The Wife of Bath
There are so many reasons to enjoy a meal at The Wife of Bath in Wye, near Ashford. You might be drawn to it because of the chef patron, Mark Sargeant, who is a protégé of Gordon Ramsay, and who won his first Michelin star at just 28. You might want to go because the reputation that this restaurant has for fine food, elegantly presented and perfected cooked is an impressive one. You might even decide to visit because the cool, soothing décor with its polished wooden floors and exposed brick walls, along with the rustic furniture in the generously proportioned dining room (all hidden behind an unassuming yet attractive façade) appeals.
The surprising thing about The Wife of Bath is that it caters for all tastes, with tapas-style Spanish influenced morsels, as well as a lovely fine dining menu. We decided to try a bit of both, and had a few smaller dishes to share for our starter; the main would come from the larger menu.
We chose to have fried padron peppers, Queen Sevillano olives, crispy squid with smoked paprika, sourdough bread, and chorizo Iberico. It sounds like a lot (and perhaps it was!), but that didn’t mean we couldn’t attack it with gusto (and we did!).
There wasn’t a single low point in our selection: seasoning was on point, presentation was perfect, and the taste was a combination of being transported to a beachside bar in Spain with the added benefit of being in a beautiful restaurant in Kent. Spanish food with a decidedly local influence, I’m sure we would have ordered more of the tapas, only the main courses were calling. It was time to move on.
Moving across to the main menu, we browsed for a while, debating the merits of each dish. There was the roast chicken with chorizo, pumpkin and broad beans to consider. There was the pork collar with parsnip, morcilla, charred onion and watercress to discuss. And of course, the baked cod, tomatoes, pimento, potato and clam dish to wonder about. The winners, though, were the Angus beef Albonigas with ‘Dulce Y Amargo’ peppers and grilled hispi, and the lemon sole served with shellfish and saffron broth, capers and aioli.
No choice would have been a bad one, but the one we eventually made worked well for us. The beef melted away, and hardly needed to be chewed, and it was impressive just how many flavours could come from one mouthful. The sole was tangy but with a hint of sweetness from the broth which offset the salty capers just right.
Would we like dessert? Silly question, really. We always like dessert. Now, if there is a pudding that involves salt, I’m on it, so the bitter chocolate tart, Sevillano olive oil and Folkestone salt (not just salt, but local salt!) was mine for the taking. My guest chose rice pudding gratin with Seville marmalade. After a truly wonderful meal, these delicious dishes really let our taste buds in for one last treat.
The Wife of Bath is an unusual place, a mixture of things and ideas. But when those things and ideas come together as well as they do here, it’s a pleasure every time.
The Wife of Bath
4 Upper Bridge Street, Wye, TN25 5AF