June 4, 2015
The Sportsman Whitstable Kent
The past and present day environment is intrinsic to the cooking at The Sportsman and it is no surprise to find that this region used to supply the kitchens of Canterbury Cathedral, to provide for the Archbishop and the church during and after the time of Thomas Beckett. It is not hard on an early spring morning to feel a sense of history in the landscape that surrounds the building.
If you travel to the Sportsman, from Whitstable, it’s a journey through suburbs of red brick bungalows with clipped hedges and tight buds. Around a wide bend and suddenly it’s all a bit looser, a bit rougher, a little more unpredictable, gardens with tubs of primary plastic floral bouquets, gnomes, miniature houses, bridges and fairytale scenes, then the railway bridge, narrow, leads you past a caravan park on the left, rows of steel in particular shades of green and beige and now it’s getting a little bit louche, as you reach the shacks on the seafront, asbestos wreckage side by side with chic clapboard, little to tell from this backside view of these tightly packed hideaways of the stretch in front of them, the beach, the secret that makes this part of the world extraordinary. You could pass through without a backward glance and miss it in an instant, but on the right day, which is almost every day, these little homes really own a slice of paradise.
At the end of the row is a glimpse of the yawning estuary, tide out, mud flats and shingle banks glinting in the weak, bleak light, and on the left marshland which sustains and nourishes a hundred sheep, spring lambs wobble as the crow soars and the train splits the field with a whoosh.
A green dyke slopes up between the road and the sea, and a row of telegraph poles leads the way to the quiet white broad face of The Sportsman, the brothers Harris and their clan, wait to serve you with possibly one of the best meals you will ever eat. It’s a total surprise and delight to find on this untidy edge of Whitstable this place of refined dining and uncommon charm.
We thought we wouldn’t find a more unique and fine introduction to The Edible and so we began. We are hoping to bring you chefs in their element, unfettered and indulgent, cooking without pretension and from the heart.