This came as a recommendation from a guy at work who commutes in from Canterbury daily and has a young child and these two facts combined probably attribute to his near-permanent foul mood. Man knows good restaurants though.
Aside from the recommendation, we decided to visit The Three Mariners as it is but a mere leap away from the mariner where Pierre keeps his boat. This makes us sound much more nouveau riche than we are: Pierre is a seafaring man and boating is his passion after a life lived by the sea, breeding oysters and breathing in the sea air which allowed his food to naturally be seasoned in advance (something that I found was the case when I worked in the oyster hatchery over summer).
Even though it is a small village in the backend of Faversham – albeit an incredibly picturesque backend with worthwhile Kent country/marshland walks in a loop to and from Faversham – people travel here and booking is a necessity, especially at lunch.
You will be hard pressed to find a better value lunch really anywhere. The Sunday lunch is £17.95 for three courses, and the Monday-Saturday walker’s lunch is £13.95 for three courses. You can get cheaper, but if you can get better quality, better cooked food for a similar or lower price point, please do let me know. It has a Michelin Bib Gourmand, for good value high quality food, which it more than deserves.
Plus, baskets and baskets of fresh, free bread with delicious butter. Carbs and fat and carbs and fat.
“It’s the best pub food that you’ll ever have. Calling it pub food is doing it a disservice.”
So went the recommendation from the guy at work. It is a pub, one that is owned by Faversham’s Shepherd’s Neame, Britain’s oldest brewer, and so to call it pub food is factually accurate. “Well sourced and cooked British dining that is both fine and hearty” is too much of a mouthful.
Pierre loves the Abode. I am ambivalent to negative towards the Abode. It is too up itself for the quality of the food. The Three Mariners is the opposite. The portions are hearty, though not garish, and dressed to refinement, and though the rooms are lighter and airier than most pubs, it doesn’t hide the fact that it is still indeed a pub. A pub with a lived-in feel (as in living room, rather than past it).
The views out across the garden and towards the creek beats that of many fine dining establishment, which are usually inward-looking to show clientele that they are the exclusive insiders, safely away from the riff raff of the outside world.
When by the sea, it is acceptable to order fish. I read Kitchen Confidential and have since been more wary of when and where I order certain dishes. Mother tends to order meat and Pierre and I order fish and we all share because this is half of the joy of eating. No dish has been a dud, or even mediocre. To phrase that last sentence in a more positive way, each of the dishes that we have had – and we have now been several times – has impressed.
I am usually averse to menus that are too large. The set menu has its limits, but it is still one of the most varied of the set menus that I have seen, with around six or seven dishes to choose from rather than the usual two or three. The a la carte is extensive, and each of the dishes seems to have a wide variation of ingredients. Given the freshness of the dishes that we are given, I would very much like to see their stores.
We are always seated at the same table, and there always seems to be large family gatherings around us. As far as I can tell, we all order from the seat menus Waves of “oohs” and “aahs” resonate through the restaurant as people’s palates thank them. There is usually the din of well-behaved middle class children who are having their palates refined from a young age.
Desserts are generous and well balanced, ending the meal well. The cheese board comes with chutney, grapes and celery, and some of the finest oat biscuits that I have ever had the pleasure of eating. My mind still boggles at how they can serve this kind of quality of food at such a low price point.
The staff are friendly. My ear is getting more accustomed to the Kentish accent.
“You might see some empty tables even though we’re fully booked. We only like to serve a certain number of customers in any one service.” Here is a place that respects the quality of its goods, and which has earned my respect and repeat custom. And we are fortunate enough to follow it up with a walk or a sail.
The city girl is being wooed by the siren call of the sea and country.