Eating & Drinking inSouth East

The third largest and most populated region of England has a dining scene that makes the most of the seasonal bounty on its doorstep. The white cliffs of Kent and Sussex are iconic images and the waters they survey yield enough seafood to keep some truly excellent fish-focused restaurants – among them Deal newcomer Whits of Walmer – in business. With a thriving food culture developing along the coasts, the region’s most famous playgrounds of Brighton and next-door Hove are now facing strong competition from the hip North Sea resorts of Margate and Whitstable to be the top seaside destination for weekending Londoners. 

Inland, the lush farmland, forests and rolling downs are mostly populated with classy pubs such as The Lamb in Crawley and the occasional elegant country house hotel, ranging from the strikingly renovated Grade I-listed Kentish manor that is now the sixth iteration of The Pig group of hotels, and the polished grandeur of Marle at Heckfield Place, to Pennyhill Park where Matt Worswick at the Latymer is one of The Good Food Guide’s Top 50 restaurants.

But then the entire region is a key player on the UK restaurant scene. The South East is home to the utterly unique and idiosyncratic Sportsman at Seasalter and Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in Bray, one of the world’s most famous restaurants, as well as forward-thinking modern restaurants such as The Mash Inn in Buckinghamshire, the current holder of The Guide Food Guide’s Restaurant of the Year award, and The Small Holding in Kent, the domain of our latest Chef to Watch, Will Devlin.

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