Delicious Food With a View
The Pearson’s Arms
Before we talk about The Pearson’s Arms, let’s just go into a little bit of detail about Whitstable. Whitstable is a beautiful seaside down on the north coast of Kent and famous for its native oysters which used to be collected from the beds until the mid-20th century – celebrated at the popular Whitstable Oyster Festival. Whitstable is probably one of my all time favourite places in Kent, with a beautiful harbour, a stunning beach (with the best sunsets and sunrises), a really lovely bike bath which leads into Canterbury and many many lovely little independent shops, pubs and restaurants – it’s pretty easy to see why Whitstable is the place to be.
The Pearson’s Arms is one of those lovely pubs and it is right from the water’s edge. They serve delicious real ales, delicious food and pride themselves on having not only a great atmosphere but providing their customers with locally grown (or caught) produce. Their menus change with the seasons and with a view right over the beach – it’s one of the best pubs you can find.
There is nothing I love more than going to a pub and being blown away by the food. Pubs these days can’t get away with the standard ‘pub grub’ – people want more for their money and in recent years, pubs have upped their game. The Pearson’s Arms is a treasure, serving absolutely gorgeous food sourced or caught locally and with fantastic portion sizes.
To start with I had the Marinated Queen Olives, Crisp Aubergines in Beer Batter with Bois Boudrin and Baked Camembert with Rustic Bread. The best thing about choosing little bits of things from a menu with lots of choice is that you can share it with someone similar to a tapas.
The aubergines were delicious. Crispy and yet completely melt in the mouth and drizzled with the delicious bois boudrin (basically tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, shallots and snipped herbs all mixed up) really upped the flavour of the delicate aubergine.
The baked Camembert is basically everyone’s ideal cheese dish and it’s hard to get this wrong – stick some fresh rosemary and garlic in it and make sure it’s as creamy as creamy can be when cooked and jobs a goodun’ and boy oh boy does it just work with crusty bread. Simple, delicious and packed full of flavour.
I was very excited about my choice and couldn’t wait for it to arrive, a vegan Spiced Butternut Squash & Spinach Short Crust Pastry Pie, Roasted Butternut, Glazed Baby Onions and served with a beautifully rich Squash Velouté and a side of Mashed Potatoes. For me, short crust pastry is and always will be a winner in my eyes.
It isn’t hard to make, it’s not over-rich and yet it is easily one of the best pastries of all. However, for me, I did find myself putting rather a lot of salt on to this dish as it wasn’t as seasoned as I would have liked.
Although tasty and delicate in flavour, butternut squash, roasted butternut and a squash velouté is a combination that can be a tad bland but when served with glazed baby onions – this dish is brought alive. If I had any criticism to make, it would be to have more of those onions that add a sharpness to the sweet and a bit more seasoning.
Mark’s fish pie was outstanding. The flavour of smoked haddock and huge giant prawns with a creamy mustard flavour mash sent me wild and I ended up taking his plate off him occasionally to lap up the satisfying pile of comfort food. Fish pie is and always will be one of my go-to dishes for cold winter afternoons – it’s just one of the greatest comfort foods out there.
I couldn’t be more critical when it comes to a Chocolate Fondant. For me, a chocolate fondant has to be just crisp on the outside but have an absolutely perfect, divine melting texture with a perfect liquid centre that screams ‘lick the plate’.
I have had fondants where I have been so excited to suddenly be completely disappointed in the space of only a few seconds and in all honesty, it’s a very stressful time… But I mean it when I say this… This Chocolate Orange Fondant with a beautifully fresh Marmalade Ice Cream was the best chocolate fondant I have ever, ever had. Intensely chocolatey, so very pretty and with a sublime melting centre – and the marmalade ice cream was a sensation too. I will be coming back, if only just for this pudding.
Next up – the vegan Coconut Rice Pudding with a delicious Mango Sorbet and what a treat this was. Rice pudding is a funny one isn’t it? Who wants to have a rice pudding right after a big dinner? Not many people however this rice pudding is about to turn that on its head.
Light (yes, light), packed absolutely full to the brim of creamy coconut and served with a dollop of the freshest mango sorbet you’ve ever had – it’s basically a palette cleansing dessert and a lovely way to end a delicious dinner.
With views to make you sigh with a smile, The Pearson’s Arms is a delightful little retreat after a nice stroll across the beach. The food is fantastic, although perhaps a bit more seasoning wouldn’t go a miss on some of the dishes, the service is warm and not overbearing and the location is brilliant. Whitstable is a tough place for parking and if you’re going to arrive on a busy Saturday afternoon, be prepared to spend a good while trying to find somewhere to park. Overall though, a lovely hideaway and one I couldn’t recommend more.
Horsebridge Rd, Whitstable CT5 1BT