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Kent Life reviews The Plough at Stalisfield Green

PUBLISHED: 08:39 07 December 2012 | UPDATED: 22:28 20 February 2013

Kent Life reviews The Plough at Stalisfield Green

Kent Life reviews The Plough at Stalisfield Green

When what you really want for Christmas is a bracing country walk followed by a hearty meal someone else has cooked, enjoyed by a log fire at an atmospheric old Kentish pub, The Plough at Stalisfield Green fits the bill perfectly

The Plough at Stalisfield Green



When what you really want for Christmas is a bracing country walk followed by a hearty meal someone else has cooked, enjoyed by a log fire at an atmospheric old Kentish pub, The Plough at Stalisfield Green fits the bill perfectly



Set high on the North Downs, in an area of outstanding natural beauty, its easy to think youre in the back of beyond and not just two miles from the A20 when winding country lanes finally reveal the welcome sight of The Plough at Stalisfield Green.


But theres no denying that this is a proper country pub, with a history of serving country food and local drinks for hundreds of years and justifiably popular with ramblers, who love the well-documented walks in every direction from The Plough.


Built between 1350 and 1450, the former Wealden hall house is instantly welcoming with its log fire, deep red walls and low beams.


In the large main bar theres an alcove for two just made for romance, a candle on every table and quirky details like the do not feed the farmer sign at the bar, under which the (apparently very well-fed) farmer in question invariably sits.


While food is extremely important here, The Plough is still a drinking pub, says landlord Robert Lloyd, who is as proud of his fantastic array of Kentish drinks as he is of his award-winning cuisine.


Four traditional hand pumps serve a changing selection of ales from Kentish artisan brewers such as Gadds Brewery in Ramsgate, Goachers Brewery at Maidstone and Wantsum Brewery, Canterbury.


Biddenden Bushells cider is always on draught and this is one of the few pubs in Kent to serve draught Kentish lager and Oyster Stout from the Whitstable Brewery.


The Ploughs menu both reflects its location and respects the pub's heritage, offering a staunchly seasonal menu that champions the quality produce available from local food suppliers, including Hinxton Farm Dairy, Farmer Palmer, Monkshill Farm, Hedges of Whitstable, Griggs of Hythe, The Canterbury Cheesemaker and S.W. Doughty of Doddington.


There were three of us for dinner on a busy Saturday night so we were able to make hearty inroads into the selection, which was terrific but definitely not for the fainthearted our starters ranged from pressed pigs head (more of a tasty terrine) served with tart home-made piccalilli to citrus home-cured salmon and a robust and suitably gamey trio of partridge.


To follow our choices were a classic Farmer Palmers 28-day aged Angus steak with slow-roasted tomato and chop house sauce, salty, tender brisket on a buttery bed of curly kale and Savoy cabbage with the lightest horseradish fritter in the side and roasted shoulder of the most tender salt-marsh lamb with excellent home-made mint sauce.


Its proper grub, in generous helpings, served with a smile and no hint of rushing you through your meal handy, as we all needed a breather before pudding (the choices are chalked on a blackboard brought to your table).


You cant go wrong with a sticky toffee pudding or home-made ice cream, but a poached pear and almond tart with cream cheese and rosehip sorbet showed genuine innovation and a great combination of subtle flavours.


We kept to a local theme with our drinks - Chapel Down Flint Dry and Union Dry by the glass, a pint of Gadds beer and lingered long, utterly content and reluctant to go out into the cold. Its that kind of place, and definitely worth seeking out over Christmas, preferably with a good long walk before or after your meal!




THE ESSENTIALS


Where: The Plough at Stalisfield Green


Nr Charing, Faversham ME13 0HY


01795 890256 or theplough@stalisfieldgreen.com


What: country pub serving great Kentish food and drink


Whats the damage: pressed pigs head with toast and piccalilli 6.75, 28-day aged Angus with chips, mushrooms, 17.95-19.95, sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch and vanilla ice cream, 6.50


When: Open: Tue-Fri 12pm-3pm and 6pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-11:30pm and Sun 12pm-8pm



MEET THE CHEF



Alex Windebank, head chef



Tell us a bit about you


Im originally from North London, studied at Westminster College and worked abroad for three years before moving to Kent in 2006. I have been head chef at The Plough for the last year



Whats your signature dish?


I dont think Ive personally got one, at The Plough I think it would be our pressed pigs head with Piccalilli and crispy ears



Your top tip for readers?


Always buy the best, freshest and preferably local ingredients. The cooking bit is then made a whole lot easier!



Your must-have kitchen gadget?


My ice-cream machine. Good home-made ice cream does a lot for a menu.



Who would you like to cook for?


I like getting the chance to cook for my family (especially my mum) as none of them live in the area and it is very rare that I get the chance



TAKE 3 ...


Country pubs in your area



The White Lion


Selling, Faversham ME13 9EQ


01227 752211 or whitelionselling@gmail.com


Open: Mon-Sun 12pm-3pm and 6pm-10.45pm, no food served Mon or Sun evening


This restored coaching inn close to the walks at Perry Woods is a gem of a country pub with its hop-decorated bars and open fires. Seasonal choices awaiting you include venison, bacon, chestnut and ale pie, Norfolk Bronze turkey with goose-fat roast potatoes and herb stuffing and Christmas pudding with brandy sauce.



Chequers Inn


Watery Lane, Heaverham TN15 6NP


01732 763968


Open: Tue-Thu 12pm-2pm and 6pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-9.30pm, Sun 12pm-4pm


This 15th-century village pub with roaring log fires (and a great beer garden for summer visits) offers real ale and fine wines to accompany home-cooked food ranging from huge burgers to tender lamb shanks and tasty snacks like roast beef baguette with horseradish or roast pork with apple sauce.



The Pepperbox Inn


Windmill Hill, Maidstone ME17 1LP


01622 842558 or enquiries@thepepperboxinn.co.uk


Open: Mon-Sat 12pm-2.15pm, 6.45pm-9.45pm, Sun 12pm-3pm


This family run traditional pub near Leeds Castle is on the Greensand Way and south-eastern toll ride, making it a popular choice among walkers and riders. Inside comfortable leather sofas next to large inglenook fireplaces are a welcome sight and seasonal delights include pheasant breast sauted in a Drambuie, roast venison loin in shallots and red wine and gingerbread spiced crme brle with gingerbread biscuits.









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