Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Froggies at the Timber Batts

A: School Lane, Bodsham, Kent, England TN25 5JQ
M: Google Map
W: thetimberbatts.co.uk
E: post@thetimberbatts.co.uk
T: (01233) 750237
France meets Kent at this off-the-beaten track pub on the North Downs where beams and open fires are matched by food that wears a striped jersey and a beret. The cooking may not be innovative but ingredients are fresh and locally sourced.

All the usual suspects such as French onion soup, duck leg confit and beef bourguignon are present and correct, but there are also good things like stuffed mussels and roasted rack of Romney Marsh lamb. Locally shot game gets a good showing, and there’s simpler pub food such as first-class egg and chips served alongside croque-monsieur in the bar. An (almost) all-French wine list opens with house wines at £15, produced by the owner’s cousin in the Loire Valley. Good real ales, too.
'An excellent find,' raved one Mobile Food Guide user after negotiating the network of narrow country lanes that leads to Froggies at the Timber Batts - a truly delightful country pub/restaurant in the lovely Kent countryside.

A warm feeling of friendly hospitality immediately hits you as you enter the cosy red-brick and low-beamed fifteenth-century building. Menus are chalked up on blackboards and the choice varies from day to day. Ingredients - from seasonal game to Romney Marsh lamb - are sourced locally where possible and the kitchen deals in traditional French cuisine with plenty of long-term favourites including superb stuffed mussels, confit of duck salad, rack of lamb with herbs, and fillet of beef with Roquefort sauce (a signature dish).

A separate slate of desserts promises even more comforting delights in the shape of profiteroles, tarte Tatin and Froggies crème brûlée special (six different fruits plus a sorbet). To go with the food is a quality list of French wines (the house wine is actually grown and produced by Joel Gross's cousin in the Loire Valley). If you want to indulge in a bit more Gallic atmosphere, don't miss the French market that is held outside Froggies on the last Sunday of each month.
Chef Joel Gross built up a great reputation at Froggie's Restaurant in Wye, so when he headed deeper into the Kent countryside to the remote, 15th-century Timber Batts, he knew they would follow. The place went from being just another rural pub to one with an authentic French restaurant attached. The beamed and timbered bars have blazing log fires, one in a huge inglenook, and comfortable seating. The restaurant has its own fireplace and old pine tables topped with candles. Well placed for peaceful walks.

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