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Hello foodie world!

Welcome to the No Expert food blog.   Our reviews cover restaurants, cafes, products and food related events. The opinions on these pages are our own or those of our dining companions. We’re not food experts that can describe the ins and outs of cooking techniques and ingredients so don’t expect autopsies on every dish we’ve ever eaten.  What we do know is what we like.

Not everyone will agree but we hope you might find our culinary experiences useful as some of these restaurants can be very expensive and maybe we will save you some time and money by avoiding the disappointing and recommending the very best.

No Expert has relocated to Kent, so you will now see us focusing on some of the excellent eating establishments and food related events in “The Garden of England”. 

The Blog Menu provides access to a wide range of local Guides, covering Eating & Drinking, Shopping, Art, Music & more. There’s also lots of Google Maps to help you find interesting places and events.

Vincent’s in Ramsgate

Vincent’s is a gem of a cafe in Ramsgate, one you would struggle to find without local knowledge. It’s located in Spencer Square in the little hut overlooking the Tennis Courts, I didn’t even realize that it had inside seating, but it does and it’s surprisingly spacious. It’s a friendly place serving good Coffee and homemade Cakes. The outside seating is on both sides of the hut, so you can also sit overlooking the rather stunning Vincent van Gogh sculpture.

Spencer Square leads into Addington Street which has a nice selection of independent shops, see the Addington Street section of the Ramsgate Shopping Guide for details.

Vincent’s is also located at the start point for the Vincent van Gogh self guided walking trail.

 

 

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Christmas Eating & Drinking – Ramsgate

Time to think about Christmas meals & party venues again. Here’s some help for those of you living in the Ramsgate area. Places open on Christmas day are highlighted. Click on a Restaurant Map icon to access it’s Christmas Menu or a Bar to check out it’s Christmas party options.

If you’re visiting Ramsgate and planning to stay local. Check out the Visit Ramsgate Website and the Maps & Trails page that covers Eating & Drinking, Tourist Attractions and Activities in Ramsgate.

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Wyatt & Jones – Broadstairs meets Barcelona

Wyatt & Jones overlooks Viking Bay and although generally I’ve found that there tends to be a negative correlation between ‘Food Quality’ and ‘Good Views’, specifically that ‘the better the view the more likely you are to be served mediocre food’. Wyatt & Jones is very much an exception to this ‘theory’.

I was especially impressed by thier small plates menu, I almost felt like I was transported to Barcelona, as I tucked in to our first plate of refreshing heritage tomatoes.

We ordered the chargrilled sourdough with potted shrimp butter, all the cold and all the hot small plates to share between 4 people, then added second plates of our favorites, the aforementioned tomatoes and a very moreish Welsh rarebit dish.

Everything we ordered was delicious, including a nice reasonably priced bottle of Viognier. The wine list had nearly all the bottles of wine available by the glass, so you could have a go at matching wines if you felt so inclined. Service was also efficient and friendly. Highly recommended.

 

UPDATE September 2023 : Restaurant has announced that it is closing. Now ’27 Harbor Street’, with same staff for more information click here.

 

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Pit Stop in Sandwich town for Le Weekend

A favourite breakfast venue of ours in Sandwich was the Beach Hut, but that was a while back and the location on Strand Street was taken over by the Smokehouse which didn’t seem to last very long, but we’d notice that there was a further change of ownership and the cafe was now called ‘The Pit Stop’. So when we made a visit to Sandwich for the ‘Le Weekend’ event, we made sure to make a pit stop and check out their breakfast offerings. They do several English breakfast variations, as well as, Omelettes, Eggs Royal, Eggs Benedict and various toast and sandwich options.

We had Breakfast 1 & 2, so between the two of us we had a nice range of quality ingredients. Nicely cooked bacon & mushrooms, plenty of black pudding & hash browns. An excellent breakfast all round and reasonably priced (just over £20 for two breakfasts & two coffees).

There is some nice outside seating, so it’s a great place to have a leisurely breakfast or brunch in the sunshine. Good service too, quick & friendly.

Le Weekend is an annual event in Sandwich where the town hosts a French Market and an Anglo- French Medieval Encampment. There is also Live Music and lots of stalls mainly in Market Street.

Several cafes (including the The Pit Stop) offer classic French menus over the weekend.

For more information see www.sandwichevents.org.uk

 

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The Cook’s Tale @The Ambrette – Canterbury

My first visit to The Cooks Tale (aka The Ambrette) in Canterbury was an absolute delight. Not only were the rather delicious cocktails half price (part of their Thirsty Thursday deal), but the food and service was really good.  I’ve eaten at the now closed Margate Ambrette several time so I knew to expect some really good, innovative Anglo-Indian dishes. The food was even better than I remembered. I had the Dosai as a main course and it was fantastic. I regret not being able to finish the huge portion as every mouthful was a treat.

One of my companions ordered Chicken Supreme. The Ambrette’s take on this classic dish was beautifully presented and thoroughly enjoyed.

It was definitely not from the same continent as the version of the dish you typically think off when you see Chicken Supreme on a menu.

My other companion ordered the Lamb Fillet, Lamb Kebab dish and was delighted with the beautifully cooked lamb.

We finished off our meal by sharing a plate of chocolate samosas.

I should also make a special mention of the lovely amuse-bouches. The rather tasty pea soup with hot buttered naan bread and the theatrically presented stuffed popodoms – so good.

We went a la carte but there are also a couple of tasting menus available (including a vegetarian one) which based on the level of cooking I experienced, are likely to be somewhat special.

They also had a pianist playing in the background which was a bit odd at first but we got used to it as he wasn’t loud enough to disrupt our conversation.

This has to be one of the best restaurants in Canterbury, I know it’s top of my list for a return visit.

 

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Stark – Broadstairs

I had not been to Stark since they moved a few doors down from the original ex sandwich shop in Oscar Road (their old premises is the home of their sister restaurant Dos). They are now located in a very “Instagrammable” wooden shack like building. I loved the new decor with it’s cool vibe. It felt like a little bit of San Francisco/New York in Broadstairs.

Getting a reservation in this tiny restaurant takes some doing, I needed to book a table for visiting friends so was limited on my dates, I marked my diary for 3 months in advance and basically checked their website almost daily for about two weeks after that to see if they had released a table on a suitable date. I was close to giving up on the idea when a slot popped up. (A comment from someone on my Instagram feed describes Stark as “the most difficult Michelin starred restaurant in the world to bag” – not sure that’s the case, but it takes some perseverance).

The restaurants focus is seasonal tasting menus with matching flights of wine, so you can just sit back and relax, there’s no need to waste time pouring over menus.

We started of with Kofta lollipops and tasty bits of Pork belly flavoured with mint, cucumber, yogurt and some warm crusty bread (needed to mop up the mint, cucumber & yogurt), very moreish.

After that it was a well paced delivery of beautifully presented dishes and matching wines.

Although we struggled a bit to keep up with the wine, our fault for talking so much I expect.

The standout dish for all of us was the fish – an absolute stunner of a dish simply described as Hake, Seaweed, Shrimp. With a rather lovely matching white wine.

I couldn’t eat all the dessert, a bit too much chocolate for me, as I was already full by that stage. It was served with a glass of Emilio Hidalgo PX sherry, a controversal choice at our table, as not everyone has a sweet tooth like I do. I’ve drunk a lot of different brands of PX over the years and the Hidalgo one is arguably the best, liquid heaven (I actually have a bottle in the house, unopened waiting for a suitable occasion to indulge).

Stark is not a cheap night out especially given it’s status as Thanet’s only Michelin starred restaurant.  You have to admire their bravery for realising their own vision (their hopes & fears are literally written on the ceiling & plates). They have created a wonderfully cool and relaxed atmosphere with Sophie as front of house and Ben working hard in the open kitchen.

Stark is a great destination restaurant for a special occasion.

 

UPDATE: July 23 – Sister restaurant Dos mentioned above is now closed.

 

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