The Marquis at Alkham
Contemporary dining, seasonal menus and boutique luxury rooms at The Marquis at Alkham.
From its former incarnation as a village inn, this 200-year-old building – now home to The Marquis luxury boutique hotel and fine dining restaurant – comes with as much history as it does intrigue. BY SAMANTHA READY
Nestled in the heart of Alkham Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty close to Dover and Folkestone, The Marquis is one of those places that when mentioned in casual conversation evokes surprisingly varied responses. Some have always wanted to go, some have never heard of it, and others rave about returning – add in some hushed rumours about the future of this intriguing restaurant-with-rooms and it’s fair to say that my guests and I couldn’t wait to find out more.
On a sunny summer evening, the views across the valley are truly wonderful, while inside, the 10-year-old, multi-million pound refurb still feels fresh and contemporary. The dining room, characterised by grey walls, dark wood furniture and deep red upholstered chairs and benches, gives an air of polished refinement without any stuffiness, while the sun floods the space with natural light adding to the welcoming feel.
As well as building our appetites with talk of his new seasonal menu that includes locally foraged herbs, catches of the day from nearby fishing boats and rabbits from the valley, head chef Stephen Piddock excitedly explained that the team behind the Hythe Imperial are the proud new owners of the Marquis and that there are many more exciting changes in the pipeline.
Appetites sufficiently whetted, onto the food… From the delicate, crisp smoked haddock croquette with horseradish and spring onion mayo; the rich, melt-in-the-mouth glazed pig cheeks with pineapple and bay puree and spiced popcorn; and the almost-too-beautiful-to-eat pea panna cotta with quails egg, asparagus, parmesan and pea shoots, the starters were an absolute triumph.
The main courses continued in suit. A perfectly medium-cooked rump of lamb with potatoes Anna and shallot puree; corn fed chicken with goats’ cheese gnocchi, wild mushrooms and pesto; and chargrilled rib eye with proper triple-cooked chips and wild mushrooms – we devoured every last morsel.
Of course it was only right we ensured that dessert didn’t let the standards down and promptly devoured strawberry cheesecake with surprise marzipan flavours, a dark chocolate Marquis with sharp raspberry sorbet and crunchy honeycomb, and a raspberry parfait, the perfect cool dessert for a summer’s eve with ice cold flavour, white chocolate shards and mint marshmallow.
Every course was a perfect example of style and substance with dishes that not only looked divine, but tasted sublime and full of flavour; our only complaint was not being able to have more!
With a honed kitchen team, great guidance from a committed and enthusiastic head chef, and finally a new local owner committed to elevating this local gem to even greater heights, my guests and I now firmly sit in the ‘rave about returning’ camp.
The Marquis Alkham
Alkham Valley Road