Hide and Fox, Saltwood: restaurant review
Try delicate poached lemon sole, strawberry and tonka bean mousse and refreshing gin cocktails pepped up with almond syrup at this seasonal-focussed restaurant in a hidden corner of Kent
Looking for restaurant in Kent? Read our review of seasonal-focussed Hide and Fox, and check out more places to eat in Kent here.
Hide and Fox in a nutshell
Hide and Fox is a flash of culinary brilliance in a hidden corner of Kent that will reward those who seek it out.
The small team behind Hide and Fox have CVs studded with Michelin stars, AA rosettes and industry awards. In the kitchen, Kent-born Allister Barsby has worked his way around the UK, including three years as head chef at the two-Michelin-starred Gidleigh Park in Devon, under Michael Caines. More recently he worked at the three-AA-rosette The Grove of Narberth in Pembrokeshire, where he and his partner, Alice Bussi, met chef de partie Amy and head sommelier Marina, whom they’ve brought on board for Hide and Fox.
Front of house, Alice, a 2018 Hotel Cateys Food and Beverage Manager of the Year award winner, and Marina are both trained sommeliers and have worked at the likes of five-star Gallia Palace in Tuscany and the three-Michelin-starred Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse at Hotel de Paris in Monaco. Marina is also an inventive mixologist and has created a list of enticing pre- and post-dinner cocktails.
What’s the vibe?
Situated in the historic general store on The Green in Saltwood, just outside of Folkestone, the building is full of charm. An ornately carved wooden dresser is original to the building and displays the eclectic wine list.
The furniture and tableware are elegant and understated, as is the service. It doesn’t take long to notice the years of experience; it’s evident in everything from the welcome to the placement of the cutlery. Alice and Marina are attentive and knowledgeable without being heavy handed.
What’s the food like at Hide and Fox?
The menu is a rotating cast of seasonal, Kentish produce, allowing Allister to make the most of the restaurant’s location. On our visit, the results were dreamlike. The freshest gazpacho with yogurt and basil oil, the fluffiest house-made sourdough with whipped butter, and a light-as-air tapioca cracker with smoked cod’s roe, brown shrimp and micro coriander set the tone – and those were just the amuse bouches.
Everything is done with precision. Dressed crab zings with lime zest, mango chutney and curry mayo, and a lime and cardamom gastrique (a sugar and vinegar reduction) that perfectly captured the flavours of summer. Creamy, caramelised sweetbreads arrive with charred baby leeks, mushroom espuma (foam) and pickled shallots – an earthy, savoury counterpoint to the citrussy crab. There was Romney Marsh lamb, loin and belly, each cooked to their own version of perfection; the richness of the belly lifted with goat’s curd, anchovy crumb and braised baby gem. Delicate lemon sole, poached and then blow torched, landed with cauliflower, broad beans, grapefruit, brown shrimp and capers, sitting on top of thin, silky slices of caramelised apple.
Desserts were confident, sunshine plates bursting with fruit: strawberry and tonka bean mousse with honeycomb, sablé and strawberry sorbet, and poached cherries with white chocolate tofu, pistachio ice cream and meringue. All light but bursting with flavour.
And the drinks?
With two sommeliers on hand, you know the wine list is going to be top notch. The team are more than happy to make suggestions based on your meal, flavour preferences, interests or budget and their knowledge is extensive.
Alice and Marina have worked together to create a list that offers something a bit different. We tried a txakolina from Galicia, which brought out the bright flavours in the crab. A 12-month barrel fermented bordeaux blanc stood up boldly to the silkiness of the sweetbreads; and the Lebanese Château Ksara was a delight with the lamb, balancing the earthiness of the meat and enhancing the sweetness of the seasonal veg.
A good selection of wines are available by the glass and there is a paired wine option with the tasting menu, too.
Marina has also created a fantastic list of cocktails and mocktails. The White Cliff, made with London dry gin, almond syrup, lemonade, grapefruit and mint, is a refreshing way to start.
Get in now (particularly for the great-value set lunch menu at £29 for three courses) – it won’t be long before the inspector comes calling.
Hide and Fox, The Green, Saltwood, Kent CT21 4PS
Words by Pami Hoggatt
Photographs by Karuna Clayton