every day for a week and informed me that the standard is excellent.
I have just had a charming VT mail from a chap called Phil who tells me he is the new chef in the Buttery and inviting me to try it under the new management. I shall certainly do so in August when I return and let you know how I get on.
I do love a good fry-up in the morning, especially after a few beers the night before! You know the sort of thing - fried eggs, bacon, sausages, beans, chips, fried bread etc. etc. This place is about as good as I know for that kind of thing. They also do very good lunches, and the prices are reasonable.
I just love the whole feel of a proper British "caff", formica tables, no-frills, just good food and plenty of it all washed down with a big mug of tea or coffee.
The cafe closes quite early on (about 3 p.m. I believe) but it's well worth getting there early for.
Favorite Dish: Full English breakfast and a big mug of builders tea.
I always have a slight problem with writing tips about what are effectively takeaway food outlets on VT. Do you classify them as restaurants or things to do or even shopping? I have developed a vague rule of thumb that if a place has got any sort of seating it should be a restaurant and if not it becomes a thing to do, hence the Star of the Sea being here. Admittedly the "dining area" is a couple of formica tables in what is effectively a takeaway shop although I opted to take my purchase to my digs which were nearby.
In a British seaside tourist town you would expect a good selection of fish and chip shops and Broadstairs certainly has this, generally of a very good standard. I have written tips about several of them here on VT. Always trusting local knowledge a dear friend had recommended I try this place and specifically the Saith and chips. The what? I have been eating fish and chips for many years, cod, haddock, whiting, plaice, you name it and I have eaten it battered or breaded although I must confess to never having even heard of Saith before. If you are vaguely interested, the attached website tells you all about it.
I was slightly surprised to be served fish and chips in a cardboard box, it more normally coming wrapped in paper (in my youth newspaper, a practice now discontinued no doubt due to some silly regulation) but it did keep it warm until I got home.
I had been told that the Saith is just like cod and the website confirms it as a member of the same family. Honestly, on eating it, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference as it was a lovely flaky, white fish almost indistinguishable from it's much more expensive cousin which has reached record prices in the UK now. The batter was crispy and not greasy at all, the chips similarly well cooked and the whole lot smothered in salt and vinegar. I am salivating now just thinking of it.
Here, however, is the best bit. I mentioned the high cost of cod etc. now but the meal you see pictured cost a ridiculously low £2:20 (August 2012 price) which is an absolute bargain. I doubt you could get a greasy cheeseburger from one of the burger chains for that money and you would be eating similarly greasy, stringly French fries instead of proper chips. I noticed on the menu board that haddock and chips was only £3, again very reasonably priced. I really do not know how they can afford to sell it this cheaply. This may explain why there are regularly queues outside although the service is fast and you never have to wait long.
If you want a well-cooked example of a British seaside classic, this place is certainly recommended.
Favorite Dish: The Saith and chips as described. A very small price for a great well-cooked meal.
I have mentioned elsewhere that there is no substitute for local knowledge and this is another good example of this. A very good friend who lives literally yards away told me it was good and so it proved.
Although this place styles itself as a sandwich bar, it is rather more than that really although I am told the sandwiches are very good. On the day in question, I was only looking for a light lunch and opted for the macaroni cheese which was exactly what was required. The macaroni was not overcooked and the very good creamy sauce was certainly cheesy enough. Other specials options included fish pie, spicy Italian meatballs and vegetable chilli woth rice. The photo gives the full list.
The place was not particularly busy and service was quick and friendly with a well turned out young lady informing me that the dish was home-made although the speed of service suggests it was undoubtedly reheated in the microwave. I have no problem with that, it is hardly Michelin starred dining and the price reflected that with the dish and a very tasty coffee all coming in at about five pounds.
The interior is pleasantly laid out and there is a lovely al fresco area to the front which is good for people watching and a necessity for smokers.
In a tourist orientated town like Broadstairs there is no shortage of cafes and this one is a bit away from the seafront but it is certainly recommended. Be aware though that despite information on some websites, when I visited in August 2012 it closed at 1500 every afternoon so basically it is a morning / early afternoon place to visit.
A visit to Morelli's is always on our itineray when visiting Broadstairs. The ice cream sundaes are beautiful.
They are always made fresh, always made with love and always tast delicious.
Favorite Dish: We always call it the Brazilian, but nowadays it's called they used to call it the Broadstairs special.
Sorry about the quality of the photo, but I hope it illustrates a point. It was taken about 9 at night, and there was still a queue of people waiting to buy takeaway fish and chips. There had been a queue there most of the day! Let's face it, no trip to the English seaside is complete without fish and chips. Broadstairs is full of places catering to this trade, but this is consistently my favourite.
As well as the takeaway, there is a small sitting area with waitress service to the rear, and the food is just excellent.
Favorite Dish: Fisherman's platter, which is goujons of various fish and seafood (including scallops) with chips, peas, a buttered roll and a big mug of tea. A classic.
I was going to say that it had taken me 17 years to get a table here, and that may well be true. I am not sure how long Posiillipo has been in Broadstairs so I can't say with certainty but I know I have played Folk Week for 17 years and never managed to get a table. What I do know is that during that week you won't have a chance of getting a table here and for various reasons, whenever I have been in the town outside high season, I have never been able to visit. On a recent "shoulder season" visit to the town, I was lucky enough to go with some friends and finally achieved my ambition. That the internationally acclaimed chef Antonio Carluccio raves about this place and calls it proper Italian cuisine was more than enough for me.
After such a period, and hearing such glowing reports from locals (always the best indicator), I was expecting something pretty special and I certainly was not disappointed. The interior is not flash and is more redolent of a proper Italian tratttoria. the fairly young waiting staff are friendly to a fault and ready to help at a moments notice. Admittedly, the table was fairly cramped (I am 6'5") but that only seemed to add to the whole local Italian family restaurant feel.
The bread with a carafe of the excellent house wine was more than enough, none of us was overly hungry. My friend had raved about the seafood linguine. I did have a forkful or two of it and it was superb, but I had opted for a cod dish which was, simply speaking, brilliant. In a sauce including lovely (and locally sourced) cherry tomatoes, it was outstanding.
The whole thig was intended as a bit of a light evening meal so I opted not to have the sweets, although the choice looked outstandingly tempting.
Although pretty crowded, the whole evening was an absolute delight and I am so glad I managed to get here after all these years. I highly recommend this place but would suggest early booking.
Favorite Dish: Well, I had the cod which was delightful but my companions seafood linguine seemed to be the hit of the night.