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Kent Chef

The Small Holding wins Best Restaurant at Taste of Kent awards

Will and Matt Devlin with Alisa Sweeny from Thomson, Snell and Passmore

Will and Matt Devlin with Alisa Sweeny from Thomson, Snell and Passmore

The Small Holding, a 28-cover kitchen with one acre of working land, has won Best Restaurant in Kent at the Taste of Kent Awards. The judges commented that The Small Holding was a “unique experience, strong on its local sourcing with a good story and scored highly on its customer service”.

Organised by Produced in Kent since 2004, the Taste of Kent Awards showcase the best of Kent’s food and drink products. It is the county’s longest running and most prestigious annual awards, voted for by the public. The range of categories has grown year on year and now incorporates every product that Kent, the Garden of England, is renowned for including beer, wine, cider, apples and cherries.

Thackeray’s in Tunbridge Wells and Corner House, Canterbury were runners up in the Best Restaurant category.

Will Devlin, chef owner of The Small Holding, comments, “We’re thrilled to have won this award from Produced in Kent. Being voted best restaurant by the general public is a massive boost for the kitchen and garden teams. Everything we do at The Small Holding is about sustainability, traceability, growing and rearing our own produce and working with genuinely local suppliers and farmers. For a restaurant that’s not been operating a full year we’re really thrilled our hard work has been recognised.”

Farm, Food, Flavour at The Small Holding

Poly tunnels at The Small Holding, Kilndown

Kent Chef of the Year is a new client at The Dining Room

I’m delighted that Will Devlin, chef owner of The Small Holding, Kilndown is a new client at The Dining Room.

“Homely village restaurant secreted away in glorious Kent countryside… simple, ingredient-led dishes are fiercely seasonal… triumphant standouts are the village reared pork – served as a cube of beautifully fatty pork belly, a tiny, offaly faggot, homemade blood pudding and a lovely, sticky gravy – and a dish of sweet strawberries with an intense basil ice cream and shortbread.” The Good Food Guide

Will Devlin, 30, is the chef owner of The Small Holding, a kitchen and farm on a country lane in the village of Kilndown on the Kent and East Sussex borders. The 26-cover restaurant has been named as one of the best restaurants in Kent at the Taste of Kent Awards and is set in one acre of land, permitting a unique connection between farm and table. Growing, foraging and cooking the best ingredients is at the core of The Small Holding, with daily changing menus, using home-reared and home-grown ingredients from the farm, which is less than 10ft from the kitchen.

The ten-course Full Acre menu offers the diner a full experience of the farm and kitchen starting with home-made sourdough and butter, made on site with the rich yellow cream from a local Guernsey here. This year The Small Holding is growing nearly 200 varieties of vegetables and fruits. During the peak growing months, the raised beds and poly tunnels are full of lettuces, chard, beans and legumes, tomatoes, courgettes, raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants, plus the foraged bounty from the woods over the lane from the restaurant which offers wood sorrel, blackberries, wild garlic, chestnuts and mushrooms. Rare breed Berkshire pigs, chickens and ducks roam the farm and there are plans this year for cows and goats. The five-course Half Acre menu offers a sample of the Full Acre menu, plus vegetarian and vegan Half and Full Acre menus with wine and non-alcoholic flight pairings.

Sample dishes from the March 2019 menu includes Nettle, Garlic, Black pudding; Skate, Dandelion, Sorrel and for pudding Gypsy Tart, Rhubarb, Cream.

“Growing our own produce on the farm brings an understanding and honesty back to the kitchen, and vital freshness. Making the most of our harvests when the ingredients are at their prime – whilst also preserving and conserving them to use throughout the year, keeps us concentrated on the natural cycle of the land and helps us to create full flavoured and imaginative dishes.” Will Devlin

For more information please contact Hannah Blake at The Dining Room PR on 07730 039361 or hannah@thediningroompr.co.uk