Wingham is a village in East Kent, on the A257 and equidistant between Canterbury and Richborough (Sandwich). Several of my ancestors lived in Wingham, one couple were innkeepers at The Anchor pub there in the early 19th century. My sister and her husband now live in the village and invited the two of us for lunch at The Dog, which is the village’s foodie pub and rather more expensive than our ancestors’ old pub, which serves traditional, but good, `pub grub’. When inviting us she said that although it was a special treat, and we could order what food we liked, there could be ‘no bottles of wine at £300 a time’.
The Dog is a restaurant with rooms and is open 7 days a week, but I’m only reviewing the restaurant. I hadn’t realised until I looked at the website that customers’ dogs are welcome in all parts of the establishment, which might not please everyone. The Dog has won several awards in the past and my sister had already had lunch there, so she knew we would enjoy the food. It is located opposite Wingham church, on the road from Canterbury, so there is passing traffic, although not too many lorries (which tend to use the alternative route from the A2). There is a car park, but as we didn’t drive there but walked round the corner from my sister’s house, we didn’t see how large it was. There are a few tables with seats to the side of The Dog, but the main outside seating area is at the back of the building and accessed by walking through the bar and inside restaurant, which was empty when we arrived. Parts of the Grade 2 star listed building date back to the 13th century and in the past has been a coaching inn, or maybe even a monastery, however, the current owners obviously think their client base prefer a modern look so have adopted a stripped back and to my mind, rather boring interior design for the bar and restaurant – they are probably right as it has been featured in newspaper articles – although I think the resulting design is rather predictable and in places very grey. We could have eaten inside but chose instead a table outside under a very large awning as it was a lovely, warm day.
As is the custom at the moment our menus for the day were printed on paper, presumably to be incinerated after we’d touched them, although I kept mine for help in writing this review, but I won’t list everything that was on it. Seasonal Classics` were available in starter or main sizes, which I didn’t notice when I was choosing my meal, nor did I notice the `bread and butter for the table 3` which I guess means £3 each – but none of us ordered any. They’ve also adopted the decimal pricing practice, as in 8.5 for £8.50!
The Dog prides itself on serving local produce and the type of cuisine would probably be called `Modern British`. I liked the sound of most things, so found it difficult to choose, although I knew I didn’t want the `Dog’s classic fish & triple cooked chips, marrowfat peas & tartare sauce` at 20. However, I eventually went for a starter of `asparagus, jamon, smoked cods roe, hazelnut & lardo di colonnata` (having more or less worked out what the unusual ingredients were without having to ask). Others in our group had chargrilled tender stem broccoli, green pea hummus, salsa verde & almond or seared scallops, pineapple chilli jam, spiced peanut sauce & picked shallot – all very tasty. For my main, I had `pan fried grey mullet, saffron fondant potato, fennel, gem & bouillabaisse`. The little gem lettuce was grilled in the modern fashion but the grey mullet, which I don’t think I’ve ever had before, tasted just like very good smoked haddock, although the menu didn’t mention that it was smoked. My sister had pea & mint risotto, pickled shallot, goats cheese & puffed wild rice, my husband enjoyed Moroccan spiced lamb rump, Israeli couscous tabbouleh & smoked feta cheese and my brother-in-law opted for the most recognisable dish – pork chop – but with harissa and honey, potato puree, fine beans and chorizo sauce. Sides were extra at 3.5 or 4.5 a portion. The only thing left on my plate at the end were cockleshells. My husband and I finished with raspberry & pistachio frangipani tart with caramelised white chocolate ice cream – worth every penny of 9.5 – while my sister and her husband ordered rhubarb & buttermilk panna cotta & rhubarb sorbet, but were actually served a raspberry version instead; I think the waiter should have checked with them about the substitution, but this was the only blip in service.
As we ate our meal more people arrived, and I suspect some of them were DFLs (down from London) as quite a few of Wingham’s houses are now second homes. You can enjoy a three-course dinner and a night in one of the rooms from £99 per person, based on two sharing.
It was a very good meal and I enjoyed it very much, but I’m glad I wasn’t paying the bill, although we didn’t order an expensive bottle of wine, I did have a very good large glass of Kentish rosé which I later felt guilty about.
“For details of the restaurant and accommodation”:https://thedog.co.uk/