Yummy: The Curious Eatery!
Take a tumble down the rabbit hole and you’ll find something magical – a really buzzing eatery, with exceptional food and a real community feel. Including new globes safe for winter dining in your bubble (literally!)
The Curious Eatery is a brilliant little restaurant set up in what was a disused pub in Boughton Monchelsea, south of Maidstone and just north of Sutton Valence. The immediate surrounds are quite suburban and the pub is tucked down a quiet street – so on first arrival you might be forgiven for thinking you’ve taken a wrong turn.
Nothing on the outside really hints at what you’ll find when you step through the door. The restaurant sits inside The Albion Inn – a previously run down pub which the team, alongside the local community, renovated over four years ago. But, like Alice, tumble down the rabbit hole (or, er, open the door and enter) and you’ll find something magical – a really buzzing place, with exceptional food and a real community feel.
Run by sisters Lesley and chef Nicole (also known as Pixie) who has cooked for Richard Branson, this is tasty wholesome, unfussy food at its best. They both trained in Cape Town at Silwood School of Cookery, Le Cordon Bleu. Growing up in Botswana, travelling and working around the world enabled them to bring together all their skills and ideas to create their own eatery.
The interiors are pure rustic charm. Lots of bare brick, wood and colourful quirky details that nod to the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland theme and the whole ‘curious’ hidden-gem nature of the restaurant.
Upstairs there’s more seating – and a private dining room which can be hired out for special occasions – in fact you can hire out the whole floor. Planning an Intimate Wedding? Anyone that has had to change their wedding plans due to the current situation might want to consider The Curious Eatery as a smaller ‘Covid-19 friendly’ venue.
Bringing their trademark twinkly style and magic, The Curious Eatery team can provide a beautiful intimate ceremony with a socially distant outdoor picnic. Read their mention in Festival Brides here.
SCOFF & QUAFF
They have an incredible team of people, their Chef Ollie was a Junior Sous Chef at Tom Kerridge’s restaurant ‘The Hand & Flowers’ – so we’re talking very good pedigree. All the food is freshly prepared daily and oh-so-tasty.
My lunch companion, George, and I were both ravenous when we turned up for a very rare mid-week treat – and we were not disappointed. George choose a dish from the Lunch Specials – the African beef curry served in a loaf, with cape malay sauce and a green salad, which she described as mouth-wateringly delicious. I went for the Vegan Burger, with vegan pesto, pickled beetroot and served with skinny fries. The burger was sensational – a wonderful texture and so flavoursome.
The food is all fresh and, as much as possible, seasonal and locally sourced. Lots of great options for pudding but we couldn’t see beyond the words Chocolate Hotpot (served with vanilla ice cream).
With this kind of food and a fun, friendly atmosphere, you’ll definitely want to join in with their Secret Supper Clubs… (Follow them on Facebook and keep your eye out – they book up fast!). This is definitely our kind of place.
If we couldn’t love it anymore, there’s a cute little shop upstairs for you to mooch around in between courses!
They offer a lunch and dinner menu, including a brand new pizza oven and downstairs bar area.
The Curious Eatery is also open for tea and cake (their hand-made cakes are delicious!) with breakfast being served on Fridays and Saturdays, Sunday Roasts and local ales, ciders and wine all on hand. The roasts here are incredible – I’ve tried them.
This restaurant has really demonstrated how to pivot and adapt in challenging times. During lockdown they created BBQ boxes which they delivered (we treated ourselves to one for Mr Muddy’s birthday this summer – delicious!). These are still available alongside the hugely popular Roast Boxes – currently a firm favourite with diners. Find out more about Delivery and Collection services here.
So if you can’t make it to the restaurant there’s still a Delivery / Collection service available (no Delivery for Chippy Fridays) or there’s a new pod dining experience if you prefer the idea of literally eating in your own household bubble, see below.
THE LATEST / WHAT’S NEW?
Winter is coming so experience The Curious Eatery hospitality in your very own Winter Garden Globe – how gorgeous are these? The heated private dining pods have just launched this month. They each contain a speaker for music and luxurious interiors (see below) for up to six people (eight for larger family bubbles). Not surprisingly, they are in high demand. Book yours now.
Yes! With pizza on the menu and Chippy Fridays – there’s plenty of dishes for younger dinners. Main meals are available in smaller portions for kids for half the price.
If it’s sunny or the kids want to stretch their legs you can have a drink in the small but perfectly formed garden.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Love a word-of-mouth, off the beaten track foodie find? Then you’ll love it here. A mid-week dining treat – or go with the family for a slap up Sunday roast. The atmosphere is relaxed and family-friendly, but also a fun night out for a group of girlfriends too.
Not for: Anyone that either wants a starchy restaurant setting – there’s a warm, laid-back vibe here. Nor is this for you if you’re seeking bargain family dining – the prices are competitive but reflect the quality of the food and ingredients.
The damage: Weekday Feasting Menu – Curious Burger, £13.95; Vegan Burger £12.95; Prawn Wrap £9.95 or Vegetable lasagne £12.95; Lunch Special Mains between £10.95 and £17.95. Dinner Menu – Starters around £7; Mains between £17.95 – £28 and Puddings around the £7 mark.
The Curious Eatery (at The Albion Inn), 1 Church Street, Boughton Monchelsea, Maidstone, ME17 4HW, Tel: 01622 299359, thecuriouseatery.co.uk