A beautifully designed café and art gallery promoting local artists and serving stunning Kentish seafood.
With the recent reopening of Dreamland and even the LA Times giving print space to England’s seaside revival, Margate is on the up.
Tucked down King Street just off Margate’s lovely Old Town, Hantverk & Found is in an unprepossessing black and green building, the window dotted with hand drawn ships. Inside this cosy, four-table café has been lovingly decorated; railway replica lampshades and filament bulbs bounce light gently off the copper and green-tiled surfaces, and chalk boards display the day’s menu. Colchester rock oysters with chilli-pickled cucumber (£1.50 each) for example, or smoked mackerel, beetroot and horseradish salad with rye (£7.50). The staff are friendly and the welcome is warm; the proximity of the tables means you can’t help but chat with the other diners (a positive or negative, depending on how social you are).
Chef Kate de Syllas writes her menu based on what’s caught that day. There’s a mix of small, nibbly bits and more substantial dishes with a smattering of desserts thrown in for those harbouring a sweet tooth – the poached rhubarb on brioche with Greek yogurt and rose was delicious in its simplicity.
Any seafood lover would be happy with the choice of mains: spiced crab on brioche with Kentish apple salad (£9), pan-fried sea bass with basil oil (£13) or, for the more adventurous, whole crab – hammer included! There are vegetarian options too, and some local charcuterie and cheese boards that would be great with a glass, or bottle, from their very reasonable and interesting wine list.
Don’t miss the chance to wander downstairs and peruse the art space (even the brass taps in the bathrooms are worth a gander). The changing exhibits are aimed at promoting local artists, who produce art that is commercially viable in Margate (i.e. affordable). With the success of the Turner Contemporary and other independent galleries, art has proven a great way to pump some life back into seaside towns such as Margate and Folkestone.
Having only been open three weeks, Hantverk & Found is already showing signs of great promise. From 23 July they will be open Thursday and Friday daytime as well as at the weekend, so even more time to grab a table (booking is advised) either inside or out in the courtyard if the sun is shining.
Bullseye: If you want one dish to convince you that you need to come back here again and again, the spiced crab on brioche with a sweet-tart Kentish apple and celery salad is the one to do it.
Price: £54 for two people, not including the whole crab