Spotlight on The Plough at Stalisfield Green, Kent Dining Pub of The Year 2010
PUBLISHED: 13:47 03 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:17 20 February 2013
Kent Dining Pub of The Year 2010 in the Taste of Kent Awards, The Plough at Stalisfield Green proudly launches our new dining pub of the month section...
Despite its very rural location, The Ploughs owners Robert and Amie Lloyd have built a thriving business in their five years at the pub, with customers travelling from all over Kent and London to eat here.
Its not hard to see why. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, the couple make use of the abundant produce on their doorstep to create dishes that sing with seasonal inspiration in a 400-year-old pub that simply exudes Kentish history all low beams, hop garlands, cosy nooks and crannies.
Neighbouring cattle farmer Richard Vant selects and rears beef cattle specifically for The Ploughs menu, giving them control from field to plate and allowing head chef Tony Jansen to traditionally dry-age the meat for the best flavour and texture.
Their friends Julie and David Murray from Snoad Farm supply rare-breed pork, other farmers supply Seasalter lamb, fruit and vegetables and local gamekeepers play a vital role too.
All their beers are now brewed in Kent and theyre adding Kentish wines to the list all the time Chapel Down, Biddenden and Meopham being the latest. While the pub has always been food-led, Bob and Amie also want people to feel comfortable to come in just for a drink. But I warn you now youre going to find it hard not to eat!
What we try to do is simple English food, really well, says Bob. Were still a pub, not a restaurant,its informal, relaxed dining and we take all the cues for our menu from the surrounding countryside.
Those cues include wild garlic picked from the woodlands, pigeon shot locally, eggs from their own chickens (until Mr Fox put got too clever). You can find our sort of dishes on many menus, but its our level of detail that makes us different, adds Bob.
Highlights from our admittedly substantial lunch (portions are on the generous side) included the crispiest of bacon, made from home-cured rare-breed locally sourced pork, the best-ever juicy moules in a gorgeous rich sauce fragrant with the apple of Biddenden cider, the lightest of suet pudding surrounding flavoursome steak and ox kidney (served with home-made ketchup and proper fat chips) and brill so spankingly fresh you could taste the sea. Yummy.
Head chef: Tony Jansen
Cookery tip: choose the cheaper cuts of meat like shoulder and belly and slow cook them, then all the work is done for you. Cheaper cuts have much more flavour
Must-have kitchen gadget: my knives and butchers saw. Id be lost without them!
Would love to cook for: Rick Stein, hes down to earth and lets his food talk for itself, which is what we try to do here.