Food review: The Plough, Langley
PUBLISHED: 12:19 04 September 2017
Manu Palomeque 07977074797
A close-knit family team has created a sophisticated, elegant setting for contemporary British dishes with a modern twist
The Plough is a stylish gastro pub that has undergone some radical changes very much for the better since opening under new ownership last November,
Despite a rather challenging position on a busy junction in the village of Langley, the beautifully refurbished interior is a wonderful distraction from the hum of traffic noise.
The main dining room – all dark wooden floorboards, an eclectic mix of solid oak and mahogany tables and chairs, taxidermy, tabletop candelabras, with inky grey walls and gauzy drapes in the same colour spectrum at the windows – is a dramatic stunner.
Seating 74, it’s a big space dominated by a theatre-style window onto the open kitchen, which is always entertaining for diners – and very brave of the chefs, who include the renowned David Marshall, who started his career path in five-star London restaurants.
David joins us and explains how he’d planned to take early retirement back in February 2016 but how his daughter Jasmine’s partner, Shaw Cavill (landlord at sister pub The Chequers in Loose), persuaded him to become his business partner in a new pub venture down the road.
David saw the kitchen, and the potential of a place like The Plough, and changed his mind about hanging up his chef’s whites ….
Now Shaw and Jasmine, David and his wife Maria, who runs a local wedding cake business, are the power behind The Plough and have all worked tirelessly throughout the renovation process – Maria and Jasmine having both been closely involved with the interior design.
They have also thought carefully and cleverly about the food offer and one of the reasons the place is so busy mid week is that the introduction of themed nights has proved extremely popular with diners of all ages; family groups on our visit included young (well-behaved) children as well as couples and groups of friends.
It’s also highy affordable. On Mondays you get the chance to enjoy the set menu at very reasonable £15 per person, pay an extra fiver on Tuesdays for the four-course taster menu, Wednesdays it’s steak night (£29 per couple) and Thursday is for seafood fans with lobster thermidor on the menu at just £15 each.
David had already set aside a chateaubriand for two and it seemed rude not to, especially as it helped us choose starters that would complement our meaty main.
My pan-seared tiger prawns came with samphire and deliciously garlicky and parsley butter sauce, with a great big hunk of (deceptively light) home-made foccacia to mop up all those lovely juices.
Across the table, My Dining Companion thoroughly enjoyed his grilled squid with seared scallops, especially the clever way the cucumber, lime and coriander tartare and the harissa sauce combined elements of cool and hot that added pleasing taste contrasts to the dish.
On to the main event, an impressively large steak, cooked medium rare as requested and beautifully tender – however, I could have done with a classic accompaniment such as a Béarnaise sauce, maybe some mushrooms and green beans. The fries, served in a little silver pot, were perfectly thin, crispy and hot – and the watercress added a tangy tangle of green.
A particular treat here is that you can sample any of the wines on the luscious list by the glass, a move I’d love more restaurants to embrace. This gave us the chance to enjoy David’s recommendation of a 2008 William Charriat Mourout Irancy, a smooth and fruity Burgundy that benefited from being allowed to breathe and went beautifully with the steak.
Puddings continue the high standards. Mine an elegant, grown-up little lemon tart with Gin and tonic syrup and a scoop of raspberry sorbet, MDC’s a positively childlike indulgence of banana parfait and peanut brittle with artful dollops of chocolate sauce around the edge of the plate. He found it too sweet – quel surprise.
Service by lovely waitress Heather was superb, she was friendly, knowledgeable and added a great deal to the experience of dining here.
Where: The Plough, Sutton Road, Langley, nr Maidstone ME17 3LX
01622 842555, www.theploughlangley.co.uk
What: affordable, stylish, family friendly gastro-pub
When: open Mon-Sat, 12pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-8pm
How much: grilled squid with seared scallop £7.50, slow roast rump of lamb, sweetbreads and cutlet £19.50, ginger and peach cheesecake £7