insideKENT Magazine insideKENT Issue 69 Dec 2017 - Page 102

FOOD+DRINK DESTINATION DINING WITH DISTINCTION AT Frasers , EGERTON EVERY SO OFTEN IN THIS GAME YOU STRIKE LUCKY AND FIND A TRUE KENTISH GEM – A WONDERFUL MOMENT WHEN YOU STUMBLE UPON SOMEWHERE THAT JUST GETS THINGS RIGHT, FROM THE LOCATION, DECOR, WARMTH OF SERVICE AND QUALITY OF FOOD, TO THE AMBIENCE AND THE ETHOS, ALL PACKAGED TOGETHER TO PRODUCE THAT INDESCRIBABLE ‘SOMETHING’ THAT SIMPLY MAKES IT SPECIAL… BY SAMANTHA READY Located between the bustling towns of Maidstone and Ashford in the heart of the rural Kent countryside lies the little enclave of Egerton, where you’ll find the 300-acre Coldharbour Farm estate, which is also home to Frasers, a secluded yet refined restaurant- with-rooms concept. I’d heard about Frasers from the unlikely source of the British Farming Awards, where this year the husband and wife team behind the eponymous enterprise, Adam and Lisa- Jane Fraser, triumphed, scooping the ‘Diversification Innovator’ award, which recognised their ambitious development from dairy farm, (as initiated in the 60s by Adam’s father, John), to a grass-based farm system and 5* hospitality offering. The Frasers name and ethos, as well as their recognisable stags head family crest, has been synonymous with quality and service for generations, most notably recognised as the iconic brand House of Fraser, the retail 102 emporium that traces back to Adam’s great great grandfather. Moving from the frenetic world of retail to the rural ideal of farming eventually led to the most significant change to the Egerton land – cultivated by Lisa’s love of food, passion for local produce and own kitchen skills, they have created their stunning barn restaurant, high-end secluded guest rooms and developed a unique wedding and events venue. I’m not sure when exactly I realised that I was onto a winner when my guest and I headed for dinner at Frasers. Perhaps it was during the peaceful approach through rural Kentish villages, or the discovery of an almost hidden winding driveway that signifies your arrival onto the estate and whisks you away from the hustle and bustle of daily routine. Maybe it was the atmospheric steps, gravel crunching underfoot, that lead you to the vaulted barn that is home to dining room, or the first step over the threshold to a personal and warm welcome by Lisa herself, trophy in hand, who effortlessly made us feel at home in a restaurant that is as much about providing a comfortable and relaxing dining experience as it is about the beautifully executed seasonal menu... Most likely it was a combination of all of this that set the scene for a promising evening ahead, which was reinforced by the arrival of a canape of heritage white beetroot meringue with goat’s cheese and cucumber – a combination of things that I would never willingly choose, but that was absolutely divine. The evening dining concept at Frasers is simple; it’s a set seven-course taster menu with an option for wine pairing. On close inspection however, the menu is wonderfully complex utilising seasonal meat, game and foraged produce from the estate with other carefully sourced local Kentish produce (Lisa