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Review: Macknade Food Village

Get this on your radar! Macknade has just opened a Food Village at its Faversham flagship store, we took one for the team and did a gastro-tour on your behalf...

For those who are not in the foodie-know, Macknade should be well and truly on your radar. With the recent opening of its Food Village at its Faversham flagship store, we undertook a global gastro-tour on your behalf so you can unearth yet another excuse to divert here… 

THE LOCATION 

Kent is fortunate enough to have not one – but two – Macknades in our lives and there are whispers of more Macknade spaces coming to Kent. Its Faversham Food Hall is set within 10,000 sq ft of foodie heaven and is based just outside of the historic market town, within a former farm building that now houses an insane amount of cheese and fresh produce, alongside speciality fine foods, as well as an in-house butcher, florist and café.  

Macknade, Ashford

You will find the other Macknade in Ashford at Elwick Place – a new 100,00 sq ft leisure and restaurant development in Ashford Town Centre designed by the acclaimed Guy Holloway Architects which is shaping up nicely to be another foodie destination in our lives.  

THE LOWDOWN 

Macknade opened its new Food Village so guests can enjoy its deck with a global tour of some original flavours alongside some tasty classics. Expect authentic wood-fired pizza (with the sourdough starters made by their head chef from Naples) as well as fusion food from Silver Birch with Jamaican and Japanese (yes you heard that right) influences and homemade Indian food from husband-and-wife duo – Karara. Just make sure you arrive with an appetite!  

THE VIBE 

You will find lots of seating options – from deckchairs (big discussion on could we risk getting up again in a civilized manner) to tables and chairs provided by the local Neptune store as well as seating overlooking the neighbouring fields. The new Macknade mural got the big thumbs-up as it is a colourful backdrop bringing the ethos of Macknade to life through its funky illustrations. We were lucky enough to witness Macknade’s resident artist, Gen putting the finishing touches to the piece.  

It is also worth knowing that well behaved four-legged family members are very welcome too and it’s a good spot to go as a family especially as the sweet pizza topped with hazelnut spread, mascarpone and brownie crumbs, is a big hit with all age groups.  

SCOFF & QUAFF 

To give you the full lowdown, we opted for a dish from each foodie vendor so we could speak with authority about our experience. It was absolutely nothing to do with the fact so many tasty options were winking at us from every corner of the Food Village.   

We began our foodie journey at Silver Birch Fine Foods and prepare to be gobsmacked by this new style of fusion street food cuisine. Anthony Birch is at the helm, and you will find that everything is either made from scratch (from food to the van which he designed and made) or picked locally to bring some really unique flavours to the table.

From his homemade drum-smoker, we opted for the Hickory Smoked BBQ Brisket – 72 hours Braised Bourbon Beef in a rich treacly bbq sauce – served on a bed of Truffle Parmesan fries, Sriracha Aioli and Raw Asian Slaw with micro herbs picked fresh that morning. They also make their bread specifically for their burgers and our one big regret was leaving without sampling their newly launched Silver Birch gin.  

Next up was a Thali platter from Karara where you can mix and match their dishes with basmati cumin rice and side accompaniments. If you need to scratch an itch for authentic and aromatic Indian food, then you need to try Paul Babra and his wife Rani’s cooking. Smoked Aubergine Bhartha won our hearts that day alongside its Pakka Chicken Curry and it’s an ideal way to share a meal with a fellow foodie in your life or you can enjoy an Indian flat bread wrap stuffed full of foodie goodness if you are solo – and don’t be worried about spice as they have options for all palates! 

You may be surprised to hear that we finished our feasting with a Panuozzo which is basically a pizza butty – there’s veggie options but we tried the Choripan, pictured above, which comes stuffed with butterflied chorizo sausage (yes, smack those lips in anticipation).

This is your ultimate hangover cure (with a friend in fact confirming that it had cured hers the following day) wrapped up in a succulent bun. Perfection. The Deck at Macknade also serves wood-fired pizzas, interesting twists on classic baguettes, the Classic Mack burger as well as a thoughtful Kids’ menu so EVERYBODY is going to leave on a foodie-high after your visit.  

On a quaff note, we went for Whole Earth Organic Sodas but there is draught/bottle beer plus Aperol Spritz, Prosecco, G&Ts and wines if you wish to settle in – and don’t forget that Macknade is well-known for its Italian coffee so add that to your global tour.  

OUT AND ABOUT 

Before you leave, we insist you visit its expansive Food Hall and dare you to walk out without something delicious catching your eye and jumping into your trolley. There is also an indoor Café for a cosier catch-up plus fitness classes and mum & baby groups will also be back soon at Macknade’s studio space.  

For those who appreciate fine wine as well as your daily staples, make sure you visit its dedicated off-license where you will find a wide range of wines alongside local indie brands such as Kentish Pip. I was on the hunt for a bottle of Pisco for an impromptu desire for a Pisco Sour that evening and they were able to help and will even order in for you if they do not have that item in stock.  

Whitstable is within easy reach (just 8 miles away) plus you can walk around Faversham and soak up its history, especially with the Shepherd Neame Visitor Experience on your doorstep, and Standard Quay is a great spot for sundowners at the end of the day or return for more food at Macknade!  

ANYTHING ELSE?

All independent traders are open from 11am until 4pm Thursday to Sunday, and late until 7.30pm on Thursday and Friday. The full menu can be viewed online – click here to see – so you can salivate ahead of your visit.

Another indie food business has also joined the fray – Taco Bill’s launched at Macknade after our visit so you can add some Tex-Mex flavours to your global foodie journey plus keep an eye out for Macknade’s popular supper clubs which will be imminently returning to the store.  

THE MUDDY VERDICT 

GOOD FOR? Those with adventurous and curious palates as there are some serious foodie flavours going on at Silver Birch Fine Foods as well as some fiery flavours at Karara, but also works for those who just fancy a simple yet really good and authentic pizza. I’d love to return with a group of girl mates (or even the husband) for sundowners fuelled by an endless feeding frenzy.  

NOT FOR? Those looking for a sleek and slick dining experience. This is a very well-run operation but as you can imagine, the food items will come at different times as they are being made by individual vendors so you may find that you are eating at different times to your dining companions but even more reason to just share every dish…?

THE DAMAGE Prices will vary for each vendor but pizzas range from £7 to £13, our Karara Thali platter was £15 (for 2) and our Fully Loaded BBQ Beef Brisket from Silver Birch Fine Foods was £9.25. 

Selling Road, Faversham, Kent, ME13 8XF, Tel: 01795 534497

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