Samphire – A Kentish bistro in Whitstable
Samphire is an unfussy, rustic bistro in the heart of Whitstable, with a chalkboard menu dedicated to local fish, meat and seasonal vegetables, served in a relaxed dining room. Being just metres from the sea, there is a strong emphasis on oysters, crustaceans and seafood, plus nose to tail whole animal butchery and creative vegetarian options. Focaccia, chutneys and preserves are made in house and all prepared with produce sourced from well-respected local farms, fishermen, gamekeeper and foragers in Kent and the South-East.
Head chef Mark O’Brien, originally from Dublin, is particularly passionate about live fire cookery and whole fish and animal butchery. Previously at The Dairy and Zebra Riding Club in London, with restaurateur Robin Gill, Mark regularly cooks live fire demonstrations at barbecue festivals Meatopia and The Big Grill. These influences make their mark on the Samphire menu with rubs, smoking and low and slow barbecuing techniques, where Mark fires up the Portico Grill with lumpwood from Kent Charcoal, made with wood only from local sustainable woodlands.
Samphire’s owner, George Begg, trained as a chef in Australia in the 90s. Following a stint in London as an Executive Chef, George moved to Whitstable in 2004 and took on the lease of an empty shop just a short walk from the beach. Samphire was born and became Whitstable’s first bistro to be open all day, every day using the best Kentish produce. Suppliers include The Wonky Parsnip in Chatham for unusual organic vegetables, Sevenscore Asparagus near Sandwich, slow-grown, free-range chickens from Laughtons in Faversham; British cold-water farmed prawns from Valhalla, Stour Valley game, lamb, pork and goat meat from Oink and Udder and vegetables from Mallards Farm.
An early-spring lunch might include smoked cod croquettes with crab mayonnaise; raw prawn crudo, trout roe and grilled heads, followed by Creole mussels with Holy Trinity sauce and smoked prawn butter followed by aged beef porterhouse for two, with beef fat salsa verde.
The British cheese selection is well worth exploring, as are traditional desserts such as Bramley apple and frangipane tart and warm honey cream or rhubarb baked Alaska.
Rosemary & Roast Garlic Focaccia | 1/2 Dozen Maldon Oysters Juniper mignonette | Aged Beef Tartare Jerusalem artichoke | Grilled Radish radish top pesto, pickled golden beets | Smoked Cod Croquettes crab mayo | Grilled Kohlrabi green harissa, apple | Valhalla Prawn Crudo trout roe, grilled heads | Samphire’s Fish Pie Mallard’s farm greens | Butter Bean & Tomato Cassoulet polenta, roast shallot | Creole Mussels Holy Trinity sauce, smoked prawn butter | Butternut Squash, Spinach & Pine Nut Pithivier cauliflower purée, pickled wild mushrooms | Aged Beef Porterhouse beef fat salsa verde | House Sausages grilled January King, pickled salad | Dayboat market price
Samphire, 4 High St,
Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1BQ
T: 01227 770075
Mon-Fri: 12pm – 21:30pm
Sat & Sun: 9am – 10pm