Hubby and I decided to take a long weekend on the Kent coast for our 5th wedding anniversary. We debated other places but decided that this works for us as it isn’t far from home and we both love Whitstable. Wheelers Oyster bar is one of our favourite restaurants and there is a cafe, Waltshaws, that we love too. What better reason do we need!
We travelled down on Thursday night (09.07.15) after work. Originally we considered taking the train straight from work but given the weather recently, I wanted to take the fans. I managed to finish work a bit earlier on Thursday too because of the London tube strikes. The train home was a bit rubbish because the one beforehand had been cancelled and it was packed. Even that couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm though!
Once we got home, we finished off packing, made sure there was enough food for the cats (in-laws were coming to stay with them from Friday – Monday) and then we were off on our mini-adventure. The drive down should have taken 30 – 40 mins but the roads were terrible. The M2 was backed up because of people trying to get around Operation Stack traffic (don’t get me started on Operation Stack!) so I took a longer route and joined the M2 again at Faversham. Once we got to Whitstable, our exit was closed because there had been an accident. Perfect just perfect!
We finally got there and was ready to start our weekend. Luckily I’d booked dinner later than normal at the Beefeater which was attached to the Premier Inn.
Dinner was nice enough, prawn cocktail for me (I was feeling a bit retro!) and gorgeous blue steak for main. The chef had cooked it really nicely. Often it’s hit or miss whether you get your steak exactly how you want it but this was really well cooked. I was pleasantly surprised. The prawn cocktail was nice too.
Hubby and I were up and out early on Friday morning. We decided to walk into town from the Premier Inn which we’ve never done before. We’ve been doing a lot more walking recently. We are both trying to improve our general fitness and for me it was a choice between a gym or doing something like this. I hate gyms so it was an easy choice really. Walking has had surprising benefits for me. I have a fitbit and I find that I’m regularly hitting my step target on most days and on days like Friday, I am smashing it! It is great to see and feel the benefits!
The walk was enjoyable and didn’t take too long, probably about 20 miutes. I love walking because you get to see so much more of the route, like quirky houses along the way. I found a lovely little cookery shop and nearly came out with a paella pot, even though I’ve never cooked paella in my life! It seems like a good thing to have just in case! I love cookery shops. I can spend hours looking through them. They had these glasses in the shape of small milk bottles (like the ones you used to get from the milk man). They were so cute and I’d definitely find a use for them. I don’t actually need them though and I do need to have a sort out of my kitchen and it’s cupboards though.
The description ‘cheese salad’ doesn’t do it justice, it was a thing of beauty. The cheese was deliciously creamy with a mature tang at the same time. The hot salt beef sandwiches are always delicious and the homemade sausage rolls are a meal on their own. The pasty is flaky with just enough round the edges of the meat. There is no doubt that the sausage meat is the star of the show but it is definitely complemented by that buttery, flaky pastry. We left with a promise to return once we had completed our walk for the day.
We decided to walk towards the beach huts at Seasalter. That was the record that we set last year. I remember it being quite a walk.
It was quite busy as we walked out of the harbour towards Seasalter. I expected it to be though because it was a beautiful day. I think it was the first time that we have been to Whitstable and all the stalls were open. I was quite tempted by the oyster stall but we’d not long had brunch and I was full. Still, it was a beautiful display and looked to be tempting plenty of customers!
The amount of walkers quietened down after we had passed The Old Nepture which is a pub located on the beach at Whitstable and we pretty much had the place to ourselves apart from the odd dog walker. I love the desolation of the beach and it’s natural beauty as you get further out. We watched bees and butterflies in the wildflowers that grew along the route and a man digging for shellfish.
The seafront properties were gorgeous, all different in their own way. We were happily plotting which one we would buy if we wont the lottery! I think I could live in Whitstable and be very happy, especially if it was in a beachfront property
Our aim had been to get to a blue stripey roofed building in the distance in the hopes, I said, that it would sell ice cream!! Sadly it turned out to be some kind of sailing club but we asked some other walkers where we were and where we could find somewhere to get a cup of coffee and they recommended a pub, The Oyster Pearl. It was very cosy inside. Decorated in a modern way but with a local feel. I loved it and instantly felt comfortable. There was a disappointing lack of cake but hubby settled for brownie which was delicious. I opted to wait until we got back to Waltshaws. That would keep me motivated for the walk back. The cup of tea and cold diet coke were very welcome indeed!
I was also very pleased that we’d beaten our last record of getting to the beach huts. I wonder how far we will get next year!
I tried not to think about the walk back. I knew it would be difficult but I was determined to do it and before I knew it we were back in Whitstable and I was sitting down at Waltshaws for a piece of pear and honey cake and an apple juice. I love the apple juice because it actually tastes like apples. I know that is a strange thing to say but when I’ve had apple juice before it has lots of stuff added to it. This doesn’t.
Once we’d finished, it was back to the hotel to relax and have a shower before heading out to the culinary heaven that is Wheelers. This has got to be one of my favourite restaurants in the world. I’d rather go here than anywhere I can think of. I’ve never had a bad meal here, the ingredients are fresh and the passion that the chef has for food is obvious. The atmosphere is laid back, friendly and welcoming.
When you order you need to look at what the course comes with because the accompaniments are as big a delight as the star of the dish. It is quite simply wonderful and I would recommend to you in a heartbeat. Wheelers is a fish restaurant though so if you don’t like fish, you won’t like Wheelers.
We decided to start off with guiness battered oysters. We both love oysters but have never had them cooked before. We weren’t disappointed! It is hard to describe the taste of them and I couldn’t say whether I preferred the cooked or raw oysters. Raw oysters are absolutely delicious but the cooked oysters were also something special. I think it would depend on my mood as to which I’d have.
I was torn between the crab cake and the scallops for starter. I adore scallops but I knew that the crab cake would be good. I like fish cakes but I don’t usually have them when we are out because there is too much potato in them for my taste. I opted for the fishcakes and they were delicious with big lumps of crab in them. Hubby had the scallops so I got to try those too!
When we go to Wheelers we sit up at the counter rather than in the restaurant. It feels more intimate and you get to chat with the other people at the counter and with the people serving. The other couple in the restaurant were nice. They lived locally but said that they didn’t come to Wheelers that often. We chatted on and off throughout the evening about all kinds of things, although when the food came out the counter fell silent which is the sign of a great meal!!
Main course was halibut with chorizo crumble, confit chicken wings, sweetcorn puree, onion ketchup and fondant new potatoes. I’m not usually a fan of new potatoes but these were delicious, as were all the other accompaniments. There were so many flavours going on. I managed to clear my plate for the second course in a row!
Dessert for me was knickerbocker glory and it really was glorious indeed. I have fond memories of them from my childhood but this dessert knocked spots off my childhood memories! It didn’t taste at all artificial and the fruit was obviously very fresh. Hubby had apple and cherry crumble which he loved.
All in all, a fantastic meal and a wonderful anniversary meal. Here’s to next year!