The Sportsman in Whitstable is a destination restaurant, well a Michelin starred gastro pub with quite a reputation. Do not even think about going there to eat without an advance reservation.
They pride themselves on their fresh ingredients. Everything is either from the garden out back or from nearby, its all about provenance here. On the whole the pride is justified as the ingredients especially the fish and vegetables are really fresh and the cooking shows them off.
We treated ourselves to some Pol Roger Champagne and started on the tasting menu (something you need to pre book or alternatively you can order from the dishes on the blackboard by the bar). We started with some pork scratchings, and to quote “Steve” the chef, the Sportsman is a pub after all. They were nothing like typical pub pork scratchings, they were delicious, as was the mustard, herring and soda bread they were served with.
We had a very nice salad (Salmagundy, which apparently means a salad made out of available ingredients), but the standout courses were the dover sole with seaweed butter and the turbot with smoked roe sauce. Our conclusion was that the meal started well and that the fish dishes were excellent, but that the quality dipped with the 2nd lamb dish (some mash would have been nice) and the desserts (can chefs get over popping candy please).
We enjoyed the meal but I must say I wasn’t as wowed by it as some other reviewers.
Oh and we finished off the day with a nice jug of Pimms at Miles Cafe Culture in Ramsgate in case you were wondering.