St Leonard’s, West Malling

Last October we were very happy to hear that St Leonard’s, Swan Street, West Malling was reopening. We had previously enjoyed tasty brunches and dinners and so were keen to visit.

On a freezing Friday it was lovely to escape to the cosy ambience of the restaurant and receive a friendly greeting from owner Terry and his staff.

I had invited my friend Nicky from Bexley for a catch up and, over a zingy mocktail called ‘On the Wagon’, we checked out the Winter set lunch menu.

We started with a couple of fresh oysters and some caraway bread with rosemary oil. The oysters were served with a fermented chilli dressing and really woke up the mouth! For starter Nicky chose the umami cep velouté which came with slow cooked egg and truffle cream, whilst I opted for sea trout with a dill blini, crème fraiche, caviar and a crunchy, linseed cracker. The other option was a salad with Kentish blue cheese dressing, pickled pear and walnuts.

For main course Nicky had the coq au vin and raved over the smooth mash potato and chicken in rich red wine with pancetta and mushrooms. I really enjoyed my choice of bream accompanied by purple sprouting broccoli, red chilli and crisp sourdough crumbs. The fish was cooked to perfection and the combination of flavours and texture perfect.

You can also add a variety of side dishes which include Mereworth beetroot salad, truffle and parmesan fries, Mereworth castle garden seasonal green, and red wine jus. We opted for the fabulous Morghew estate new potatoes with green sauce.

Prices for the Winter set lunch menu are £25 for two courses or £28 for three. Sides are extra and range between £4 and £6.

The desserts looked amazing – apple tart, peanut cake with toffee sauce or a cheese option with fig jam – but, unfortunately, we were too full to try them. However, we enjoyed an excellent double expresso and I’m already planning a return visit to try those puds!

We really enjoyed our relaxing time with delicious food at St Leonard’s and look forward to the next visit.

Open: Wednesday to Sunday.

01732 600128