Broadstairs, cafes for dogs, Dog Friendly, dog friendly cafes, dog friendly restaurants, Kent, the dog blog

Wyatt & Jones – Broadstairs

Right, we’re back. I left you last time promising to return with tales of Wyatt & Jones. I just couldn’t bring myself to squeeze in simply a quick review during the Margate post, as this place deserved so much more.

We’d happened upon this establishment via a quick internet trawl before leaving for our mini break. All we knew was that the restaurant wasn’t too far away from our accommodation (The Botany Bay Hotel, see Margate link above), and the number of food awards on their website indicated that the food was likely to be good. The fact that they were dog friendly sealed the deal (best to call beforehand though in order to let them know that you’re bringing your pooch. Dogs are only allowed in part of the restaurant).

So basically we arrived not really knowing too much about this place, or what to expect.

Wyatt & Jones can be found down a sleepy looking little road leading to the beach. Stepping out of the cold coastal air and into the twinkling candle light of this beautiful little restaurant, we knew almost immediately this was going to be a good night. In fact, you know those rare evenings when everything is just perfect? Well our evening at Wyatt & Jones would prove to be one of these rare events.

img_0305

The area designated for doggies is the smaller room next to the bar. When a bar is this beautiful and well stocked that is no bad thing. You can also easily see the rest of the room leading down to the open kitchen, so you don’t feel like you’ve been banished to a separate room.

img_0306

On this cold Thursday night in January we basically had the bar to ourselves, but there were enough other diners to ensure that a quiet relaxed atmosphere was maintained. Even if we had have been alone, any awkward ‘eating in a library’ vibe would have been dispelled by the excellent music that they were playing in the background. So often, music in a restaurant can spoil things. Generally it is too loud and/or too rubbish. In this case they had the perfect balance so that the only time you noticed it was when you thought ‘ooh this is such a nice song, I wonder who it is by? I must make enquiries’ (clearly I didn’t make enquires – far too shy). Just sitting in the bar with a glass of wine and enjoying the music would have been great. But then of course I would have missed out on sampling the food!

Having already established that this place was a winner we decided to kick start our appetites with 2 rock oysters (for me) and anchovy toast (for her). I was also pleased to see that they had Curious Brew IPA on tap. Oysters and Curious Brew, what better way to kick off a meal?

Meanwhile, Grenson had been presented with a bowl of water and his own bowl of biscuits, so he was approving of his surroundings almost as much as I was.

En Brogue reckons the anchovy toast was ‘Oh. My. God. Fantastic’. My oysters came with a bottle of red wine vinegar and tabasco for me to dress them myself. Unfortunately, I was a little heavy handed with the tabasco and had sizzling lips for the next ten minutes. (The only bad thing that happened that night and it was all my own fault).

Then we moved on to the main events. Now normally I’m not too keen on photographing food, (far too shy). This can be a problem for someone who blogs about places to eat. On this occasion though, any self consciousness had to go out the window. It was just too good not to save for prosperity.

img_0313

En Brogue went for -‘Chilli glazed mackerel,celeriac remoulade, pickled shallots and almond puree’, followed by another starter (small appetite), ‘Spiced scallops, marinated chickpea, chermoula, shallots, coriander’. She then finished with ‘Granny Smith mousse, hazelnut crumble, blueberries & brown bread ice cream’. Yes, that’s what I said, brown bread ice cream. Amazing!

img_0302

I went for – ‘Oak smoked salmon, crispy crab, dill aioli, soused fennel & salmon caviar’ to start. My main was not a starter (big appetite), ‘Sussex beef loin, braised ox cheek, bone marrow butter mash & autumn brassica’. Then for dessert, ‘Valrhona dark chocolate souffle’.

If all of that hasn’t got your mouth watering then let me give you more details.

En Brogue basically was only able to say ‘Oh. My. God. Fantastic’ about everything!

My starter was so fresh and light it may have to go into my top five starters…ever! The Ox cheek was deliciously glutinous to the point that it virtually melted in my mouth. And that souffle?! Jeez! Once the outer crust was broken I found myself inside a fluffy cloud of pure chocolate joy!

After all of this I could only possibly complete my meal by sitting back with a 10 year-old Somerset cider brandy. If I am ending my night with a brandy then it is a sure sign that I have had a most relaxing and enjoyable evening.

Absolutely brilliant. And I forgot to mention the wine! This place really knows its wine. I suggest you ask for a recommendation, the one they served up to us was simply perfect.

Finally we made our way back to our hotel room and fell face first onto the the bed, immediately drifting off into a deep sleep whilst I mumbled a proclamation that the whole night had been one of the best dining experiences I’d ever had!

The next day, following breakfast and check out, we decided to head back to Broadstairs to assess it in the daylight.

img_0307

The beach at the bottom of the road turned out to be incredibly pretty, as was the rest of the small town. I even found a butchers that served an award winning sausage. If nothing else, this warranted a return visit all on its own.

Eventually though we were drawn back towards Wyatt & Jones, mainly because I needed a picture of the outside for this blog post.

As we arrived, it just so happened that they were open and serving coffee. Clearly we had to go back in and take up our seats at the table that we had vacated merely a few hours earlier.

The coffee, of course, was Oh. My. God. Fantastic. It was all I could do to decline the pastry deal that came with the coffee but I had recently consumed a full English (which was mighty fine, congratulations on that Botany Bay Hotel).

To sum up:

1. Broadstairs is great.

2.We will return as soon as possible.

And,

3. Upon our return we will be spending all day at our table in Wyatt & Jones.

img_0308

(And no I do not have a handle bar moustache, although it very much looks like I do in this picture!).

Anyway, just to avoid any confusion and to be completely clear about this:

WE LOVE THIS PLACE!

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Standard
cafes for dogs, Dog Friendly, dog friendly cafes, dog friendly hotels, Dog Friendly Shops, Kent, Margate, pubs for dogs, the dog blog

Margate & the Botany Bay Hotel

Margate! Margate! Margate! I am of the firm opinion that when saying the name of this little seaside town it is the law that you must say it as Danny Dyer would say it. Margate! Try it – it’s fun!

Anyway, Margate (did you do a Danny in your head there? I hope you did) seems to be the latest ‘in’ place if you spend a little time scanning Instagram. Everyone seems to have been going there just recently.

Well, clearly En Brogue, Grenson and I needed to go and see what all the fuss was about (baaaa!).

We arrived and parked up next to the Dreamland theme park.

img_0250

It’s basically this place that has brought the onslaught of Instagrammers. Dreamland is a retro, kitsch, seaside theme park for hipsters to create great ‘content’ in. They even have an event called ‘Hipster Seaside A-Go-Go’ happening later this year. In all honesty it does look well cool (as I believe literally none of the kids say anymore). As I myself have a beard I’m virtually a hipster too so I’m totally down with this place…unfortunately dogs aren’t allowed. So we quickly moved on, vindictively hoping that all those hipsters get candy floss tangled in their beards.

Strolling along the sea front, Morrissey entered my head and wouldn’t get out. Specifically a certain line from one of his most cheerful songs found itself on repeat in my head:

‘This is the coastal town, that they forgot to close down’

To be fair, I don’t imagine that there are many coastal towns that are looking their best in the first week of January, but I had been led to believe that Margate would offer more than just boarded up shops, tired amusement arcades and ‘caffs’ that probably haven’t had a new menu printed since Del Boy came on his jolly boys’ outing in 1989.

Luckily it didn’t take us long to find our first planned stop, a sweet little coffee shop called The Proper Coffee House (you can’t go wrong with a name like that!).

img_0253

At last things started to look up, not only does a ‘proper’ coffee always help, but we found this sign very welcoming.

img_0252

Take note Dreamland!!

Our next stop was the Old Kent Market and the slight uplift in morale nosedived again. There is no doubt that this is a cool little place and I’m sure that it is a brilliant, vibrant, hang out in the summer months. However, on a Thursday afternoon in January it’s somewhat lacking its spark.

img_0135

As we began to think that we had caught Margate at a time when it really should have been in hibernation, we wandered down a side street away from the sea front and the attraction of the place revealed itself. Suddenly we were surrounded by the most beautiful shops.

img_0256

Not for the first time we came across antique shops that welcomed Grenson inside with open arms. I have to admit that this does surprise me. At times I’m not sure whether or not even I should be allowed inside antique shops. I fear that at any moment I may spontaneously fall over, dragging a cabinet of priceless glassware down on top of me. They make me nervous. And yet, very much like when we visited Rye (click on the link for a read), all the shops seemed to be totally relaxed about Grenson having a peruse around inside.

TAKE NOTE DREAMLAND!!

En Brogue now went into retail mode.

Morale then went through the roof when she spotted Doggie Apparel. O…M…flippin G!

img_0259

In this amazing little doggie nirvana you can watch the collars and leads being handmade at the back of the shop. And beautiful they are too. Needless to say, Grenson got utterly spoiled in there. But it’s virtually impossible for any dog person not to pick up something, from doggie bottle stops, to felt doggies. Personally I’m surprised we left without the woolly schnauzer in the window display.

Thankfully, when we did eventually leave it was with merely a small fortune spent rather than a flipping massive fortune. Heaven help the bank balance when their online shop is up and running!

Suddenly, Margate had come up trumps. We decided to end our visit the only true way that any self respecting traveller can. A visit to the pub.

img_0261

The Lifeboat Ale and Cider House (what a great name) was a perfect venue. A fine selection of ales, craft beers and ciders (as you’d expect from that name I suppose), and a hearty menu on offer. The only downside was the sawdust on the floor. It played havoc with Grenson’s beard!

It was now time to head to our accommodation for the night. The Botany Bay Hotel situated just along the coast, on the way to Broadstairs.

img_0262

This, my friends, is where the madness of going away on a damp Thursday at the beginning of January suddenly makes sense. We got a double room here with breakfast included for £64 (+ extra £5 supplement for Grenson). You cannot argue with that.

On top of that bargain price you can add the fact that it’s a lovely hotel too. Very friendly and helpful staff, comfortable spacious bar, lovely clean rooms, top-notch breakfasts (unfortunately we were not allowed in the main breakfast area with Grenson, but our set up in the bar was probably a better view anyway), and some prime dog walking beaches literally on the doorstep.

img_0264

It really was a great visit, and I haven’t even told you about the meal we had at Wyatt & Jones in Broadstairs yet! Because that requires a whole blog post of its own.

Until then, despite a bit of a rocky start, our little trip had been a roaring success. And it’s at this point that I wanted to cleverly sum up our satisfaction by referring to a happy Morrissey lyric…unfortunately I couldn’t think of one.

So instead I’ll just use this picture of Grenson. Could there be a happier doggie?

img_0265

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

Standard
cafes for dogs, dog friendly cafes, London, the dog blog

Benedict’s Coffee – Brockley

On one of the recent beautiful crisp autumnal days that we’ve been enjoying, I decided to take Grenson on a nice long walk. Obviously this walk had to coincide with a coffee / beer stop (it’s work, damn it!), so I decided that we’d head over to Brockley. It had been a long time since I’d reviewed Browns of Brockley (a post that I’ve just re-read and realised that crisp sunny days seem to automatically make me want to walk to Brockley), and so I thought we’d head over there and see what new establishment had popped up. After all, it does seem like new coffee shops/pop up restaurants/bars are constantly shooting up from the Brockley pavement like weeds in spring. A particular hot spot seems to be around the train station; it’s all the overground’s fault, that’s what they say.

Unfortunately for me, after a long walk around Ladywell fields, and at the point where I was approaching Crofton Park railway station, (so still a fair way from my ultimate destination), I was hit with what all lone dog walking adventurers fear most. I was fairly certain that pretty soon I was going to need a wee.

When it is just you and the dog, then needing a wee can be a problem. I’ve only encountered it once before whilst in an establishment, the Gladstone in Borough. Luckily for me the barmaid noticed my uncertainty about whether or not to drag Grenson into the small little facilities with me, and kindly offered to hold him for me whilst I went (yes, I mean the dog, let’s not do that joke again!). If you’re in the countryside then it’s pretty easy for us men to find a secluded tree for the job. Of course, I suppose you ladies could go in the great outdoors too, I’m an equal opportunities wee-er. Going up against a tree does have the capacity to confound Grenson though. Whenever I’ve done it I do feel like I’m kind of treading on his territory – he may see it as a challenge. I suppose looking back, cocking my leg was uncalled for and would have only led to his further confusion.

Anyway, I realised that whilst it was not an emergency, I was never going to make it all the way to Brockley station and back without needing a pit stop.

Luckily, at that very moment I strolled past a little coffee shop, Benedict’s coffee, that I had never noticed before. It was like a mirage. I could get my coffee here and then head back via Hilly Fields, cutting short the journey just enough for me to arrive home when desperation levels would be hitting their highest levels. I stepped inside the little shop before it disappeared.

img_9466

The reason I hadn’t noticed it before is probably because it hasn’t been here long. According to their Facebook page it seems that they only celebrate their 1st birthday on the 8th December. (Happy birthday in advance!).

It was definitely good luck for me that it was now open. Allpress coffee and a Marzocco machine?! A perfect combination. I knew I was in safe hands.

img_9706

Check out the little cactus in a jar!! You should know by now that I’m a sucker for little touches like that. But to be honest I loved the entire design of the shop.

img_9705

img_9708

The little red chair is probably my favourite.

As you can see it’s not just a delicious coffee shop. If you’re looking for Italian dry goods (that if nothing else, just make your kitchen shelves look nice), then this is a great place to come.

Grenson wasn’t quite as impressed as I was with the red chair. He took to standing around looking bored and quizzical about why the hooman had sat down, when clearly more bits of grass needed to be found outside and given a good urgent sniff.

img_9707

Luckily for him, my bladder was in no mood for hanging around either. So I drank up and headed for home. For any of you anxious about the outcome, don’t worry I made it in time. Phew!

So if you’re in the Brockley /Crofton Park area then check out this lovely little surprise of a shop. We’ll definitely be back soon…but next time I’ll make sure that I ‘go’ before I leave!

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

Standard
cafes for dogs, dog friendly cafes, London, the dog blog

Brick House Bakery – East Dulwich

The in-laws came to visit Capital City recently, looking for a good time. So obviously we took them to look at a load of old graves!

Nunhead Cemetery is a great example of a grand old Victorian London graveyard. It’s full of imposing family crypts and large ornate headstones. Its grandeur is more than slightly faded now, but that is what makes it so interesting. Today it is like a Hollywood set of some Halloween ghoulish video. Nature has crept back over the gravestones dragging them into the earth. Many of them have now become part of the woods and stand motionless in the undergrowth silently keeping watch as you walk on by.

Of course all of this spookiness had no effect on Grenson who simply loved all of the smells on offer (hopefully the odour of moss, nature and the tell-tale signs of other dogs was what he found interesting…and not Victorian bones!). He tootled around in heaven with his nose to the ground, on a mission to wee up every tree available.

Many dog walkers use this site as it’s a lovely walk with a great view of St Pauls (if you stand in exactly the right spot). It’s well worth a visit…but maybe best to go with someone for company… and maybe not at dusk?

After this jovial, bracing look at death in all its glory, we needed a pick me up. So we headed down the road to East Dulwich and a place that we had attempted to visit previously, but on that occasion we’d found no room at the inn. This time it was late afternoon, so post lunchtime rush, and upon arrival a table was easily procured.

The Brick House Sourdough Bakery and Cafe is a big brick building that bakes sourdough bread and is also a cafe…surprisingly enough.

img_9541

It’s very cool, (even complete with punters on laptops writing novels whilst nursing a glass of tap water – once those guys arrive at your establishment you know you’ve made it…although I imagine that you can also expect a drop in till receipts and an increased electricity bill…not that I have anything against them…oh no…it’s not a problem that I can’t find a seat just because a load of writers/bloggers/journalists/facebook users want cheap office space!!…sorry, I digress).

What really attracted me though, was the La Marzocco coffee machine and the Square Mile roast on offer. One of life’s great combinations. Add it to a blueberry pie/tart/thingy and we’re in business.

img_9542

Absolutely delicious.

Grenson loved the atmos, but he was pretty much loving everything anyway. He had four of his favourite people with him and therefore he was sure at least one of them would share their baked goodies with him if he just sat perfectly still.

 

img_9539

Alas, he was very much mistaken. These sweet goodies where too good for sharing. (Don’t worry, we’d brought along some of his own doggy baked goodies, so he didn’t go without for too long).

So there you go. With Halloween just around the corner I can think of no better a day out than a ghoulish cemetery tour followed by a delish coffee stop.

What are you waiting for?!

img_9544

 

P.S. We promise we’ll try to take you on a cheerier walk next time, in-laws.

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
cafes for dogs, dog friendly cafes, London, the dog blog

Heap’s Sausages- Greenwich

Heap’s Sausages is  a shop that specialises in sausages! Handmade, gourmet, sausages! SAUSAGES! I mean, really – why I don’t live in this shop is frankly a mystery.

The fact that I hadn’t been in this shop until recently is nothing short of bizarre!

Heap’s can be found opposite the theatre in Greenwich. It’s just the kind of place that draws in weary travellers on a cold autumn day with succulent aromas of sausage. Just follow your nose. Do not ever walk past this shop without going in! I don’t care if you’re not hungry. I have walked on by in the past and I now regret every instance.

img_9501

I suppose my main mistake had been to assume that it wouldn’t be dog friendly. It is only a small shop, consisting of a few lovely ’50s style bench seats and a well stocked deli counter selling a range of sausages. I had imagined they may have been a little suspect of dogs, after all, dogs and sausages are a combination that are hard to keep apart.

img_9499

However, as I was wrapped up warm this Autumn day, and with ample outside seating available, I thought I might be able to shout out my order from the door and sit outside with Grenson. But to my surprise they welcomed us both in, and even came up trumps with a large bowl of water.

img_9498

This was much needed. We’d spent the morning walking around Greenwich Park. If you’ve never been to Greenwich Park with your pooch then you must do it at your earliest convenience (that equally applies to you even if you don’t have a pooch). It’s such a beautiful wide open space and the views from the top by the observatory are truly special. Grenson absolutely loves it.

img_9402

Heap’s is literally only a few metres from the park entrance, so once you’ve worked off a few calories with a lovely long walk, you can quickly indulge in a well deserved massive sausage.

I went for the ‘Mr Heap’s Hot Dog’, a breakfast jumbo sausage with onion chutney served in a brioche hotdog bun.

img_9500

Boom! Just look at that! You have to love a sausage that is too big to fit its roll. (I’m not even sure if that actually works as smutty innuendo, but that’s not stopping me accompanying the phrase with a Sid James chuckle in my head).

Absolutely delicious. I’ve since had a look at their website and oh my, the breakfasts look awesome. Maybe next time we’ll have to do two circuits of Greenwich Park if we want to avoid the food guilts…

 

The Man and the Dog

 

 

 

 

Standard
cafes for dogs, dog friendly cafes, London, the dog blog

The Archie Parker – Forest Hill

How has it taken me this long to try out The Archie Parker?

What a name! It’s so cool. Surely it has to be homage to a character from a swinging Sixties Michael Caine classic?  But no, it is even better than that, the truth is that the cafe is named in honour of a little guy even cooler than a Caine character…the owners’ Miniature Schnauzer!

A cafe named in honour of a Mini Schnauzer? What have I been playing at?

IMG_7849

The Archie Parker is a lovely quaint cafe with a 60/70s vibe that can be found just a few minutes walk from Forest Hill train station, along Dartmouth Road. Once there it is difficult to miss the influence of Archie, from the shop logo and the blackboard outside…

IMG_7848

…to the pictures adorning the walls.

IMG_7842

But my personal favourite is the little silhouette on the windows.

IMG_7841

That is pretty awesome.

Then as if this wasn’t enough the man himself arrived on a rare fleeting visit to the shop. Unfortunately the excitement was all too much and I failed to get a picture of the momentous meeting of Archie and Grenson. Some things are best left to the imagination…(I know, I’m a fool. Sorry. Maybe next time?).

Anyway, the reason to visit the Archie Parker isn’t limited to Schnauzer appreciation.

It’s a flipping great cafe!

I had a delicious steak ciabatta that Grenson almost sneaked off with whilst I was trying to take a piccie. (Serves me right I suppose, ‘food is for eating not taking pictures of’, so says Grenson).

IMG_7847

Luckily for me it wasn’t long before Grenson was brought out a little snack of his own.

IMG_7839

Wonderful. So there you have it. Full on Schnauzer appreciation, tasty ciabattas, doggy treats and smooth coffee (sourced from Dark Fluid coffee a local roastery, and also supplier of my essential Brockley Market coffee hit on a Saturday morning). If you need more convincing then bear in mind that this place is also stylish enough to get the Lewisham Card and South East London Journal seal of approval.

IMG_7835

Don’t be a fool like me. Get over there ASAP and check it out…and keep your camera nice and handy just in case Archie makes an appearance.

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

Standard
cafes for dogs, dog friendly cafes, dog friendly hotels, Dorset, the dog blog

Devon and Dorset – Part 6

Staying in a Herder’s Hut was not my idea. When I go on holibobs I am very partial to the luxury of somewhere like the very place we were staying before we went there, the  Salcombe Harbour Hotel. Roughing it, even if it is ‘glamping’, is not my idea of a holiday. However, En Brogue had been on the Canopy and Stars website and was convinced that a couple of nights in a hut would be ‘magical’. That’s what she said! ‘Magical’. How anything that involves a shared toilet could be described as magical I do not know!

With thoughts of roughing it ahead I decided that before setting off I’d make the most of breakfast. The Salcombe Harbour Hotel has a very impressive light and airy restaurant where a bountiful breakfast is served. Unfortunately if you have a dog you can’t go in there. If you have a dog you have to eat outside. This would have been fine, apart from the fact that IT RAINED A LOT ON OUR HOLIDAYS! As a result breakfast had to be done in relay again.

To delay our arrival at the hut a little further, I decided that we should go for another stroll around town. This turned out to be very fortunate as we stumbled across a perfect little deli. The Salcombe Delicatessen provides deliciously filled sarnies and amazing pasties, but most importantly for us, they also do their own range of doggie treats!

IMG_8621

Dog-gestive biscuits! How could we resist? I think the peanut butter fingers may have been Grenson’s favourite treat…ever!

Following our walk we ventured over to North Sands, a fantastic wide sandy beach leading down to the water with the brilliantly named Winking Prawn at its heart providing very tasty seafood lunches. Finally the clouds had parted and the sun was making a rare appearance. And here something strange happened. Suddenly, from being scared of the smallest of waves, Grenson found his water wings! In the end it was all we could do to get the crazy little fella out of the water. (I think those biscuits may be magic!).

IMG_8622

After this there was no putting off the inevitable. We (one of us reluctantly) set off to Dorset and to Laverstock Farm, near Bridport.

My idea of camping is rainy tents, surrounded by families having barbecues, playing loud music and allowing their kids to kick their footballs in my direction. On top of this I’d already been told that in the case of the hut we were staying in there would be no telly, no phone coverage…no electricity!

When we got to the farm we were led to the bottom of a field … and there it was … the most perfect little herder’s hut.

IMG_8277

It’s true that there was no electricity, but this meant that we had to use little lanterns which created the most cosy effect lighting. It’s true that there was no telly, but this meant that we spent a wonderfully atmospheric evening listening to Wales beat Belgium in the quarter finals of the Euros on our battery powered radio. It’s true that there was no phone reception, but it turns out that a couple of hours with no Instagram can be very therapeutic.

As for noisy neighbours? The only ones we had were a herd of cows (who found Grenson very interesting).

IMG_8281

Never let it be said that I won’t admit when I am wrong. When I woke up the next morning, to the smell of bacon sizzling on the camp stove outside, one thought came into my head…Magical!

To be Continued….

The Man and the Dog

 

 

Standard