Saltwood on the Green, Hythe, Kent

Saltwood on the Green “East Kent is
  blooming in terms
  of restaurants
  that can hold their
  own with award-
  winning food.
  Not only that but
  they are achieving
  high standards
  without the usual
  high prices.
  Maybe we will see
  the prices creeping
  up when they are
  better known, so
s definitely the
  time to visit...”

is Saltwood on the Green at Saltwood, near Hythe. Chef Jeff Kipp's CV reveals broader skills that you might expect. Ambition to be the best has, naturally, been a core motivator; starting out as a 'dot-com creative' before changing direction to work his way up in a diversity of internationally-acclaimed restaurants, including Gordon Ramsay's 3-star Hospital Road.

Jeff has now made a lifestyle decision to leave behind the extreme pressures of life — seventeen-hour days were the norm — to start his own restaurant. Even so, there is no relaxation of the standards he has set himself for Saltwood.

“Saltwood on the Green
may be small and
less than a year old but
it packs a punch and
must be one of the best
kept secrets in Kent.
Better things, tis said,
come in little packages —
indubitably they do at
For many of us, the wine is an integral part of enjoying a memorable meal — Saltwood's wine list is diverse and clearly each wine choice has been carefully considered.

Most people dismiss rosť wine as the default choice for non-wine drinkers but Saltwood's rosť, from Provence, fully justifies its presence on the wine list; excellent length added to its clean, clear flavours and the appearance in the glass can be compared to the tints of a pink tourmaline.

The restaurant room in a high-ceiling old former village general store is most welcoming with a light and airy atmosphere that's evocative of an intimate New England rather than Scandinavian ambiance. This theme is followed through to the food which is fresh, light and contemporary with a menu offering 'Lite Bites' and 'Something Sweet' for those who prefer to have several small accompaniments to a traditional main course.

However, for a bargain price of £15 for two lunchtime courses (or £18 for three) you can take your pick: a 'must-try' is the home-made pretzels with rarebit spread — I defy anyone to tell me that they have tasted better!

There is no better way to start a meal than with a cocktail and Saltwood's innovative and delicious mixtures really make you feel festive. To start, we ate skate with pickled samphire, citrus mayonnaise, and herb salad; the carrot soup with pickled vegetables followed by pork with fennel and braised beef reflecting a Thai influence.

Of course we were tempted to sample the desserts, accompanied by a glass of wine: the cheese cake, confit orange, cardamom and honeycomb was served with a South African straw wine and the rhubarb, pistachio crumble, sabayon and rhubarb sorbet with a glass of Monbazillac. Absolute heaven.

Plenty of restaurants talk about local and seasonal produce, but Jeff really does try his hardest to go for the very best ingredients; his technical expertise is evident in his cooking, which relies on real craft that surely deserves a Michelin star in the not too distant future.

Together with Gianpaolo's chatty, personable front-of-house style they ensure that not only does all run smoothly but even the children are kept happy. Yes, this is an informal affair where everyone is made welcome.

Saltwood on the Green may be small and less than a year old but it packs a punch and must be one of the best kept secrets in Kent — creativity, excellent service and interesting wines, you will find it all here.

We both left with a warm and friendly glow and will be spreading the word to but a chosen few. Better things, tis said, come in little packages — indubitably they do at Saltwood's! — Bonnie Stevens

Saltwood on the Green

CT21 4PS

Land: 01303 237 800

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