Googies: Kent Restaurant of the Year
Lucky number 7
Kent Restaurant of the Year: Googies
There are seven days in a week, seven continents and seven colours of the rainbow. Apparently, seven is the world’s most popular ‘favourite number’, and after seven years of business, Googies Restaurant, Bar & Coffee House has scooped the coveted Restaurant of the Year Award in the 2016 Taste of Kent Awards. by Donna Martin
I’m no stranger to Googies, having first visited shortly after it opened in 2009 by tecchie-turned-foodie Keith Holland. Being local to Folkestone and somewhat new to the area, I hankered for a great café restaurant, and one that didn’t offer pretentious pie on the menu.
If you enjoy café culture, you know what I mean– those establishments focussing more on their designer sofas and cocktail names than the actual food, drink or service.
Yes, Googies is ‘trendy’, but trendy in a good way – trendy without the edge of snobbery. In seven short years, I’ve watched Googies evolve from a small, casual café to a bumpin’ full-service restaurant offering the very best of Kent, using produce from just a few miles away, including their sought after free-range grass-fed Dexter beef from nearby Alkham Valley.
I have to admit, it had been a while since I visited Googies – you know, life and kids and work and all that. When I heard Keith had made the decision to expand the restaurant (to double its former size), I jumped at the chance to visit in the run-up to March’s Taste of Kent Awards.
One thing I’ve always loved about Googies is its unique combination of Kentish fare with an American twist. Being a Bostonian, I do love a good root beer float and fluffy pancakes (together or separate, either way works for me), so seeing those on a menu will win me over in no time.
I wasn’t there for the pancakes, and didn’t get my root beer float fix, but I didn’t feel any disappointment. How could I when instead I was able to dive into a Googies signature Houdini burger? The Dexter beef makes all the difference – the most flavourful, tender burger, freshly ground and hand-pressed in their kitchen every day – topped with halloumi and mushrooms between a soft Brioche bun.
Googies offers a burger for every personality: Minimalist? Try the Classic (red onion and Russian dressing). Adventurous? Order the Moroccan (Merguez sausage, halloumi, harrisa and mayo). Rebellious? How about the Outlaw (BBQ sauce, maple-candied bacon and Monterey Jack cheese). Head chef Greig Hughes is never short of creative culinary ideas, which helped land Googies a finalist spot in this year’s National Burger Awards for his Dexter Devotion Burger.
It’s not just about burgers at Googies. Tickle your taste buds with one of their smoked meat dishes – from smoked brisket to BBQ pork baby back ribs – and don’t forget to start with a moreish serving of rib tips with pickled watermelon, or smoked buffalo wings with blue cheese dip. Or, indulge in one of Googies’ American-inspired dishes – their Big Apple Hot Dogs are fantastic, and the smoked Boston baked beans are a must (I would say that, coming from Boston, but really, you have to try them).
If you’re that person that needs to be the envy of the table, try one of the Dexter Steaks – either the 8oz sirloin or 6oz fillet – both served with homemade hand-cut skinny fries and all the trimmings.
The food is only half of what makes Googies, well, Googies – their beer and wine list is impressive, with select imports such as the Night Train Porter, and my choice for the evening, Old Dominion Cherry Blossom Lager. The freshly baked cakes and puddings are always delicious, and they take pride in serving expertly roasted coffee blends that top any chain café.
And the best part about Googies, which has been true since day one, is the atmosphere. Always welcoming and comfortable, the friendly buzz is something you won’t easily find anywhere else in Folkestone. Pair that with the exceptional food and drink, and you can see why Keith and his team have thrived over the last seven years, and fingers crossed, for many more years to come.
Googies Restaurant, Bar & Coffee House
15 Rendezvous Street