The Horseshoes, Maidstone has received an absolutely mesmerising refurbishment and I was one of the lucky few to test out the brand new menu and the brand new look before the big ‘reveal’ and re-opening. The Horseshoes, located on Dean Street in Maidsone, has undergone a significant makeover that has given the staple eating and drinking spot a modernised (think Ted Baker-esque floral), stylish and contemporary feel.
The moment you walk in you’re greeted by stunning bohemian styled décor that still maintains a delightfully family-friendly feel as part of their top to tail transformation, taking inspiration from the UK’s most luxurious dining and drinking hotspots. The sophisticated décor combines dark greens, burgundy, and mustard’s with mural wallpaper panels, contemporary details to traditional
furniture and equestrian detailing. The pub is also welcoming a bespoke Horseshoes statue. The wooden and plush finishes create an authentic and cosy feel to the historic pub, a 16th Century building and local destination.
What a fabulous dinner this was. I have been to a lot of restaurants to review but this restaurant was a shining example at how to not only offer great food but to combine it with utterly fabulous service. The Horseshoes had a point to prove and they have absolutely smashed it on their very first opening night.
To start I had the Seared Wild Atlantic Scallops with Spiced Tempura Cauliflower, Roasted Cauliflower Purée and Micro Coriander and Pan-Fried Oyster Mushrooms with Spring Onions and Garlic, Served with a Soy, Lime & Ginger dip and a Rice-paper Cracker.
The scallops were beautifully cooked, tender and buttery sweet; I have always been a huge fan of scallops and they are one of my all time favourite dishes and I wasn’t disappointed whatsoever when trying these. They melted away and combined with the delicately spiced tempura cauliflower elevated the sweetness of the scallops to a perfect height.
The pan-fried oyster mushrooms were inspired. I have to say, I am incredibly impressed with their vegan menu. Not a single grain of risotto rice anywhere on the menu which is an utterly delightful sight to see and these oyster mushrooms were unbelievably delicious. The saltiness of the soy mixed with the sharpness of ginger and lime were wonderful flavours to start.
For my mains I had the Lobster and Devon Crab Fishcakes with with Asparagus, Pea & Truffle Oil Velouté topped with Crispy Seaweed. Who doesn’t just adore a fishcake packed to the brim full of delicious flaky crab and chunks of sweet lobster? The sizing is generous with flavours that are perfectly balanced, with a hint of seasoning and that delicious crunch of the breadcrumbs.
Secondly, I had the absolutely divine Moroccan-inspired Cauliflower Tart in a Kale & Thyme Pastry Case, with a Baby Spinach & Leek Base, topped with Seeds and a Herb Dressing, served with a Slow-Roasted Tomato Sauce. This was huge with a wonderful pastry case that flaked away and combined with the nutty flavours of cauliflower and the tomato sauce meant that you’d never be getting a dry mouth full of pastry.
Now this is a restaurant that likes variety and what a pleasant surprise. How many times have you been to a restaurant and there have only been three or four choices? Nine times out of ten you’ll have an ice cream dessert and a crumble of some sorts and after a filling meal, that’s often not good enough. It is such a pleasant experience to open a menu to a big (and I mean big) dessert menu and even more choices for vegans.
To start I had the highly indulgent Ambassador’s Melting Chocolate and Hazelnut Bomb served with a Rich Chocolate Ganache, Hazelnut, Crisp Wafer and Vanilla Ice Cream, encased in a dark chocolate sphere, melted with hot white chocolate sauce. What a performance this was, a little jug of hot white chocolate sauce to pour over the encased ganache was a wonderful bit of fun. My only slight niggle with this was that it wasn’t as squidgy as I would have liked in the middle and was a bit too hard for me. I would have preferred the ganache to have been a bit bigger within the encasement with a couple of chopped hazelnuts.
The other dessert was a vegan Salted Caramel Billionaires Bar with a delightfully indulgent Chocolate Chip Cookie Base, Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Ganache, served with Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream and boy oh boy did I feel like a billionaire eating this. Smooth, creamy and incredibly indulgent and very hard to believe that something so creamy could be 100% vegan. A wonderful way to end a pretty good dinner.
The service here should be mentioned first because it was outstanding. You could see that this opening meant the whole world to the General Manager, Kelly, who was always asking guests how they were and what their honest thoughts were. It was a breath of fresh air to have a manager care so very much about the opening of a brand new restaurant and it showed in the style, the decor, the food, the service and the happiness from the guests.
They are also a dog and baby friendly restaurant and take pride in how welcoming they are. They also had a delightful little gin bar where you could get creative, although this was just for this particular event, I did mention that having something like this on a Friday or Saturday night could be a brilliant addition so who knows? They also do fantastic cocktails with one of the best French Martini’s I’ve ever had (imagine a jam cocktail – this is it).
This restaurant is opening just before Christmas 2019 and what a time to open, full of sparkle and delight – I can definitely see fantastic things for this little gem.
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Disclaimer: Dinner gifted by The Horseshoes at East Farleigh