Join me on a tasty trip around Margate, where I was wined and dined at the stunning Cinque Ports!
I’ve never been to Margate before, and I’ve only ever heard it referenced on Only Fools and Horses before.
So where is Margate you ask? And how do you get there?
Well, it’s a seaside town in Kent, known for its sandy beach and stone pier, and the Dreamland amusement park with vintage rides.
It takes an hour and a half to reach by train from London St Pancras on a super fast train, which speeds through the countryside and takes you right into the heart of Margate.
James and I visited Margate on a trip last weekend and spent the afternoon at Dreamland, eating candy floss and riding on the big wheel for a scenic view over the seaside town.
In the evening, we were invited to dine at Cinque Ports, a once favourite haunt of mods and rockers in the 1960s, now offering real ale, ciders, wines and ‘best of British’ food.
The vibe and atmosphere is great in here. The interior is rustic and edgy, with exposed brick walls and quirky paintings and accessories on the walls. The furniture is really homely, with plush velvet couches, chunky wooden tables and chairs and dim, warm lighting.
We perused the menu and ordered drinks. Cinque Ports source their own alcohol so they don’t stock branded labels, but it made a change from having my usual Malibu! The KoKo equivalent was tasty, and had a great rum-kick after taste. James ordered the Captain Morgans Spiced Rum alternative and said it was strong but really nice – but strong isn’t a bad thing if you love your alcohol! We were shown to the group table and nibbled on olives, home-made rosemary bread and a sticky honey balsamic glaze to dip the bread into.
We perused the menu and agreed to both try something different to what we’d normally order for dinner, so James ordered the crispy pig cheek bon bon and I ordered the local catch fish cake.
I had a feeling that the pig cheek bon bon would somehow look a little unappealing and squeamish – but how I was wrong!
It arrived on a beautiful plate, presented on a bed of apple puree and sprinkled water cress. The pig cheek bon bon was beautifully soft and melt in the mouth, encased in a crunchy panko breadcrumb case. The meat was tender and flavoursome, and paired with the apple puree worked wonderfully.
We ordered a couple of cocktails to try whilst we waited for our mains.
I ordered a fruity Prosecco cocktail and James ordered the British Mojito.
My prosecco cocktail was deliciously sweet and strong – they are certainly generous with their shots here! James loved how refreshing the British mojito was, and it was served in the most beautiful engraved crystal glass I’d ever seen!
For mains, I couldn’t help but order something I was a little more familiar with, so I ordered the Buttermilk chicken burger, which comes served with bacon, cheddar, BBQ sauce and a side salad.
The size of this burger was INSANE. The chicken portion was literally the size of three chicken breasts – it was insane! The chicken was mouthwateringly soft and the buttermilk coating was mouthwateringly good. I love brioche buns on burgers so that was a big plus for me. The cheese and bacon were baked into the chicken and omg, it was incredibly indulgent and a generous portion, but so, SO delicious.
James ordered the House burger, a classic beef patty served with cheddar, homemade ketchup and mustard mayonnaise and a side salad.
The beef patty was thick and cooked to medium rare perfection and the home made sauces and relishes gave the burger a delicious after taste. James said it wasn’t the best burger he’d had but, I think it has something to do with how incredibly full we were at this point!
The mains don’t come with any sides, and as the menu suggested ordering 1 or 2 sides with each main, James and I shared the Hand cut chips and the Truffle mac ‘n’ cheese.
I’m pretty fussy when it comes to chips. 1) I have to be in the mood to eat potato (weird, I know) and 2) I much prefer fries and thinner chips. But with that being said, we enjoyed a couple of the thick cut chips which were cooked to perfection. The outside was crunchy and crispy, and the inside soft and fluffy.
The truffle mac ‘n’ cheese was my favourite dish of the evening – by far the best mac and cheese I have EVER had. The cheese top was insane – I tapped it with my fork and the crunchy cheese didn’t even budge! Once I cracked it, the pasta beneath was soft, fluffy and deliciously creamy and rich, with chunks of truffle running through. The cheese to pasta ratio was spot on, and it’s by far the most amazing mac and cheese I have ever had the pleasure of trying!
I was totally defeated by the mains as I didn’t even manage to eat half, but I’m never one to turn down a good dessert!
In the end, I ordered the Homemade apple crumble with crème anglaise.
It wasn’t the best apple crumble I’ve ever had, but it was really, really delicious and warming. The cinnamon-oaty crumble topping was crunchy and tasty, and the apple was soft and sweet. The vanilla ice cream was absolutely delicious and worked really well with the crumble. I wasn’t keen on the Crème anglaise and didn’t feel like it was necessarily needed. But I enjoy having one or the other, so you might enjoy it if you love having ice cream and cream together!
Totally beaten by the evenings food, James ordered the Homemade apple sorbet. There’s nothing really to shout about presentation wise – it was served in beautiful crockery but I suppose there’s no way you can really jazz up sorbet. James enjoyed the apple sorbet and found it refreshing and cleansing, exactly what you need after an indulgent carby meal!
Cinque Ports is an incredible restaurant, with over 70% of the ingredients locally sourced, and the alcohol sourced from local makers. The atmosphere is cosy and relaxing, adding a touch of luxury to the seaside town! If you live near or fancy a trip to Margate one weekend, I thoroughly recommend a trip to Cinque Ports.
There’s a snazzy looking rooftop bar called Ziggy’s as well, which I imagine is fun to visit in the summer to watch the sun set! 🙂