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.
Despite the title of this post we were not actually staying at the newly opened Albion House Hotel. Although we did find ourselves spending a substantial part of the Weekend there. We started with Champagne Afternoon Tea on the Saturday and returned the next day for our Sunday Lunch.
The Hotel which is open to non residents is quite lovely, perched up on the East Cliff of Ramsgate. The building has been substantially renovated during its conversion to a luxury boutique hotel, it now combines Regency splendor with lots of innovative modern designer touches courtesy I believe of Fontaine Decorative a local company who source stunning French Furniture and Decorative items.
The Hotel is in preview mode at the moment. The plan is to concentrate on the Town Bar and the Hotel Rooms themselves before they make full use of the Dining room. They also have some exciting plans for the Cellar.
Champagne Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea is in the Town Bar. Sandwiches, Tea and Champagne are served at your table. Cakes are laid out buffet style on the table by the window. It’s very much a case of eating as much as you want, as extra sandwiches are brought out on request. The Earl Grey Tea I ordered was particularly good, it’s from a company called Canton Tea and had a strong Vanilla flavour.
The Sunday Lunch menu is pretty much as expected, a small selection of starters, a couple of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes for the main course with dessert options and/or cheese to complete the meal. Lunch and Dinner are served in the Dining Room located at the front of the Hotel. It’s an attractive room with beautiful large fire places and quite spectacular views of Ramsgate Royal Harbour – an ideal place to watch the sun set.
We ordered the Pork belly, scallops, apple puree & red vein sorrel and Wood pigeon breast with frisse & oak leaf salad. The Wood pigeon was served only slightly pink (so if you like it pink, best to say when ordering). We followed this with some nicely cooked Lime & jerk spiced sea bass, potato cake and samphire accompanied by a rather nice bottle of Albarino – the hotel has some excellent options on their wine list. Then for dessert we had Dark chocolate torte with white chocolate cream and raspberries and Vodka, lemon & lime posset with mixed berry compote, accompanied by a couple of glasses of Dessert Wine.
The Hotel is a real asset to the area and we look forward to returning soon as we still have to work our way through the bar snacks in the lovely Town Bar 😉
UPDATE : June 2015 – Had some decent platters from the Town Bar Menu, a meat and a fish one (see above picture). The menu also included Sliders and Salad options.
UPDATE: August 2015 – They have extended the Town Bar menu, there is now a daily brunch menu from 10:00 – 16:00.
UPDATE: July 2016 – The layout and menu structure has now changed, the Dining room and Town Bar are now called Townleys, a more casual menu is provided.
UPDATE : August 2021 – Townleys renamed The Dining Rooms.
UPDATE : August 2022 – Have made several visits now for Breakfast, Dinner & Cocktails. They continue to serve well cooked fairly traditional British food and the Cocktails & service are also very good.
UPDATE – Under new Management from 8/3/19 – now called Eats ‘n’ Beats
If approaching Addington Street from the coastal side, you will find the VinylHead Cafe at the far end of the street. The Cafe has a fantastic ambience. I actually think that it is the coolest cafe in Thanet. It attracts a lot of Artists and Musicians and at the weekend there are occasional Open Mic sessions and live music.
Vinylhead is licensed and serves good coffee and homemade cakes. For more substantial food check out the kitchen menu.
Another highlight is the attractive outside courtyard with its stylish seaside themed mosaic and huge cantilever parsol.
UPDATE: Closed – Premises now leased to the Seasbird Cafe Bar.
I’d like to say we did the picturesque beach walk from Ramsgate to Broadstairs but alas we didn’t allow ourselves enough time. Instead we jumped on the regular Loop bus for the 15 minute journey to Broadstairs.
We had pre booked breakfast at Belvidere Place, Jilly Sharpe’s rather special Boutique Bed & Breakfast. It’s a beautiful quirky and artistic place with just the right level of civilized informality.
There was no menu, breakfast is based on whatever goodies Jilly can source locally. We were offered the choice of figs or baked apple to start. We opted for the Apple served with yogurt and just enough Muesli. Very healthy and tasty. Next course was bacon, tomatoes and egg served with toast and a delicious stuffed mushroom. Arbroath Kippers were also on offer. After a leisurely morning reading the newspapers, chatting to Jilly, her friendly staff and guests lucky enough to be staying in the much in demand 5 bed-roomed B & B, we headed off to the Broadstairs Food Festival.
UPDATE – Under new Management.
Broadstairs Food Festival
The Broadstairs Food Festival is an event that attracts a lot of mainly Kent based suppliers and Restaurants. This year they had 100 plus stalls and 53,000 plus visitors over the course of 3 days. The Kitchen Theatre demonstrations were from several well known local chefs like Matt Sworder from the Corner House in Minster. Steven Edwards who won Masterchef The Professionals in 2013 also did a session. The Kitchen Theatre presentation highlight I suspect though was from GBBO semi finalist and Broadstairs local Chetna Makan. Her session was interrupted by a surprise visit from the ever so slightly famous Paul Hollywood – check out the fun videos published by the Isle of Thanet Gazette. It’s just like being there 😉
We had already done a bit of research so had our lunch and afternoon tea spots picked out.
Digging the – Allotment Cafe : Now Poppys Kitchen
For lunch we headed for the Allotment Cafe, somewhere you would be lucky to find in passing. It’s tucked away in the back room of a High Street shop. It is a pleasant spot with a wall decorated with foodie goodies and a small outside seating area.
We shared a Mezze and a cheese plater. The food like the Cafe name suggests is very ingredient focused. The Salads were fresh and tasty, the Olives in the Mezze were huge and succulent and the sweet pickle and pear served with the Cheese was a treat. We would definitely recommended this place.
Delighted with the – Keep House Tea Room :CLOSED
With its own little light museum, this new Tea Room opposite Deal Castle is a bit special. The room is modern, stylish, and quirky.
They do a range of Teas and Tisanes (Herbal Infusions), which are served in pretty China cups. It’s a lovely spot for Afternoon Tea, especially on a sunny afternoon with the light streaming in. We had a pot of Peppermint Tea and a piece of their delicious Dutch Apple Cake and Rhubarb and Custard Cake, both of which were delightfully light and moist. There are also several nice extra touches like the tiny almond biscuits and chocolate cake delivered unbidden with the Tea and the packs of Fizzers included in with the bill.
We also popped into the No Name Shop, for some bread and cheese – their Walnut Bread is excellent.
Chocolate and Christmas are synonymous, which is why the opening of the Chocolate Lounge in Ramsgate Royal Harbour is particularly fortuitous. Just as the sun was setting over the Harbour we took a stroll down to the Marina where the yachts and boats were lit up with Christmas lights, to check out this new addition to Ramsgate’s culinary scene. Clareys Chocolate lounge is built into the Arches. It is a spacious room complete with comfortable sofas and Chandeliers. They serve a selection of Chocolate goodies including Handmade Artisan Chocolate and “Cake Pops” (truffle cakes on a stick dipped in chocolate) an interesting new trend and a fun alternative to cupcakes. They also do a selection of more traditional Cakes, serve Afternoon Tea and organize chocolate related activities. They have a late license, so you can add some alcohol to your coffee or hot chocolate well into the early hours too or you can book their mobile bar and tour the harbour.
This is an excellent use of the arch space and is possibly the only chocolate lounge in Thanet. If there is an other please let me know. Regardless I will be returning to this one to chill out and indulge in more chocolate goodness. Does White Chocolate and Cranberry count as one of my five a day? Yeah I think it does!
Wishing all our readers a Very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.
UPDATE 27/12/13 : Returned to try the Hot Chocolate with marshmallows and cream and the Cake Pops, see new pictures above.
The hot chocolate was simply delicious, it’s the best one I have tasted. The Cake Pops were very good too, you can buy them to eat in or to take away.
UPDATE 1/07/15 : The Chocolate Lounge has been rebranded as Coco Latino and has a stronger focus on the Bar. They also sell as selection of savory dishes, including a small selection of very tasty Tapas.
UPDATE 1/6/18 : Coco Latino is now open only on Friday and Saturday evenings as a Bar.