Growing up in Sweden I wasn’t really that aware of what British cuisine was. But I remember my mum was always talking about the fish and chips she had in London served in the traditional way; in an old newspaper, apparently that’s how things were done back in the day. I mean Eeewwww. Just saying hahahahah She still loves fish and chips but it’s just not the same in Sweden. A bit like having Swedish meatballs in England hahahah looking at you Ikea!
Turns out British cuisine isn’t all about fish and chips. Being an island it has excellent sea food readily available all year round. There are excellent seafood restaurants dotted about each seaside town.
Rocksalt is in Folkestone in Kent, right on the harbour, and has all the feels of a seafood restaurant by a harbour but so much better. It’s owned by Mark Sargeant. If you haven’t heard of him, Shame on you! hahahah
To name just a few of his adventures; he was Chef de Cuisine and Sous Chef at Gordon Ramsey at Claridge’s (where he was awarded Chef of the year in 2002), he was Executive Chef at The Devonshire, The Warrington and the Narrow in London. He co wrote 12 of the Gordon Ramsey books! He is currently the Chef Director at KIOSK, GNH Bar and Plum & Spilt Milk in London. He is the proprietor of 4 restaurants in Kent, one of them is this place, Rocksalt Restaurant & Bar. The guy has done so well for himself! If you want to know more head to his website here. We of course expected a lot from Rocksalt having done some research.
Living in the South East of England I’m quite spoilt for choice really of places to see and to eat. London is a short high speed train ride away and France just a smidge longer ferry ride away.
I’m also spoilt for views in the South East what with the Dover Cliffs, the beaches in Margate, Broadstairs, Herne Bay and Whitsable to name but a few.
The views from Rocksalt are simply wonderful and so serene overlooking the harbour. On a good day I’m sure you can almost see France in the distance hahahah
The restaurant feels like it’s laid out so that each table can partake in the view. Both the bar and the restaurant have terraces for those lovely Sunday brunches in the sun or a romantic evening meal enjoying the sunset.
As you can see in the pictures above, the terrace has a glass railings so none of the view is obscured.
I’ve been to the restaurant a couple of times now but not once made it to the bar upstairs! I actually wanted the fish and chips on my last visit but was told that was only served in the bar. I was so disappointed! You should have seen my little sad face hahahahah I guess I will just have to go back… such a hardship right hahahahah
The restaurant is cleverly laid out and full of mirrors so feels a lot larger than it is and the floor to ceiling windows are a lovely touch considering it’s location. We weren’t brave enough to sit on the terrace when we came as it was a really sunny day and I didn’t have any sunglasses with me. It’s a proper suntrap on the terrace so if it’s available when you come, sit there! But bring sunglasses and suncream hahahah I would absolutely sit out here even in the winter because nothing beats fresh sea side air.
When you initially walk in you walk past a big framed painting…oh no wait… that’s no painting! That’s a viewing glass through to the kitchen – Nice One! The chefs are friendly and wave back to you with big smiles hahahahaha
The bar of the restaurant is towards one end of the room and I like it when you can see what’s on offer and I like seeing the bartender make the drinks we are having.
I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted and as I was driving I knew it had to be non-alcoholic. I headed straight for the mocktail section of the 18 pages long bar menu.
I ended up having this beauty called the Seaside Martini which is made up of Passionfruit, Vanilla and 1688 0% Prosecco. It was seriously one of the freshest tasting mocktails I’ve ever had. Highly recommend. Mid range price at £7.50.
When we sat down we were served some bread and butter and a mousse thingy…. I’m sorry I forget what it’s called but I haven’t forgotten the wonderful flavour.
The menu didn’t sound like it was trying too hard like some places. This menu sounded simple and fresh. There were of course plenty of fish choices and also a few meat choices on offer like Romney Marsh Lamb Rump or the Maple Glazed Orchard Farm Pork Chop. We were very tempted to go for the 32 Day Aged Tomahawk, Beer Battered Onions, Bone Marrow, Watercress & Béarnaise which is for 2 to share at £75. But then we came to our senses and decided to have fish in this fish restaurant hahahahah
My husband decided against a starter but I’m a pig so I of course had one hahahah. I went for the Burrata, Marinated Heritage Tomatoes, Sherry Caramel which was the best £11 I’ve spent on a starter in a long time. It was simply perfect!
For mains I struggled as I’d had my heart set on the fish n chips… but in the end I went for the Sea Trout, Broad Beans, Peas & Lettuce which was £19.50. This turned out to be scrumptious! I’d made a good choice. I did have slight food envy as my husband had the pan fried sea bass ( I can’t find this on the menu at the moment) but in the end I think mine tasted better hahaha
We shared a side of Minted Purple New Potatoes which was £3. My mind was blown away as I’d never heard of let alone had purple potatoes before. Did you know these existed?? If they are ever on a menu I would suggest you try them. These Minted Purple New Potatoes were really tasty.
My husband wanted a desert; the Apricot Bakewell Tart, Clotted Cream for £6.50 which he really enjoyed, so much so I didn’t manage to get a picture. I wasn’t going to have one as I’d already had 2 courses but in the end I went for the Kentish Strawberry & Pimms Jelly, Cucumber Sorbet, Basil Cream which was £7. Because hello, Pimms!! My favourite summer drink.
However, this turned out to not be something I liked. I’d not had jelly before so this was a gamble that didn’t pay off. Oh well, you find out what you don’t like by trying new things right? Having said that, the Pimms flavour was very strong and lovely so thumbs up for that. I ended up leaving almost the entire pudding.
I was a little disappointed that no server asked about the reason I left my entire pudding when they cleared the table. There could have been a learning experience and a chance of feedback there for the restaurant that they missed out on. Granted it was my own ordering mistake nothing to do with the quality but I think it’s important restaurants check just in case you know.
- Lovely harbour view
- The freshest of fresh seafood
- An 18 page drinks menu and that doesn’t include the wine list
- It’s pricey but worth it
- Good service with good knowledge of the menu to help with recommendations
- Nice simple decor allowing the focus to be on the food and view
- The front of house lady was so bubbly, happy and lovely and immediately made us feel welcome and at ease
- My husband who is not a fish person would go back and have more fish, that tells you something about the great flavours
- We will make it a mission to try the rest of Mark Sargeant’s Kent restaurants based on our lovely experience here
All the details you need to get yourself to Rocksalt can be found below;
To visit their website click here
To see a selection of their menu click here
To visit them their address is: 4-5 Fishmarket, Folkestone, Kent CT19 6AA
Have you been here before? What did you think? Have you been to any other restaurant of Mark Sargeant?