The Sportsman – Seasalter

The Sportsman Seasalter

The Sportsman has been on my to go-list since October 2006 when I read an article by Jay Rayner in the American magazine Gourmet about the remote seaside pub outside London. It was something about the story of its ingredients obsessive owner Stephen Harris who had left his job in the financial industry i London to start cooking. I was on my way to The Sportsman a couple of years ago but very annoyingly had to cancel my reservation when I realized that I would not make it to the airport in time to fly back to Sweden.

The Sportsman is located in Seasalter, between Faversham and Whitstable, just by the ocean about 100 km east of London. The easiest way to go to The Sportsman is to take a train to Faversham from London Victoria or St Pancras. The train from St Pancras, which is faster, takes around 60 minutes. From Faversham there is a ten to fifteen minutes taxi ride. It seems like taxis don’t accept credit cards so it’s recommended to bring some cash (around 25-30 GBP round trip).

Stephen Harris sources all his produce from within a very short distance of the restaurant. As far as I have understood several of the producers are located just a couple of miles from the pub. In this case you can really talk about a restaurant with terroir. Local produce isn’t always equal to high quality. But in this case the terroir must be excellent because all the produce that I was served was of very high quality. You could really talk about a Grand Cru-restaurant. The Sportsman is indeed a very special special place. Nowhere have I have I been where it is so easy to see the connection between the surroundings and the food served. The ocean is just meters away from the pub and on the other side of the road sheep are grazing on the green fields.

Two menus are offered, an à la carte menu and a tasting menu consisting of about eleven courses. The tasting menu, which I had, must be preordered at least 48 hours in advance. At a price of not more than £65 it must be one of the best gastronomic bargains in Europe.

I am very happy that I finally made it to The Sportsman because the lunch I had in the end of March was one of my best meals in a long time. Absolutely brilliant. The food may look simple on the pictures below but it doesn’t lack complexity. The flavour combinations were wonderful, all the dishes were perfectly balanced and everything was cooked to perfection. I don’t have a single remark. Most of the courses consisted of just a few ingredients. To me it is cooking in the best way where the food is paired down to the essentials highlighting the flavours of the exceptional produce.

The Sportsman holds on star in Guide Michelin. In my opinion it really deserves to be promoted. I will definitely return. Hopefully very soon. I highly recommend you to go to The Sportsman.

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Please click on this link to my Flickr album for high resolution pictures from my lunch.

Eggyolk, sherry vinegar spiked cream, smoked eel, parsley and horseradish

Eggyolk, sherry vinegar spiked cream, smoked eel, parsley and horseradish The Sportsman

Oysters; (1) poached with beurre blanc and avruga, (2) home-made chorizo and (3) rhubarb granité and crystallized seaweed

Oyster; (1) poached with beurre blanc and avruga, (2) home-made chorizo and (3) rhubarb granité and crystallized seaweed The Sportsman

Crab, carrot and hollandaise

Crab, carrot and hollandaise The Sportsman

Bread, home-churned butter with Seasalter salt

Bread, home-churned butter with Seasalter salt The Sportsman

Salmagundi

Salmagundi The Sportsman

Slipsole with seaweed butter

Slipsole with seaweed butter The Sportsman

Braised turbot with smoked roe

Braised turbot with smoked roe The Sportsman

Lamb neck and mint

Lamb neck and mint The Sportsman

Roast lamb from Monkshill farm

Roast lamb from Monkshill farm The Sportsman

Rhubarb ice-lolly and cake milk

Rhubarb ice-lolly and cake milk The Sportsman

Buttermilk mousse, raw honey, buckwheat and camomille

Buttermilk mousse, raw honey, buckwheat and camomille The Sportsman

 

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