If I had a restaurant I’ve no idea what I’d call it. I’d spend weeks pondering puns, metaphors and alliteration to eventually end up naming it The Restaurant. I think this must be what these guys did, hopefully saving their creativity for the kitchen instead. So last week i decided to go along and try out one of Broadstairs latest openings. Restaurant 54 promises a great deal from the outset. It’s website quotes Shaw and professes to offer up “the freshest of local ingredients, brought together with a creative twist”. I’d certainly agree with the latter but i sadly found few examples of local produce being used in the two courses i undertook. This is a real shame as provenance and food miles are the current food buzz words and to not make the most of this seems somewhat short-sighted. Surely we could consume Kent crab and pork rather than that of Cornwall and Devon and remain happy patrons? The dishes i ate were of a very good standard and I particularly enjoyed the homemade spiced piccalilli that accompanied my potted Devon pork. The batter on my rather posh fish and chips was worthy of high praise and clung to the prawn, scallop, haddock and monkfish admirably. My dining companions, on the whole, had an enjoyable meal but there were a few niggles that I’d like to see ironed out. Firstly the music. I find music in restaurants annoying at the best of times. I was also under the belief that all traces of Level 42 had been burnt by one of the previous Labour governments. It would appear, however, that a solitary CD survived and is alive, well and tormenting diners in Broadstairs. i think you know what to do with it. Next up is the front of house that I found a bit cold, slow and at times jobsworthy (although they did manage to deal with all of our off-piste requests). I was also a little let down by the crab which was presented badly but tasted excellent, a side salad that was no more than a few leaves and the rather paltry portion of sea bass. My biggest issue though, is the price. I don’t think that the food is over priced as what I ate was worth the money i paid for it, but i do worry about the future of their business, £15-20 for a main is a little on the lumpy side for Broadstairs and maybe the lack of customers on a Saturday lunchtime in a summer of recession helped to prove my point. They do, to be fair, offer a very good value set lunch menu and i do genuinely hope they decide to address these issues as they have the makings of a decent restaurant, and as Shaw himself said ” If there was nothing wrong in the world there wouldn’t be anything for us to do.” So, sadly it’s 54 out of 100. For now.
54 Albion St, Broadstairs, Kent, 01843 867150.
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A gastro bar? A gastropub yes, but a gastro bar? They’re making it up, surely. Good food in a good bar, it’ll never fly. In fact, I’ll eat one of my many hats if they manage it. So off i waddled, hat safely on head. Hmmm, on arrival it would appear, however, that Peens have cleverly managed to create an atmosphere that balances the two without detriment to either. You can quench your thirst with a pint of Staropramen, sip an excellently made Mojito or glug one of the well chosen wines from the succinct list. But be warned, if you see the ladened plates teeter past you’ll be compelled to try. You can do so at the bar, at one of the tables, or, weather permitting, on the street watching the world go by. In fact why not pop down on Sunday morning and read the papers for free. The money you save can be put towards a top quality sausage sandwich (£3.50) or perhaps a premium Full English (£6.50). But, if noon has passed you needn’t be sad, you’ll be able to chose from tapas size plates such as chorizo, eggs and sautéed potatoes (£7), hearty mains including steak frites (£12) or perhaps the awesome Peens burger that comes in at just under a tenner. Go whenever you can just make sure you do, and If you drop by on Saturday you may just see me applying ketchup to my trilby.
8 Victoria Parade, Broadstairs, Kent, CT10 1QS, 01843 861289.
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Love, apparently, is a two-way street and for the past two years I’ve been unable to reciprocate the pleasure given to me by Posillipo’s. But with this column comes my chance. So here goes. I’ve probably eaten here a dozen or so times and it still makes me smile when they place my pizza in front of me. I’m sure you could spend more at Pizza Hut and certainly not get to enjoy an hour or so gazing out to sea at the defiant, all-weather swimmers. If only they knew how good the food was here they’d be digging trenches up the beach in a rush to get to my table. Though the secret seems to be out, owner Espedito manages to get couples, families, hen-nights and maybe the occasional swimmer into this lively ‘Little slice of Naples’ in Broadstairs. They can all enjoy fabulous pizza for under a tenner, great pasta dishes that cradle the freshest of seafood or a handful of meat and fish dishes that will challenge the hungriest of diners. There’s a specials board too that changes on a regular basis and to start, please do try their garlic bread with mozzarella. It’s just perfect. All of this can be washed down with an Italian beer or wine and you’ll still struggle to spend twenty pounds per person. I should know I’ve tried often enough. I suppose I could do it if I tucked into the puds, but so far I’ve never had the room. Posillipos I love you.
14 Albion Street, Broadstairs, Kent, CT10 1LU, 01843 601133.
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