Review: Arya, Ramsgate
This hidden gem in Ramsgate, which serves tapas dishes with a twist, is one of our latest Muddy foodie favourites and a MUST for anyone who likes to have their finger on the pulse when it comes to Michelin-esque food in Kent.
EAT NOW UPDATE!
Ayra is re-opening its doors on May 19 2021 and are currently taking online bookings – click here (£10 per person deposit is taken when booking). They are also switching things up and doing a five course set menu (for £30 per person) instead of the usual sharing plates concept.
When we say hidden gem, we really mean it as Arya is tucked away in a room above Ravensgate Arms Pub on King Street in Ramsgate. But trust us, foodies will want to seek it out – this place justifiably won a Michelin Bib Gourmand – and has such a warm, welcoming vibe.
Ramsgate, like many other seaside destinations in that part of Kent, is on the up when it comes to foodie scene so it’s well worth making a day of it or staying overnight if you can sneak away.
OUT AND ABOUT
Ahead of our dinner at Arya, we took a stroll through town and had a drink at The Albion, a boutique hotel and restaurant, overlooking the sea and well-known for hosting royalty, politicians and actors in years gone by. However next time, we are going to leave more time for a pre-dinner drink at Ravensgate Arms pub, a craft boozer which is what every cosy pub should look like in our book with hops hanging from the ceiling plus cool and quirky cocktails on offer alongside those craft beers.
You feel like you are entering someone’s very cool and contemporary home when walking into Arya. This pop-up space has two separate areas with on-trend darkly coloured painted walls and a mix match of furniture and decorations which all blends together in a rather weird yet wonderful way with artwork by local vegan artist Florence Featherstone who raises money for animal charities as the finishing unconventional touch.
SCOFF & QUAFF
Arya is family-run restaurant with siblings, Luke and Jess Crittenden at the helm and fun foodie fact is that their other brother is Ben Crittenden, Thanet’s first Michelin starred chef who is behind Stark in Broadstairs and he has been hugely supportive of this venture.
Plus Ayra was awarded its own Michelin Bib Gourmand and Luke has worked with some of the best chefs in London including the late Gary Rhodes, Chris and Jeff Galvin, before becoming head chef at Polpetto and working with Florence Knight. Luke wanted to bring that level of food to this part of Kent and in more places across the UK in the years to come so watch this space!
Before we delve into the menu, you should know that Luke forages most of his ingredients from all over Kent which is evident from their Insta pages so rest assured, you will only be eating the freshest of foods. As you can imagine, what cannot be foraged is obtained locally where possible, with meat coming from Broadstairs, fish from local fishermen and sourdough from nearby Margate.
Have we got you hungry yet? The menu changes on a regular basis but the concept here is small plates to share so NO food envy will happen at this place as you can try it all. We were guided by the very friendly Jess who advised us on what dishes what we should not leave without sampling and I wish I was blessed with the words to describe how exquisite the whole meal was – from start to finish.
We kicked off with the Vegan blue cheese, chicory, hop shoots orange and croutons which was uncannily like a standard blue cheese and perfectly executed in terms of presentation and taste. Clams, potato gnocchi and saffron followed with the clever combination of pillowy-potato goodness encased in a crispy skin with a creamy saffron sauce and clams sourced locally – of course.
Other winning dishes included Sea Bass served with pink fir potatoes, wild mushrooms and dandelion as well as Scallops with Jerusalem artichoke, harissa and pine nuts. The one dish however that I simply can’t stop thinking about was the Octopus with chickpeas cooked in squid ink with red pepper and the crunchiest of cavalo nero served on top. HEAVEN.
On a quaff note, you order your wine (or other drinks) from The Ravensgate Arms but Jess will bring them up to you. The wine list is on the short-side but we enjoyed a Riesling Cuvee Michel Leon from Alsace for something different. I am returning to try one of their cocktails though as its signature Rhubarb & Custard was winking at me with rhubarb puree, cream soda, lemon juice and GIN.
And of course, there was room to try one of the puddings with Jess recommending the Biscoff cheesecakes which arrived deconstructed (in the trendy way I may add) with rosehip syrup and crunchy praline served on top. If you appreciate good food – I urge you to go and try it all for yourself.
It is doggie-friendly – yes you heard that right – and at our sitting, there were two pooches laid out under their owners’ table looking very pleased with themselves and this inclusion very much fits in with the vibe that it feels less like a restaurant and more along the lines, you have gone to somebody’s home for some exceptionally good food.
It’s important to note that Ayra is only available to eat from Wednesday to Saturday evenings so make sure you book in advance to reserve your table as there is limited capacity and obviously hot demand to sample the ever-changing menu here.
Lastly, any Games of Thrones’ fans noticed the thread linking the two Crittenden brother restaurants together?
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Great date night as the sharing dishes means no fighting over who had the better meal as well as a place for foodie-lovers to gather and marvel at the cooking. I would say that the food errs on the fussier side for children BUT at our visit, two tables had young teenagers with them who were raving about the food to their parents so go forth if you have adventurous kids in tow.
Not for: Those who love a white tablecloth when it comes to fine dining. Don’t go if you are after a chic experience or for the décor (although we loved the laid-back and homely vibe) – the food does the talking at this place.
The damage: You will find that the tapas dishes start from around £5 for the more veggie-based dishes and up to £15 for the more exotic dishes such as the unmissable Octopus.
Above The Ravensgate Arms Pub, 56-58 King Street, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 8NY, Tel: 07943628357, www.aryaramsgate.co.uk