Having trained as a chef in Australia in the 90s and following a stint as an Executive Chef in London, George moved to Whitstable in 2004. He was heading to Antibes to work as a personal chef on a very nice boat when he spotted an empty shop just a short walk from the beach. His plans changed, and Samphire was born offering Whitstable’s first bistro to be open all day, every day using the best Kentish produce.
“By day this is a relaxed venue for breakfast or lunch, by night it’s a proper restaurant with charm and prices that keep locals coming back. The high street location, a pebble’s throw from the beach, suits the light and casual interior, with wood floors and tables, and an open kitchen that plunders the local area to create an appealing modern menu.
At a late-spring lunch, pork belly croquette with wild garlic pesto and slaw proved to be a winner, followed by a huge bowl of mussels in Biddenden cider with onion, garlic and thyme. But the kitchen can summon up big meaty flavours, too, perhaps in an evening dish of braised short rib with boulangère potatoes, broccoli and onion ketchup.
The British cheese selection is well worth exploring, as are traditional desserts such as lemon posset or poached rhubarb with an excellent chewy vanilla-cream pavlova. Everyone is put at ease by the relaxed, personable service, and the wide-ranging wine list is as kindly priced as the food.”