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From a list of 5000 restaurants, 600 were nominated by the general public for the People’s Favourite Award and The Gallivant has been shortlisted as one of five finalists.
I asked a few Rye residents what their thoughts on The Gallivant were. The general feeling is that it seems to be a bit of an enigma and it is generally seen as a getaway for Londoners, or a venue for weddings.
So why was this place getting nationwide recognition, and yet still largely an unknown quantity, just three miles away? I’ve been to find out what the The Gallivant really is all about.
WHO SHOULD GO? It’s a place for anyone who really loves good food and drink and a bit of luxury. I’d call it
A Grown-Up’s haven by the sea, serving feel-good-factor food.
WHY SHOULD I GO? I’d go for one of their gourmet evenings, as a break from the kids, or for their Local’s Monday Dinner Offer, £16 for 2 courses and £20 for 3 courses. (Bookings by phone: 01797 225057) You don’t need to be staying the night at The G to enjoy their bar and restaurant.
FOOD: Surrounded by farmers’ fields and across from the sea, The Gallivant’s kitchen has a natural advantage – 95% of its fresh produce is sourced from within a ten mile radius.
Foraged wild food hand picked by Dave the forager ; seafood caught daily by Joe and John ; Romney Salt Marsh Lamb, beef and pork reared by Todd from up the road in Brookland ; game shot on the local estates, and fruit and vegetables grown by a select group of nearby farmers.
The kitchen team, led by Oliver Joyce and Kevin Bennett, also bake their own bread, cure their own bacon and serve their own filtered water instead of bottled brands.
“We operate in harmony with our surroundings.” – Owner, Harry Cragoe
LOOKS: For me, the interesting thing about The G is that it’s look is Motel on the outside, Hotel on the inside. All that’s missing to complete the trick is a neon sign. It’s prettier inside than out. Like a fig.
The restaurant is a stark vision of contrasting of whites, greys and blacks, juxtaposed by cosy sheepskins and sofas strewn with cushions. The ‘broken mirror’ light details behind the bar add a touch of mermaid’s boudoir.
There is a crackling log fire in the colder months.
VIBE: It’s a mix of clientele. I’d say relaxed. The kind of place you could wear sandals after the beach, or get really dressed up for a formal dinner and not feel out of place. Lots of Londoners, a mix of ages.
DRINKS: Possibly the only restaurant in the UK that list ONLY English sparkling wine, serving twenty-two varieties from 12 local estates. My choice is always Chapel Down Brut, made just up the road in Tenterden. It was served at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. If it’s good enough for them…
ISN’T IT A WEDDING VENUE? Yes. The G has a policy of a maximum of two weddings per month. This leaves it open to restaurant and hotel bookings for other guests.
ROOMS: Most of the rooms are along a moody, dark corridor. Open a door and you’re in a light, little, beachy, luxurious cabin. Currently undergoing refurbishments, with an emphasis on luxury and increasing the number of rooms with access to private decking areas and the grassy lawn. Click here for more
STAFF SAY: It’s a place to come to eat and relax. Here, it’s Eat Hard, Sleep Hard.We are paid a minimum of £9 per hour, above the living wage of £6.70, plus bonuses and shares of profits, so no need to leave a tip.
The Food Made Good Awards take place on March 22, and will be presented by Raymond Blanc OBE.
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Article originally published on missraemissout.com
Illustrations courtesy of The Gallivant