cafes for dogs, Dog Friendly, Dog Friendly Accommodation, dog friendly cafes, dog friendly hotels, dog friendly pubs, dog friendly restaurants, Dog Friendly Shops, Fashion, pubs for dogs, the dog blog, Whitstable

Whitstable – Waves and more

We recently went away for a weekend break with our good friends Daisy and Gav….AND COUSIN ALF!!!

There is no real reason for me to write anymore, after all, you just want to see a picture of Grenson and Alf together, and who am I to deny you?!

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Yes this post could simply be filled with gratuitous cuteness, but that would be unfair, because I’ve lots to tell you about Whitstable.

First off, if you haven’t been then sort it out, you need to go! Secondly if you do go then check out Waves self catering holiday cottage. Not only is it a beautiful little cottage and super dog friendly…

…but it also happens to be in the most amazing location, with a brilliant little dog friendly pub literally stumbling distance from the front door!

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Good pubs, with scratchings and pool tables literally across the road are always going to make me and Gav happy. Alf too was having a good time, as he realised that he was able to steal big cousin Grenson’s lamb dinner (turning his white beard a shade of orange!), and then spend the night climbing all over his Uncle!

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Where do I start with what makes Whitstable so great? Is it the oysters that are as fresh as they come? Or the beach that even in the snow is still lovely?

Well actually for us it’s probably the shops! I mean you can’t really go wrong with Ruskin, a shop that not only welcomes dogs but also has a copy of one of En Brogue‘s books in the shop window!

I have to say for me the cafes and breakfast stops are also a highlight. We found a lovely one just around the corner simply monikered Cafe + Kitchen, that did a brilliant bacon sarnie.

Then we found the Windy Corner Stores & Cafe on the last morning, a cute little retro corner shop/cafe that was very much appreciated after a brisk walk along the beach. The mushrooms on toast went down a treat!

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Oh yes! There are also the pubs and food!!

A visit to the Lobster Shack is an absolute must for all seafood (and beer) lovers.

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And we can highly recommend the Pearson Arms too. We popped in for a lunchtime drink and found more dogs in there than people!! Any place that dog friendly is going to get our custom. So we booked for dinner, and boy we did not regret it.

Absolutely deee-licious!

So there you have it. So much to see and do (and eat and drink), and I didn’t even have time to tell you about the wine shop with a fine selection of sweets! But no fear, we plan a return trip in the Summer, this time adding our other friends and their little ones into the mix (that’s kids, not dogs). So I imagine sweet shops will be high the list for the kiddies (and the wine will be a priority for the adults!).

Meanwhile Grenson finally taught Alf the joys of Schnauzer wrestling. This led to Alf spending the entire last two days jumping on Grenson’s head until eventually we had to prise them apart and make them take a break and have a drink of water…before they went straight back to wrestling.

BFFs!!

 

The Man and the Dog.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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(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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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!).

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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The Man and the Dog.

 

 

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Ye Olde George Inn – Shoreham

As last weekend was a bank holiday long easter weekend (yay!) we had a visit from the in-laws (a.k.a Grandma and Grandie, as Grenson knows them). As a result of this, Brother-in-law suggested that we all take a trip into the country, and more importantly, visit a little village pub that he had recently discovered.

So, on Sunday morning he gathered us together at Catford train station … Woah, hold on! That can’t be right. Catford Station?! For anyone not associated with the environment of South East London, just take it from me that countryside and village pubs are not something that you easily associate with Catford Station!

However, it turns out that surprisingly, if you take the train in the opposite direction to the big smoke, within 30 short minutes, you will find yourself in the glorious greenery of the British countryside.

Unfortunately for us we’d planned our day trip to coincide with tropical storm grade weather. With rain and hail sheeting down and ominous black clouds on the horizon we cut short our planned walk and headed straight to the pub (always the best idea if you ask me).

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Disaster struck again as we approached Ye Olde George Inn to find that it didn’t open until 12 o’clock. Panic was about to set in, until I realised it was 11:59. There is nothing that makes you feel more of a party animal/serious alcoholic than banging on the door of a pub at Sunday opening time!

At 12:01 (I’ve no idea what the cause of the delay had been!?) finally the doors opened and what I found inside was well worth the wait.

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Is there a more welcoming sight to a weary and sodden traveller than a roaring open fire in the hearth of a pub fireside? … well yes there is actually … that menu.

Now I could go on about the lovely friendly welcome, the fact that our early arrival was not a problem at all, or the excellent choice of fine ales. But quite frankly I simply must move straight on to the food.

I ordered the rack of lamb for my main course. Oh my! Not only did I receive a mountain of succulent lamb but it was balancing magnificently on top of a ‘black pudding and potato ribbon cake’. Behold this wondrous invention in the picture below.

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It was A.MAAAZE.ING. (As the kids might say).

Whilst in a state of meaty nirvana, pudding orders were taken and I found myself presented with a dreamy chocolate fondant with Chantilly cream.

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Absolute flippin HEAVEN!

Quite frankly I could have stayed here all day and had the same again for dinner.

However, Grenson had been promised a country walk, and if we were all to avoid falling into food coma, a little walk around Shoreham to burn off some of the calories was in order. It seemed like a lovely little picturesque village but alas, the heavens opened again, forcing us to abandon the walk and hastily waddle as quickly as we could with full bellies back up to the train station.

So if you feel the need for a bit of fresh air, a walk, and a belly full of black pudding and potato ribbon cake, then jump on a train from Catford and you can have it all in just over 30 minutes … admittedly that is only any good if you’re near Catford in the first place and I appreciate some of you may be a little further away… I still recommend the journey though however long it takes. BLACK PUDDING AND POTATO RIBBON CAKE!! It’s worth travelling for days for that!

Before you do set off though, it might be an idea to check the weather forecast first…

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The Man and the Dog.

 

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