Sunday, 20 September 2009

Now that's what I call a pub garden!

Today I found myself looking for a pub lunch on the east side of Deal. First pub was still locked at 12.15, second didn't do food and the third only did a fixed 3 course menu which seemd to only be available to locals. Heading back to Ramsgate I was glad none of the first three options had worked out as I found the Coach and Horses at Hacklinge on the Deal to Sandwich Road.

The pub with its charity bookshelf, jokes and golf memorabilia had more character than the first three combined, with just one table left it was good timing. Honesty meant later arrivals for food were turned away rather than being kept dangling. Politics is available for discussion from your hosts who predict VAT will be going up to 20%. I think they are wrong, but I was having a day off so noted rather than engaging with their views.

A classic roast went down very well, and the regular option rather than the available large meal was more than enough to fill you up. The highlight though is the pub garden which has an outdoor dining area and childrens swings and climbing frame.

To one side is a classic fruit and vegetable garden with a large greenhouse. The greenhouse has tomatoes, chilis and cucumbers. Like me Penny Barnes hostess and head gardener is suffering from mildew which started on the cucumbers but has now transferred to the tomatoes, at least it is towards the end of the season. Penny's father used to be a market gardener, and her vegetables are neatly laid out and healthy like a professional. Leeks, lettuce and all the usual favourites. Penny is particularly proud of her herbs. The carrots for the roast dinners are cooked with a selection from the garden. A particularly flavoursome touch to distinguish the roast was home grown caraway seeds cooked with the cabbage.

The south side of the vegetable garden has a border full of the pictured physalsis (Cape gooseberry). These foot high lanterns look glorious at this time of the year and are a tribute to her tender care. It will be a long time before I see such a superb pub garden again, go eat and enjoy seeing where some of your produce has come from.

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