Bowley's at The PloughBowley’s at The Plough

Tucked away in the depths of the countryside, but in fact only ten minutes from Kings Hill, is a gem of a restaurant called Bowley’s. It’s based within The Plough pub in Trottiscliffe (pronounced Trosley), in a 500-year-old building which was originally two farm cottages. The pub has an interesting recent history having been saved by the local community when it was under threat. Residents loved going there and couldn’t bear to lose it, so they clubbed together and bought the premises. The new tenant has completely refurbished the building providing a comfy, friendly pub together with a restaurant providing fine dining.

As newcomers to the pub and restaurant, we were first struck by the warm greeting from the bar and the completely relaxing atmosphere.  It felt like going back in time but with a huge upgrade! The bar area has nooks and crannies where you can just chat and chill or sit up the bar for a chat. The entrance to the restaurant leads off from the bar into a beautifully designed room.  For me, it was perfect; lighting not too bright, colours contemporary and welcoming, tables nicely spaced and the most comfortable chairs ever!

Service is professional and considered, no feeling of being rushed. There is an a la carte menu and a five-course tasting menu, so plenty of options. One of our party is gluten intolerant and the restaurant took this in their stride with great advice and adaptions when necessary.

Bowley’s has an eclectic wine list with good single vineyard choices plus a drinks menu with a variety of gins, rums, and whiskeys. We chose a Monkey 47 Dry gin, the Rioja, and a Crabbies Ginger beer.

We were brought a tasty amuse bouche to whet the appetite whilst choosing our courses. Bowley’s source local produce wherever possible and aim to choose high quality ingredients. For starters the favourite was the Whitstable crab which came with fregola pasta soaking in a delicious shellfish broth and a crab tuile. This was adapted for the gluten free by substituting squid for the gluten elements. I tried both and loved the fregola and broth but felt the addition of the squid was a game changer. Our other starter was the flavourful Alfredo Ravioli stuffed with aubergine and tomato.  Prices ranged from £6.50 to £14.75 for the crab.

Bowley's at The PloughMain courses included options for duck, pork loin, and a vegan mushroom pithivier. Seeing these on a neighbouring table I am definitely going to pop back and have the pithivier! We chose the Dexter beef which was seared, and sliced sirloin steak  accompanied by an “outstanding” terrine of brisket and chard and an inspirational side dish which included walnut and pomegranate. We also had the halibut which was sourced from Rye Harbour. It was cooked to perfection – absolutely beautiful! The accompaniment of thinly sliced fennel complemented the fish perfectly, but I was not keen on the little mousseline or addition of raw tomatoes. Between us we had side dishes of tasty Kentish potatoes with smoked butter, grilled halloumi and watermelon and a rocket and parmesan salad. Everything was beautifully presented, and portion sizes are just right. Prices ranged from £16.50 for the Pithivier to £26.75 for the halibut.

Bowley's at The PloughAs mentioned earlier, Bowley’s has incredibly comfortable chairs! This means that you want to stay longer – we spent almost 3 hours in the restaurant without even noticing it. This is a huge positive because you do not want to miss dessert here – it is the best we have experienced for some time. Between us we had the gluten free strawberries and cream which came with an “incredible” basil sorbet – it sounds unusual, but you have to try it!  We also had the delicious ‘Milk and Honey’ which included Trosley honey and my favourite herb; lemon verbena. I had the Tarte Tatin – one of the best I’ve eaten accompanied by home made ice cream. Prices range from £5.75 to £7.75 for desserts.

We are looking forward to going back to Bowley’s – the warmth, friendliness and professional service combined with the innovative food and drink are a fab addition to the local food scene. We are lucky to have them on our doorstep!

Bowley's at The PloughBowley’s at The Plough
Taylors Lane
West Malling
ME19 5DR
01732 822233