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The Folkestone Wine Company set for opening under head chef David Hart, formerly of Frog and Scot in Deal and Sportsman in Seasalter

By Matt Leclere

A new restaurant opening up in Folkestone will be run by a chef who has worked in a Michelin-starred kitchen in Kent.

Dave Hart, who previously worked at the Sportsman in Seasalter and helped set up the well-regarded Frog and Scot in Deal, is launching his new venture in the town centre next month.

The Folkestone Wine Company is taking over the former Linda’s Tea Room in Church Street and will be taking on the likes of Rocksalt and Blooms at the Quarter.

The tearoom where Kent chef David Hart is opening The Folkestone Wine Company next month. Picture @folkestonewineTwitter

The tearoom where Kent chef David Hart is opening The Folkestone Wine Company next month. Picture: @folkestonewine/Twitter

Mr Hart, who will be the restaurant’s head chef, picked the keys for the new place on Monday and spent the last few days around the town and visiting the harbour, where he says he will source fish for his new menu.

Posting on Instagram, he said: “Finally got the keys. I’ve never felt more like a tightly coiled spring. Opening in five weeks, the hard work starts now.”

He says he is excited to be launching the eatery and start cooking his own food again.

The restaurant, which will provide 30 to 35 covers in two rooms, is located next to The Pullman pub.

It will serve simple seasonal food and will combine high quality local and British produce combined with his French and Italian cooking influences.

Mr Hart is the second restaurateur to announce his plans to open a new restaurant. Businessman Ben Cuthbert revealed his plans for the former True Briton pub in the harbour earlier this month.

The Caterer reports most of the produce is due to come from Kent including beef from Sladden Farm in the Alkham Valley and cream from Ottinge Farm as well as Whitstable oysters.

The wine list is expected to feature mainly French and Italian wines along with Kentish bottles and others from vineyards in the New World regions.

Speaking to The Caterer, Mr Hart said: “It seems relatively untapped at the moment, with a couple of exceptions like Mark Sargeant who seems to be doing well, and there’s a lot of energy there too.

“To get into Whitstable or Canterbury or even somewhere like Deal, the rents are going up. Folkestone seems like a good value place to go and there’s nowhere in east Kent that hasn’t got a long list of fantastic producers nearby.

The restaurant is a work in progress but is due to open in mid-November. Picture davecooks1Instagram

The restaurant is a work in progress but is due to open in mid-November. Picture: davecooks1/Instagram

“The way I cook is dependent on great, seasonal produce from not too far away and so Folkestone seems like a good place for that.”

Dishes are expected to include oysters from Whitstable, hams from the Basque country, fresh tagliatelle with rabbit, tarragon and wild mushroom, braised Dexter beef and British cheeses.

Prices are anticipated to start at £14 per head.

Mr Hart is no stranger to the Kent restaurant scene having also worked at the Granville in Lower Hadres, near Canterbury.

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