Eat out: The Small Holding
A rustic restaurant that packs a real foodie punch. Table for two, please, and make it snappy!
Just opened this year, The Small Holding Farm and Kitchen offers wonderful home-grown and reared produce, hence the name. It’s run by brothers Will and Matt Devlin from the No Fixed Abode restaurant pop-ups and within weeks of it launching word reached our shell-like that they had created something rather special… Table for two, please, Muddy’s paying a visit!
You’ll find The Small Holding tucked down a country lane in Kilndown, (between Lamberhurst and Cranbrook). On the former site of The Globe and Rainbow pub it’s off the beaten track yet easy enough to get to, not being far from the A21.THE VIBE
This is very much a bar and restaurant, rather than a pub – while it’s relaxed and welcoming it is definitely a foodie destination with the kitchen element being the star of the show. The sunny decked area overlooking the smallholding at the front is perfect for weekend walkers. Inside there’s a cosy bar, wooden floorboards and old farm equipment decorating the walls.
SCOFF & QUAFF
Will Devlin is one of Kent’s most exciting chefs who you might recognise from Thackerays and The Windmill in Hollingbourne. The Small Holding is a long-term dream in the making – the vision of owning an acre of land on which to grow the produce (salads and veggies, as well as keeping pigs, ducks and chickens). Choose a salad and Will’s out there picking it from the garden! And brother Matt is a great knowledge on the wine/drink side of the restaurant and will match your food choices with the best wine or craft beer options, should you wish.
On arrival you’ll be handed a sealed brown envelope with the menu inside. There’s no sides, no mains just two tasting options – the ‘Half Acre’ (six courses) and ‘Full Acre’ (nine courses), priced at £25 and £45 respectively. Each one reads like a gastronomic glossary – think dishes such as ‘100 Day Aged Sirloin, Chard, Courgettes’, and ‘Scallop, Turners Cider, Lovage’. There are full Vegetarian and Vegan Menus too – pretty impressive.
If you’re just popping in for a quick bite you’ll want to go for the Small Plates menu – the Kentish Asparagus, Poached Egg, (£8) or Dungeness Crab on Toast, (£7) would get my vote.
OUT & ABOUT
A beautiful, unspoilt region of Kent and perfect walking territory. Nearby you’ve got Bedgebury (a forest and park offering loads of outdoor fun from bikes to Go Ape tree climbing) and Bewl Water reservoir just minutes away.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Foodies will love this place – it’s how real food should taste. So will vegetarians and vegans. Will and Matt’s passion and enthusiasm is infectious. Great pitstop for walkers. It’s a grown up experience and not surprisingly attracts more of an adult crowd. Great date night option – there’s a sense of adventure and enjoying an experience about this place.
The damage: Half Acre (six courses) £25 per head and ‘Full Acre’ (nine courses) £45. Small Plates Menu examples include: Kent Collection Charcuterie & Piccalilli, £7; Crisp Cod Loin, Soy Ketchup, £6 and Ashmore Cheddar Rarebit on Toast, £5.
The Small Holding Farm & Kitchen, Ranters Lane, Kilndown, Cranbrook, TN17 2SG, Tel: 01892 890105, thesmallholding.restaurant