Finding the best places to eat for our readers
The King and Queen was a finalist in the 2016 Taste of Kent Awards for Kent Dining Pub of the Year. Located in the beautiful village of East Malling, it has been run by the current owner Dave and his team since 2000. Operating as a “restaurant and bar with accommodation” the King and Queen is popular with both locals and visitors from further afield.
We visited early on a hot, sunny Thursday evening and found the sheltered garden and adjacent Kings Room restaurant already busy, filled with diners relaxing with a chilled drink. Inside, the spacious bar and restaurant was cool and provided a welcoming respite from the heatwave. We were shown to our table and quickly served drinks by the professional and friendly staff.
The King and Queen has a comprehensive menu which includes a choice of pub favorites or a la carte. There are also daily specials. From the a la carte menu, we shared the crispy baby squid with lime mayo and tapas style king prawns with local wild garlic – both served with artisan sourdough. Accompanied by a crisp Sauvignon Blanc it was a perfect start to the meal. Other starters include crispy coated cockles, local goats cheese, chicken liver and bacon pate and rope grown mussels.
It took us some time to choose from the excellent selection of mains, many of which included locally sourced ingredients. We finally plumped for the 8oz grass fed sirloin steak with a local ale and Kentish blue sauce which was served with grilled tomato, mushroom and chunky chips, and the grilled fillet of sea bream with a tomato and cray fish dressing. The bream dish is normally accompanied by chorizo risotto but I went off-piste choosing the buttered local cabbage and pinched some of my partner’s moreish chunky chips to go with it. Other mains include Chart Farm venison, locally smoked hake, local old spot belly of pork and salt marsh breast of lamb.
We had little room for dessert but could not resist the local strawberry Eton mess and peach bakewell tart. Both were delicious and, followed by an espresso, proved a perfect end to the meal.
We’ve recently been lucky enough to visit a number of restaurants and we both feel that the King and Queen deserves to go to the top of the list. The difference is sheer flavour. The restaurant lists a good number of local suppliers used and this, together with a skilled kitchen, makes for a winning combination.
A special mention also needs to go to the bar and waiting staff. They are all professional, efficient and friendly. Our waiter was very young but impeccably trained – a great addition to the team.
The King and Queen is a great place to go with family or friends – a restaurant where you will find a warm friendly atmosphere, excellent service and food of the best flavour.
The King and Queen, East Malling – 01732 842752 – www.kingandqueeneastmalling.co.uk