<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Kent Life today click here

Restaurant review: The West House, Biddenden

PUBLISHED: 13:59 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:59 13 February 2017

Exteriors at The West House

Exteriors at The West House

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Winner of the Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Chef of the Year 2016, dining at the Michelin-starred restaurant of chef patron Graham Garrett is a treat to be savoured

Interiors at The West House Interiors at The West House

If you bumped into Graham Garrett down the pub you would be forgiven for thinking you were chatting to an ex-rocker, not the Michelin-starred chef he has become.

In one of the industry’s more bizarre twists, after a previous career as a successful rock musician, Graham did indeed defect to cooking, but still carries the down-to-earth, somewhat dishevelled air of the days when he manned the drums for bands like the YA YA and Dumb Blondes.

Music’s loss, but the food world’s gain then – and Kent’s in particular, as for the past 15 years he and Jackie, his ‘partner in life and work’, have turned The West House in Biddenden into a must-visit little piece of gastronomy heaven.

Kent Life and Kent on Sunday’s Chef of the year in our inaugural 2014 Awards, he scooped the title again in 2016 after glowing praise from our category judge who found the whole experience, food and service faultless.

Food at The West House Food at The West House

Graham brings an extraordinary pedigree to this simple dining room housed in a 16th-century weaver’s cottage, having worked for both Nico Ladenis and Richard Corrigan and cooked for government and royalty.

His food has gained the restaurant multiple awards and he has held a Michelin star since 2004 and been awarded three AA Rosettes. The West House is featured in Harden’s top restaurants list in the UK, in the 2014 book 1001 Restaurants to Experience Before You Die (Cassell) and all other major guidebooks.

It really is all about the food here, don’t be expecting starched linen and stuffy service. You enter from the street into a comfortable, wood-beamed, farmhouse-style dining room and you’ll get a warm welcome from Jackie and/or son Jake, who between them run the front of house in an intentionally informal, unobtrusive style.

Jake, as relaxed and charming as his dad, looked after us on our visit and I would thoroughly recommend just placing yourself in this family’s hands. For Graham wants to provide a unique culinary experience for diners, listing the elements which go to make his meals in simple and straightforward terms and then asking visitors to trust in what the kitchen can produce with them.

Food at The West House Food at The West House

Basically, you just decide whether you like the main ingredients and let chef take care of the rest, call 24 hours in advance if you’re vegetarian or have any other dietary requirements and something will be conjured up for you – and sit back and wait for the culinary magical mystery tour to begin.

The dishes on the ‘Just a taste’ menu go far beyond their simple descriptions, combining classic British elements with modern techniques and ruthlessly fresh and seasonal ingredients. So, for example, after hazelnut and raisin bread with proper dripping (to the delight of my northern dining chum) and a delicious mouthful of Parmesan and custard gougère, we were treated to steamed Maldon rock oyster with a tangy Thai dressing, crispy pork crackling and fried shallots.

There are recommended wines with each course, which makes the experience even more relaxed without that arduous task, so a glass of French Champagne was a superb start.

A taco shell packed with duck liver parfait, braised duck, onion marmalade and cured foie gras was the heady next course, followed by an escabeche of battered fish, cuttlefish and vegetables (matched brilliantly by a Montesierra Chardonnay/Gewurztraminer Blanco, a really refreshing, unusual blend).

That rather under-used fish, hake, followed, simply grilled and served with parmesan gnocchi, a vibrant butternut squash broth and what my notes remind me, were simply ‘the best mushrooms in the world.’

Star turn was the grilled Kentish Sika deer served with the most amazing shallot, quince and chocolate sauce, the hint of sweetness adding a richness that a powerful Bierzo Tinto, Bodegas Pitticum more than matched.

Desserts show an exquisite touch and wonderful eye for presentation – a raspberry sorbet with lemon curd and featherlight meringue, chocolate cremeaux teamed with mascarpone and a Kaffir lime ice cream to cut through the indulgence. The coffee is superb.

Book a table, then a taxi, and treat yourself to one of Kent’s finest dining experiences.

The essentials

Where: The West House, 28 High Street, Biddenden TN27 8AH

01580 291341

What: Unprentious brilliance in an historic little village restaurant

When: Open lunch 12pm-1.45, dinner 7pm-9.30pm, closed Mon

How much: three-course lunch £25; dinner £45; tasting menu £60 pp, £90 including wine selection

www.thewesthouserestaurant.co.uk

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Kent Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Kent Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Kent Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

Tue, 13:21

During December, a festive afternoon tea is a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping so we picked 9 spots that offer a seasonal afternoon tea in Kent

Read more
Tue, 11:32

Cute dogs and beer – do you need anything else? We pick 10 of the best dog-friendly pubs to bring your pooch

Read more

The ever-popular Swan in West Malling continues to draw the crowds with its imaginative all-day dining seven days a week – and a great line in cocktails

Read more
December 2017
Monday, November 27, 2017

The chef patron and owner of award-winning restaurant Chapter One is getting ahead with his Christmas preparations with a delicious recipe for mincemeat

Read more
November 2017

This new gastro-pub on Margate seafront with roots dating back to the Mods & Rockers is an exciting addition to the local dining scene

Read more
December 2017
Friday, November 17, 2017

Nothing beats finding a corner next to a crackling fire in a cosy pub, so we rounded up 12 of our favourites in Kent to escape the cold

Read more

Right opposite the pier and with a witty and stylish ocean decor, the newest seafood restaurant in Deal offers excellent service and a wide-ranging choice of dishes

Read more
Friday, November 3, 2017

We are offering one lucky winner all they need for an organic Christmas feast, with a Christmas Dinner Box from Riverford

Read more

Now owned by renowned restaurateur Mark Sargeant, The Wife of Bath offers an adventurous Northern Spanish-inspired menu, superlative accommodation and effortlessly great service

Read more
October 2017
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Working with Kent Farmers’ Market Association, we put a different market in the spotlight each month. October’s is Capel-le-Ferne

Read more
October 2017
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Kent Life Food & Drink awards 2016. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad
Kent Life Application Link


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Kent's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search