As a regular on the Viking Trail, I’ve cycled past the Captain Digby, near Broadstairs, several times but have never ventured in.
Arriving on two wheels in lycra and with the sun still shining on the righteous I decided to sit at a picnic bench outside. Fortunately for me all the little darlings are now back in the hands of long-suffering teachers so both the pub and garden were relatively empty apart from a few token wrinklies.
Or at least they were until a legion of German exchange students invaded the place and started ordering soft drinks to accompany their packed lunches – I was certainly glad I got to the bar and placed my order ahead of the masses from Bavaria.
There was a sign stating by order of the captain only food and drink purchased on the premises can be consumed but clearly the captain was turning a blind eye while I was in.
From my seat there was a spectacular view of the beach many feet below and again, the additional signs making it crystal clear non-patrons using the car park will be fined £150.
Popping inside to order I was informed Molly was my server and she kindly offered me a taste of both the Adnams Ghost Ship and the Gadds No 7 that's brewed just up the road. Both were very good but I opted for the former as it was just slightly tastier and fizzier, which suited my mood. It had a thick, creamy head which stayed fresh right to the bottom of the pint.
There is dark panelling everywhere and whilst the pub obviously prides itself on being family friendly it also oozes historic charm. There is not only a full-on indoor pirate playground for the sprogs but also an extensive pirate-themed outside area too. And, to be fair, the pub’s so vast and designed in such a way you hardly hear them.
Having worked up an appetite and listened to reader’s requests for details on the food as often as possible I scoured the menu.
I opted to start with a garlic bread and cheese which was fantastic, ciabatta might not be everyone’s idea of the best base for this treat but I really enjoyed it. I followed up with a tuna/sweetcorn jacket potato. This was also good, though the skin did taste a little sweet, as though it might have been coated in honey – the salad that came with it, served in a small colander, was fresh and tangy.
There is a stack of seating, both inside and out, and the place must be mobbed on a sunny Saturday. Inside I bumped into a couple of Sky engineers installing cabling so it seems the current three screens I spotted may be well be increasing in number.
I did see a fruit machine but there is no pool table or darts – it really is family orientated, so much so that I noticed there is a toilet specifically for children. As a side note I think the height of the picnic table benches is also set specially for children, or at least my back thought this when I got up to leave!
The adult facilities were clean, tidy and fresh smelling with the usual advertising posters we have come to expect. There’s also a massive car to match the size of the venue, just make sure you heed the captain’s warning and buy something from the pub.
This is a full on family pub that is proud to cater for the masses and you can’t deny it does offer some spectacular seaside views.