When I first learnt that a contemporary seafood restaurant was planned for Folkestone harbour, replacing a run down old pub, I was pretty impressed. To be very honest, I’d never heard of Mark Sargeant, the chef whose name is above the door. He used to be head chef at Claridge’s in Mayfair, and Rocksalt is his first restaurant. The building itself is a modern design but the dark wood cladding helps it to blend in with the old fisherman’s buildings in the area. Ever since the restaurant opened I’ve wanted to try it out. To begin with, some of the reviews were less than complimentary but most of the issues seem to be teething troubles. Nearly two years on, I finally got to try it out.
We visited on Tuesday 30th April, just three days after Marc and I’s wedding. I booked online, which was a simple process, and pulled the newly-wed card to request a table by the window. I am so glad I did because the view was stunning.
We went for the lunchtime set menu, which changes weekly. There is a small selection of seasonal food to choose from for each course. It costs £17 for two courses or £20 for three. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t spend the extra £3 for pudding personally! But then I do have a sweet tooth. We each had mackerel with new potato salad to start. It looked so amazing with the tiny soft boiled quail’s egg that I dug straight in and forgot to take a photo! Everything tasted very fresh; the dish didn’t last very long.
My husband and I also both chose the pork belly for our main course. This was truly divine. The pork was from a farm in Kent and had been deliciously slow-cooked so that it was melt-in-your-mouth tender. The baby leeks were al dente and garden fresh.
For dessert we actually chose different things! I had lemon posset and Marc ordered chocolate and hazelnut pavlova. Both were scrummy.
Marc and I both loved our meal at Rocksalt. Not only was the food good but the service was impeccable and the toilets very cool. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I tend to judge a place on its loos! I am happy to report that the toilet facilities at Rocksalt are top notch. They play what sounds like the shipping forecast over speakers, but its actually names of fish! There are also lovely little hand towels to use to dry your hands, you use them and then drop them into a basket hidden under the sinks.
We’ll definitely be returning to Rocksalt but unfortunately our wallets can’t stretch to the a la carte menu so we’ll have to wait until we’ve both got some time off to experience the lunchtime menu again, or perhaps we’ll go for brunch or Sunday lunch one day. I find that these lower cost menus give you a great taster of the food that a restaurant offers without bankrupting you. We ate from the set lunch menu at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall a couple of years ago and it was perfect. We’d never be able to afford to eat in places like this otherwise.
By Rachel Birchley x