Relaunched in 2021 under the stewardship of the nearby The Fordwich Arms chef patrons Dan and Natasha Smith, The Bridge Arms puts the Garden of England’s bounty front and centre. Those familiar with the pairs’ work at The Fordwich Arms may find themselves initially blindsided when first visiting; for while The Fordwich treads a delicate line between gastropub and restaurant, The Bridge Arms has the true feel of a proper local boozer.
Nestled in the rural village of Bridge, the pub was originally a coaching inn dating back to the 16th century. Under its new ownership, the space has undergone a complete transformation to restore the pub restored to its former glory. Like all great locals, it has a warm and inviting atmosphere, with a cosy bar area complete with open fire and comfy sofas that’s ideal for long winter evenings; and a garden with outside bar for the warmer summer months.
Seasonality and provenance are at the forefront of the menu. The restaurant is situated only 10 miles from the coast, giving access to an abundance of fresh and local seafood. Being in the centre of the countryside, there are also plentiful supplies of meat, all of which are cooked over charcoal, produced from a local Kentish woodland, on the pub’s Josper grill.
Dan and Natasha both have backgrounds working in Michelin-starred restaurants, and have held a star at The Fordwich since 2018. For them, The Bridge Arms was meant to be seen more as a casual gastropub, but that’s not how it’s been received in some quarters - it was awarded its own Michelin star less than a year after its launch. It's an accolade that reflects the quality of the pair’s cooking, and cements their reputation as power publicans.