insideKENT Magazine Issue 49 - April 2016 - Page 43

FOOD+DRINK THE CORNER HOUSE by Donna Martin WHETHER OR NOT YOU’VE TAKEN THE PLUNGE TO START OR RUN A SMALL BUSINESS, YOU’LL KNOW THAT STAYING AFLOAT THESE DAYS, IN ANY SECTOR, IS NO EASY FEAT. STARTING A FOOD-BASED ENDEAVOUR? EVEN HARDER. ESTABLISHING A THRIVING RESTAURANT AMONGST STIFF COMPETITION AND CONSISTENTLY IMPRESSING EACH AND EVERY CUSTOMER? PROBABLY THE MOST DIFFICULT OF ALL – BUT MATT SWORDER AND HIS TEAM HAVE DONE JUST THAT AT THE CORNER HOUSE, MINSTER. Founded only three years ago by London-trained chef Matt Sworder, The Corner House has already seen its fair share of accolades, including the 2015 Taste of Kent Award for Best Restaurant (quite a bragging point for the new kid on the block), plus recommendations in the 2016 Michelin Guide and the 2016 Waitrose Good Food Guide. The Corner House is tucked away in quaint Minster in Thanet, and is both a lively village establishment full of loyal diners who are proud to call it their ‘local’, as well as a fine dining venue that visitors from Kent, and beyond, would be happy to travel to. I fall into the latter category, and merrily drove about an hour to experience the restaurant that everyone’s talking about. Having scheduled a 6pm dinner slot, my guest and I walked into a thoroughly empty restaurant, and wondered if it was because of our early booking, or heaven forbid, because it wasn’t as good as we’d heard. Let me note it was also a Thursday – not the most popular night for dining out – so I made a silent assumption that perhaps we’d be nearly alone for the night. Oh, how wrong I was. After sipping on a glass of Biddenden’s Ortega and indulging in some of The Corner House’s homemade freshly baked bread, our neighbouring tables started to fill. Before I knew it, the restaurant was brimming with hungry guests, ready to sample the award-winning cuisine on the everchanging menu. It seems The Corner House has written the book on how to serve locally sourced produce – and how to serve it well. Most of the dishes include a local twist, whether it’s the Bethersden beef, or the homemade lemongrass ice cream. The beetroot-cured salmon with Anno Gin (from nearby Marden) and tonic granita with samphire, was delicate and delicious, and a wonderful example of incorporating Kentish ingredients with foods from further afield. Following my starter, I indulged in a Corner House signature flat iron steak with homemade tomato and mushroom ketchup, partnered with triplecooked chips (so naughty and so good) and my extra side of a super salad – you know, to ease my guilty conscience after eating all of the chips (and a few of my dining companion’s). Everything was flavoursome and cooked to perfection, and though I could have left after my main fully satisfied, I couldn’t possibly say no to one of my favourite desserts on the menu: peanut butter parfait. The combination of