Macknade Fine Foods
With a new deck area to eat out in the sunshine and a big birthday bash (you're invited by the way) to celebrate 40 years of delicious fine foods in Faversham this award winning restaurant and deli is well worth a visit...
First things first, it’s not in the prettiest of destinations as Macknade is positioned just off the A2 on the Selling Road and less than two minutes from the M2 but DO NOT let this deter you from delving into this 10,000 sq ft of foodie heaven. In fact, it is an absolute positive that it is super easy to get to if you are plotting a journey there from across Kent and I assure you, from the bottom of my well-filled stomach, that you will not be disappointed. You can also easily walk there from Faversham station (15 mins or 5 min via taxi) plus there is a bicycle rack for those who are super fit and healthy or have just cunningly figured out a neat way to burn off those calories afterwards.
You may also not be bowled over by its outward appearance – a converted agricultural building – but the amount of the cars in its car park, will soon tell you that this is THE place to go in Kent for the ultimate foodie experience, be it food shopping for you or heading to the café to let them do the hard work for you.
Turn left upon leaving Macknade and you will find miles of rural Kent and an abundance of fields where a lot of the local produce at Macknade has been either grown, reared or made. A lesson to not let first impressions deceive you.
It’s important to know the history here as that is what really sets Macknade apart from its competitors. It is the ultimate marriage (quite literally) of British farming (from 1847 with Fredrick Neame Snr at the helm) with continental food culture when Fredrick’s great great granddaughter, Patricia, married Renato Cuomo who was originally from the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples. Together they built Macknade to be one of the country’s leading food halls serving not only local produce but also stocking the very best food and drink from Italy and all over the world. Macknade is now run by Renato and Patricia’s son, Stefano, and Renato is still often known to lead Italian supper clubs at Macknade.
Fun fact: The M in the Macknade logo is inspired by the shape of an oast house which are a very familiar feature in this part of Kent.
You’ll want to take time to explore Macknade. Consider buying food after you have eaten because we cannot be held responsible for what you might do at a cheese counter that stocks over 150 different cheeses with a rumbling tummy. If cheese is not your thing, no bother, as you will be sure to find something that tickles your food fancy. They’ve also opened an in-house florist, wonderfully named, The Floral Madam, offering custom bouquets, indoor plants & a selection of gorgeous gifts.
The café is positioned at the end of the food hall (the clever people there know how to work up your appetite and grab you on the way out) and the vibe there is very relaxed with wooden beams, pine tables and a big blackboard with the daily specials.
SCOFF & QUAFF
Listen I am no food critic but I know a really good sandwich when I see one. And The New Yorker is going to the top of my list. Pastrami, Wookey hole cheddar, gherkins & Dijon mustard all packed into toasted brown sourdough bread from their in-house bakery, Wild Bread. Macknade is also well-known for its platter dishes so we went for their Ploughmans Board which was a smorgasbord of pure and utter delight. Shropshire blue and Winterdale Shaw cheeses with Sussex gammon, chutney, balsamic onions and their mightyfine coleslaw which was, funnily enough, mighty fine.
As you can expect from a farm food hall, the menus reflect the season and so we also opted for one of their Specials (how had I forgotten that I am meant to be in a bikini next week) which was a Roast Parsnip soup topped with truffle oil and walnuts and again some of that sourdough bread.
Did I need a pudding? Course I bloody didn’t but a slice of juicy carrot cake was winking at me from a line-up of freshly baked cakes at the counter and so I went for it alongside a cappuccino. The Italian gene for good coffee is represented in the fact that they import their house coffee directly from the Italian roaster Manaresi plus they also source coffee from small batch artisan roasters in the UK and offer regularly change guest blends.
OUT & ABOUT
Within the immediate radius of Macknade, you will find it impossible not to also pop into Herman’s Plaice or Hercules Wine Warehouse, which are adjacent to the food hall, and like Macknade, you will find friendly people who are truly passionate about good food (and wine) and pride themselves on stocking the very best produce.
Make sure you keep a close eye on the events that Macknade hosts throughout the year and book quickly to avoid disappointment as they get filled up very quickly. Recent events have included a supper club with Chetna Makan (from Great British Bake Off and now on her third cook book) as well as regular tastings with local producers such as The Fudge Kitchen and ciders from Kentish Pip – a family-run business that produces ciders made from fresh apple juice.
You can also hire rooms (think bare brick walls, exposed beams, open fire places and maps & photos dating back over 100 years) at Macknade if you want to put on a party with really good food at the heart of it. And if you have a baby or toddler, help is at hand with a range of classes including Massage & yoga sessions for parents and young babies as well as Reading Fairy classes which have been designed to develop crucial building blocks for little ones to learn to read and love books for life.
During the summer months, the deck at Macknade is known to be a destination point in the early evening with live music, food tastings and a very relaxed and happy atmosphere. Well with all of that going on, you would be very happy and relaxed, wouldn’t you?
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Great for large groups or smaller parties with plenty of seating but expect to queue a little as it was heaving on a Thursday lunch-time when I visited. Children are also very welcome with high chairs and kids menus. Phew.
Not for: Those looking for the chic wine and dine experience. This is all about good food, and I mean really good food, in a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere with a rustic farm décor.
The damage: Everything was very reasonable considering how good the food was – parsnip soup was £4.95 and sandwiches from £5.95. The platter dishes start at £7.95 (for one) and option to increase to two people if you want to share or just really fill your cheeks.
Macknade Fine Food, Selling Road. Faversham. Kent ME13 8XF, 01795 534497, firstname.lastname@example.org www.macknade.com
Shop opening hours:
Monday to Saturday – 9.00am to 6.00pm
(The delicatessen and butchery closes at 5.30pm)
Sunday – 10.00am to 4.00pm
Café opening hours:
Monday to Saturday – 9.00am to 5.00pm
Sunday – 10.00am to 4.00pm
(The kitchen closes at 4.30pm and 3.30pm respectively)
Florist opening hours:
Tuesday to Saturday – 9.00am to 5.00pm
Deck opening hours (summer only):
Friday to Sunday – 12.00pm to 4.00pm
(Last orders at 3.30pm)