Bright, Modern with Incredible Food
Turner Contemporary Cafe
Before we start with Turner Contemporary Cafe, let me explain a little bit about the Turner Contemporary itself. Turner Contemporary is primarily an art gallery situated in Margate, Kent and is a stunning, large contemporary arts space.
Creating a space to celebrate Turner’s association with Margate was the aspiration of local resident and former Chairman of the Margate Civic Society, John Crofts. He, along with a number of active members of the community, wanted to recognise and share the importance the seaside town played in Turner’s life.
The Turner Contemporary Cafe is one of the pivotal segments to this amazing building that is now at the heart of Margate. With stunning, sweeping views across Margate Sands, brilliant food, lovely cakes, brightly coloured chairs and an outdoor terrace, it is very easy to see why this place is enjoyed throughout the seasons, whatever the weather.
Every season a new menu is created and their new menu boasts a wonderful and varied selection of dietary requirements (and not just the token options either), Turner Contemporary Cafe go above and beyond to offer a wide variation of foods that are inspired by the sea surrounding them.
Lots of the options are also vegan and gluten free. They aim to prepare their food with beautiful locally sourced ingredients from local independent suppliers to really encourage supporting local businesses and are a member of Produced in Kent.
Typically museum and gallery food can often be described as an after thought. I can’t tell you how many pies lacking in gravy, cold sandwiches lacking in filling and cold cups of tea I have had at various museums and galleries across the UK but Turner Contemporary Cafe aim to incredibly surprise you, and that they do.
The food here is of such a high standard that, in my humble opinion, it should be included in with the Taste of Kent Awards. It is such a surprise. Whilst awaiting our first dish, I looked around to see many smiling faces, a mouth full of food nodding and smiling whilst pointing at their dishes – clearly enjoying their choice.
To start with we had the Smoked Haddock, Spring Onion and New Potatoes with Wilted Spinach, Cumin and a Free Range Fried Egg also known as the ‘Seaside Hash’. This was my favourite dish of all of them – salty in places followed by the natural sweetness from the free range egg yolk before being hit by sharp tangy nodes of coriander and cumin. Absolutely delightful. Every single mouthful of this dish was met with joy, beautiful in every single way and a fantastic way to start the meal.
Up next we had a selection of main dishes brought out for us to try. The first dish was a Roasted Cauliflower, Kale and Spiced Chickpea Tagine with Parsnip Crisps and boy oh boy did this hit the spot. Tagine, to me always used to sound a little bit on the boring side. Growing up, whenever I asked my mum what was for dinner and she said casserole or tagine, it would be met with big sighs and groans – even though they were always tasty.
Having grown up, a delicious hearty tagine is now met with happy sounds and eagerness; they are fantastic dishes packed full to the brim of different flavour combinations and this one didn’t miss a beat. Sweet in places but packing a delicate curried flavour in others. Every mouthful provided you with a different taste sensation that got better and better with each mouthful.
Our other dish was the superb Grilled Sardines with Salsa Verde, New Potatoes and Windmill Allotment Salad. As a child I always used to pull a face whenever my dad cracked open a tin of sardines or pilchards and popped them on some bread before chucking them underneath the grill – they never were my biggest fan however as the years have flown by, mackerel and sardines have become some of my most favourite types of fish. Served warm with salsa verde, the mix of delicate flaky sardine with the packed flavour from capers, anchovies and plenty of flat-leaf parsley filled me with joy. Delicious and beautifully plated.
Lastly we were served their special, a beautiful Crab Terrine with Toast. The crab had a lemon curd like topping that gave such a wonderful flavour to the crab. Not in any way powerful but completely luxurious and a perfect little treat.
The food at Turner Contemporary Cafe is a huge surprise. Whilst you can still treat yourself to an afternoon tea, which is expected in a place like this, you can also prepare yourself to be genuinely blown away by delicious food, a lovely space and wonderful views before strolling through the gallery taking as much time as you want.
Margate has been gaining a reputation as late, not just because of its growing creative outlets such as Dreamland funfair – which has everything from vintage rides and discos to art installations and street food but also to its stunning architecture, its energetic and exciting start-ups and its ever-fun penny arcades – it’s brimming with juxtapositions and that is why we love Margate so much.
Among all of this is a haven for the foodies of Kent and this is why you must go to Turner Contemporary Cafe. The food quality is fantastic, the space is incredible and the views are wonderful – whatever the weather. The service can be a little on the slow side occasionally and it can be a little hard to get the attention of the staff, especially if you are sat quite a way from the till but when you do get noticed, they go above and beyond to cater for you.
They are open Tuesday – Sunday, from 10am – 4.30pm and with such stunning views, why wouldn’t you want to take a visit?
Kent CT9 1HG
Tel: + 44 (0)1843 233 000
Fax: + 44 (0)1843 233 029