insideKENT Magazine insideKENT Issue 69 Dec 2017 - Page 107

FOOD+DRINK THE TEA HOUSE THEY DIDN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THE PREVIOUS OWNERS OF POPULAR BADGER’S HILL FARM IN CHILHAM FOR A STRETCH THAT LASTED ALMOST 25 YEARS BUT DREW TO A CLOSE IN 2013, CLAIRE – AND DAUGHTER MEGAN ALONG WITH HER PARTNER DANNY – ARE BACK IN BUSINESS IN THE SMALL VILLAGE OF SELLING. DESPITE OPENING ITS DOORS JUST THIS SUMMER, YOU’LL ALREADY BE HARD PRESSED SOME DAYS TO FIND A SEAT AT SONDES TEA HOUSE AND GENERAL STORES, MUCH TO THE DELIGHT OF A VERY BUSY TEAM HALF JOKING WITH YOU NOT TO TELL ANOTHER SOUL ABOUT THE PLACE. This family force has quite literally transformed a rundown old pub in this Kentish village into a daytime destination for the local masses, and a handy place to pick up a few groceries. A short train journey from Faversham, and handily located just next to the station, the building is split into two with one side servicing as the shop, and the other acting as the tea house. Much like a pantry, the store comes with all your household essentials as well as stocking a terrific range of local vegetables, free-range eggs, and old fashioned-style sweets in bonbon jars. On the tip of the tea trend, Sondes boasts a comprehensive menu of loose leaf teas, served to your table with sand timers to facilitate in making a perfectly balanced brew. If you’re new to the wide world of teas beyond the standard cuppa, there are daily tastings to help you explore new tastes from herbal tisanes and white teas right through to black. There is a special and premium menu for the connoisseur featuring high mountain Taiwanese oolong teas and Japanese steamed green teas. The food offering is vegan and vegetarian with a menu that answers to whatever serendipitously comes together in the mornings. Think heaving vegetable frittatas, fresh salads, warming stews, and loaded pizza breads. Large, beautiful cakes are locally made in Ashford. As always with Claire and co. the place is wonderfully creative; carefully curated with a discerning eye. The generation just before Claire, Megan and Danny are antiques dealers local to Faversham, located just off Preston Street, and each room at Sondes is beautifully and thoughtfully decorated with one-of-a- kind furniture, leafy plants, and handcrafted gifts from local makers to admire and purchase. There is also a large garden to the rear. Service is charmingly chaotic, much like a family household. The atmosphere is warm, cosy and honest – very likely the reason for its instant success. It’s a gorgeous place to relax, eat delicious food, and feel as if you’re at the kitchen table; a home away from home. Sally Gurteen is the Master Storyteller for JING Tea and can also be found blogging about London and Kent from @thecafecat. Sondes Tea House and General Stores Selling Faversham ME13 9PL 01227 752725 107