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Basil and Co, Whitstable, celebrates opening with visit from BBC and Channel 4 star Lucy Alexander

The appearance of a TV star delighted owners of Kent's top-rated Italian restaurant as they celebrated their grand reopening in a neighbouring town.

Staff at Basil & Co in Tankerton, near Whitstable, told of their pleasure at welcoming former Homes under the Hammer host Lucy Alexander.

The 53-year-old tucked into tiramisu, bruchetta ragu and burrata as she enjoyed the launch of the Tankerton Road eatery.

And she was highly complimentary of the team at the restaurant, calling the food "perfect and delicious", as well as naming head chef Sammy as "the best".

Alexander made her name on children's television show Milkshake in the late 90s before a 15-year stint on BBC's Homes Under The Hammer.

And this year she began working on hit Channel 4 show A Place In The Sun, which takes couples away to sunnier shores to find homes.

Last weekend was the launch for the new home of Basil & Co, an Italian bistro that has won the heart of foodies round the county.

It has left its home of three years at 10 High Street, Herne Bay, and relocated four miles down the road to 101 Tankerton Road, near Whitstable.

The family-run restaurant started life as a street food company in September 2019 but quickly gained momentum and by January the following year had the keys to the Herne Bay site.

It was ranked the number one Italian on Tripadvisor, with five stars and 226 out of 241 diners branding it ‘excellent’, holding esteemed competitors such as Michelin Guide-featured restaurant Bottega Caruso in Margate at bay.

Following the move to Tankerton the eatery faces the tricky challenge of building a new review score, but is off to a good start, with 17 out of 17 diners giving it a five-star rating.

Dartford-born Hannah previously spoke of her surprise at becoming Kent’s best-rated Italian.

“When we reached number one, we really were shocked," she said.

“For people to recognise the work we do, the service we want to provide and the food Sammy cooks, it’s absolutely unbelievable.

“We are so thankful for every review we’ve ever received. Nowadays Tripadvisor is the biggest platform for hospitality and food, and I’m beyond proud that people take the time to review us.

“It’s important for us to carry on the dynamic at our new place. We don’t want to become just a big restaurant, we’re so passionate about keeping that family style.”

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