Reviewed by Pamela Draycott
In an idyllic setting, not far from Canterbury and inland from Herne Bay, this waterside inn on the banks of the River Stour is not only a bar and eating place but also provides accommodation in 6 en-suite rooms. Built in the 1830s the building has been lovingly cared for and is tastefully refurbished and newly decorated (Spring 2015). It is clean and tidy and takes into account the locality well. For example, the use of hops to decorate some areas is tastefully done. The toilets have adequate supplies of soap in them and the hand dryers work well. There is a large garden, with children’s play area, regular boat trips run from the jetty and there is a large decked area overlooking the river where a drink or meal can be enjoyed. A golden pheasant and pigs provide other entertainment for children and adults alike. Some of the eggs used in the restaurant come from the chickens and ducks who also live in the grounds. On-site parking is good.
In the restaurant area the tables are adequately spaced and the seats are comfortable. The menu, much of which is locally sourced, is varied, including a choice of main course for vegetarians, which is often not the case. Part of the menu is a tapas menu with a British twist, which makes it interesting. The wine list is perfectly adequate providing a reasonable choice of good quality wines of varying prices. A range of beers, some local, are available via the well-stocked bar.
On the evening I visited with a friend it was quiet but still there was a nice atmosphere. The background music was just that and did not make it difficult to hold a conversation. All the staff we came into contact with were pleasant and friendly, keen to please.
Our meal was cooked well, nicely presented and hot. My starter was a potato and spinach soup which was quite peppery but lovely. It was served with delicious fresh bread and butter. My friend had a chicken Caesar salad which had plenty of chicken on it and whole anchovies. My main course was a deep fried brie salad. Breadcrumbs covered the cheese. It was well cooked and not greasy or oily at all. The salad was very pleasant with a nice dressing and some very tasty olives. My friend had haddock and chips with peas and two huge pieces of bread and butter. The servings are large and unfortunately neither of us could manage a sweet but the raspberry dish sounded delicious! We completed our meal with coffee which was full-bodied but not bitter – a good blend. Our waiter, Roberto, was attentive and ‘jokey’ but without getting in the way or making us feel rushed.
Prices are mid-range and reasonable for the area and the quality. All in all a very pleasant evening with good food in nice surroundings which I thoroughly recommend.
For more information or to view menus visit www.thegroveferry.co.uk.
The Grove Ferry, Grove Road, Upstreet, Canterbury, Kent, CT3 4BP | 01277 860302