The Canterbury restaurant that’s put the tiny town of Fordwich on the map (again)
Located in England’s smallest town, The Fordwich Arms didn’t need to put its already notable location on the map. But boy it has, with the restaurant and pub – run by trio chef-patron Daniel Smith, pastry chef Natasha Norton-Smith and restaurant manager Guy Palmer-Brown – having gained a strong reputation for its cooking ever since they took it over in 2017.
While The Fordwich Arms is still very much a pub, with a 1930s bar and large open fireplace where locals still sit and drink, it is the adjoining oak panelled dining room (and its beautiful outside covered terrace) in which the trio have made their mark.
The restaurant serves two tasting menus – a five-course and a seven-course (both of which are available as vegetarian options) – as well as a large à la carte offering that starts with a selection of snacks before entering more usual menu territory.
Where The Fordwich Arms excels is its ability to bring together the feeling of proper old school hospitality with a more modern and forward-looking approach to pub restaurant cooking, thanks to its young owners, who have breathed new life into the traditional surrounds. Whether it be the duck liver parfait accompanied by a pot of warm doughnuts or its marmalade mille-feuille with lemon curd and chamomile ice cream, the cooking is familiar yet fresh and exciting.
The Guardian’s Grace Dent described The Fordwich Arms as serving “food that makes you want to move house”. Who are we to disagree?