Lucie Loves... Food // James explores the new autumn menu at Cinque Ports, Margate

Arriving in Margate on the last day of September, I noticed how the cold sea air was; crisp and sharp against my naked face. Autumn is here and that means several things for me: warmer clothes – including my favourite selvedge jeans, winter boots and fleece jacket. It also means that the salad-heavy dinners of summer are behind me, and I have classic British dishes to devour.

David and I were invited to the launch of the new autumn menu at Cinque Ports, which over looks the Margate sea front. After spending the day looking through all the vintage and reclaimed furniture shops in Margate's old town, we spent an hour running around Dreamland like big kids. David and I couldn't resist a quick spin on the waltzers; the feeling of being spun round was incredible, and within seconds I was 14 again.

We arrived at the restaurant, which opened in May this year, and were instantly impressed with the decor. The clientele were mostly couples and young families – I also spotted some women on one table, but luckily it wasn't a hen do. Don't even get me started!

We sat at our table and hovered our eyes over the cocktail menu. My decision was made instantly. I was having a Negroni.

The chef explained that all the produce on the menu was 70% local, to guarantee freshness. I used this opportunity to start my farewell to eating meat. As of January, 1st 2018, I will be a pescatarian. I’m trying to eat more vegetables and responsibly-sourced fish.

I started with the Pork Cheek Bon Bon, the meat fell apart so easily, with just the slightest touch of my cutlery. The pork melted in the mouth, and there were echoes of a brisket about it. It was very tasty and definitely set me up for my main. The steak arrived medium rare, as I ordered, and was accompanied by Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese, a garden salad and home cut chips (the size of Jenga blocks). Although slightly fatty, I enjoyed the steak, and with each mouthful I kept asking myself: 'James, are you sure about giving this up?'

At the end of the first two courses I didn't feel bloated as I would normally do having eaten so much food. My unusually sweet tooth had kicked in, so I ordered the Poached Pear tart. I'm pretty sure it was the the promise of frangipani that won me over.  

The evening ended with cocktails, and a spot of networking with fellow bloggers and food writers. David and I often find ourselves in Margate, so we know that we will return for dinner. My best friend Emma also visits with her boyfriend and hasn't eaten there yet so I will be sure to tell her it’s a must!

Margate is only an hour away from London on the train. It’s the perfect getaway for friends, lovers and foodies. Cinque Ports is bound to be the restaurant on everyone's lips...

Words ~ James Barley