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The Minnis Bar and Restaurant, Birchington, Kent

Dining at The Minnis Bar and Restaurant

“There is a corner of Kent that is not really on the way to anywhere that is missed by most of us, even those who are relatively local — Minnis Bay
...”


JUST TO MAKE ITS MARK, it has a very rare long sandy beach for the north Kent coast. The sea is special too: the beach shallows very gradually so non-swimmers do not have to worry and Barnes Wallis's bouncing bombs (made famous in The Dam Busters) were tested just off shore.

There was a belle epoch in the earlier decades of the 20th century; a few rather grand Edwardian terraces, mixed with the occasional deco-styled properties plus some large faux-Tudor houses makes for an eclectic mix. There was money here, and the rather genteel atmosphere remains; it is a very different tale in summer as the crowds swarm to the beach — how did they all find their way here?

The Minnis has
something for everyone
including young
families — and in the
summer they will
organise a takeaway for
the beach which can
be finished traditionally
with an ice cream from
their kiosk...”
At the far end of the beach is the Minnis Bar and Restaurant — and it's right on the shoreline so there are uninterrupted views.

Again, it is an eclectic mix of buildings and styles as the cafe has expanded to cater for an ever-wider range of eating options with an endless menu of dishes to choose from. However, without a doubt the homemade charcuterie together with the outstanding seafood are the dishes to go for.

Jason Freeman, the chef patron, cures, pickles, brines, salts and smokes some fantastic local produce.

The salt beef, pastrami, corned beef and chorizo, to name but a few, are delicious. Without doubt the delicately smoked giant prawns and salmon were some of the best we have ever tasted — eat your heart out Heston with your Earl Grey smoked salmon!

If you are partial to mussels then a great treat is Jason's mussels with spicy tomato and sweet chorizo. Obviously there is a great sense of satisfaction in producing these delights together with the original homemade preserves to accompany the food.

The Minnis has something for everyone including young families — in the summer they will organise a takeaway for the beach which can be finished traditionally with an ice cream from their kiosk.

And there is always something good going on, from children's summer drawing competitions and live music events to a genteel afternoon tea with the largest scones I have ever seen — and the lightest and most elegant iced éclairs.

The only snag, if you can call it that, is that the Minnis is in danger of trying to be all things to all men with the over extensive menu. Not necessary when there are some real stars hiding there.

So go and have a lovely relaxed meal with your friends and family — a big plate of homemade charcuterie with homemade pickles and chutneys or perhaps even some North African spiced lamb meatballs in spicy tomato sauce will make you feel you are in some warm and pleasant land! — Bonnie Stevens

The Minnis Bar and Restaurant is open from 10am to 11pm, 365 days a year.

The Minnis Bar and Restaurant, The Parade, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9QP | Tel: 01843 841844.

You'll find more information at
theminnis.co.uk.

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