A gem that can’t be kept a secret
The Poet at Matfield
The Poet at Matfield in Matfield (believe it or not), is inspired by a poet; Siegreied Sassoon, to be exact, a World War 1 poet who lived in Matfield who won the Military Cross for his “conspicuous gallantry”. This beautiful gastro pub situated in a picturesque village surrounded by mesmerising homes, a cricket ground and a little pond has been mentioned to me by the odd food-lover before. The words “Michelin” and “quality” featured a few times and so, I decided to try it for myself.
There isn’t a problem in the world that pretty plates can’t improve and in all honesty, when you’re sat drinking delightful gin by a pretty window watching the world go by, that helps with the problems of the world too.
Oh, and not to forget that The Poet at Matfield is also dog friendly, which, lets face it, is always the best bonus.
Delightfully, with Chef Patron, Petrus Madutlela (Masterchef: The Professionals UK. Quarter finalist 2012) at the helm, it’s safe to say you’re going to be dealt all of the good cards and this is exactly what you get when you start a three course meal off with a Wild Mushroom and Truffle Velouté served with a Quail Egg and a Cheese Croquette. It is velvety, intense yet incredibly delicate at the same time with each bite offering a different experience.
It’s quite rare that I choose a soup or velouté starter with the fright of receiving something I make when I’m poorly like vegetable broth or “Whatever is left in the fridge” that can fit in the soup maker, but the imagination of enjoying so many different combinations within one dish was more than enough for me to dig right in, oh and what a good choice this was.
Other starters include the beautiful as ever Spring Hill Trout served with Pickled Beetroot and a Horseradish Cream – two combinations that are unparalleled when it comes to fish and trust especially.
I found my happy place in a plate in this Fillet of Black Bream, Gnocchi, Swiss chard, Shittake and a heavenly Lobster Sauce. I have eaten so many fish dishes, but this one took it to the next level and really showed what you can do with simple ingredients.
For a dish that is part of a set menu (£24.95 for a three course meal) to be exact, it’s incredible to see such quality in the cooking, presentation and the taste in all three dishes. The gnocchi was something to rave about as well, sweet and nutty, beautifully seasoned with a real hearty, happy feeling – the same feeling you get when you find an extra delicious dumpling in your stew.
Usually, I wouldn’t pick a Lemon Tart but unfortunately there was a small power cut which meant that for a little while the oven was out of luck so I had to have something that could be prepared without anything electric so I made my peace with the fact I wasn’t going to have a Soufflé and instead had the Lemon Tart. To be precise, it was a Lemon Tart with Meringue and a Blackberry and Liquorice sorbet that not only looked like a painting but tasted absolutely wonderful.
To put it bluntly, I left The Poet full to the brim of delightfulness and with the fond memories of a delicious dinner that has stolen my heart.
If you are looking to dine somewhere that is incredibly well-priced, should easily have its own Michelin Star and service that ticks all of those nitty gritty boxes, then this is the place to be. It’s a gastro-pub that is a hit with the locals but also with those from afar. It’s warming, welcoming and peppered with empty bottles of gin and books on poetry. You really can’t go wrong.
For a stunning three course meal that costs less than £25.00 – what on earth are you waiting for?
Maidstone Rd, Matfield, Tonbridge TN12 7JH