The list— No. 16

The Fordwich Arms

Britain’s smallest town of Fordwich in Kent is homed to one of the loveliest gastropubs in the county, the Fordwich Arms.

Chef-patron Daniel Smith was been voted The Observer’s Young Chef of the Year 2016 and has been central to the gastropub’s culinary successes.


Part of that success, also driven by his undeniable skills, is down to Smith’s use of local Kentish ingredients, which are sourced direct from nearby farms and producers.

Such skill has significantly drove the pub up the list by a whopping 25 places from 2019 to last year where it was placed at number 17, rising once again this year to 16.

Dishes are plated and served in a relaxed and welcoming style, ideal for a lunch or dinner at any time of the year, whatever the occasion.

Smith worked his way around some of the UK’s top restaurants, working for the likes of Jason Atherton as well as in the Clove Club, where he stayed for five years.

The Fordwich Arms is a beautifully renovated building, with its red brick adorned with bright green ivy.

Inside, you’ll find tastefully decorated rooms that bring together tradition with light modern touches.


The gastropub sits next to the River Stour, which is easily viewed from the terrace dining space.

Speaking of food, guests can choose from a plethora of food menus including à la carte, tasting menus and two vegetarian tasting menus.

Dishes you’re likely to see on the à la carte menu include rock oysters for snacks, raw Orkney scallop with apple, kohlrabi and vadouvan spices for starters and roast saddle of Chart Farm Sika venison with chestnut, celeriac and spiced fig for main, with many more dishes to select from.

The full tasting menu, which costs £75 a head for six courses and petit fours, includes duck liver parfait, Kentish blackberry, sauternes and warm doughnuts; raw Orkney scallop; and line caught turbot with mussels, cabbage, smoked bacon and vin jaune.

The full vegetarian tasting menu has also been available and has included dishes like heritage potato with variegated kale and baked potato sauce; and vegetable tartlet, Westcombe cheddar and pickled walnut.


The Fordwich Arms

King Street

01227 710444


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