People Restaurants

Joe Hill + The Table Restaurant Broadstairs Kent

Doubling Downs

We’ve been at the table, on top of the table, under the table, but never in The Table. Till now. Ironically, we’re sat at the bar, not a table. What the Dickens? We worship in the church where the novelist got married (St Luke’s Chelsea) and party where he lived (Rochester) so it’s high time we ate in his favourite seaside resort (Broadstairs). We’re Grooving to Armada: “If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air | Quaint little villages here and there.”

The Table is blessed with large windows embracing the street front. It’s very intimate: just 14 covers including ours propped up at the bar. Owner Joe Hill is assisted by three cheery staff in the open kitchen on the other side of the bar. Cosy. “I originally opened here as a wine and cheese deli and it grew from that,” he explains. “I’m a chef by trade. I’ve three young children and wanted to escape the rigmarole of working in London. I’m London born and bred: I’d never heard of Broadstairs till about three years ago! I’ve mates with businesses in Margate though.”

Joe is clearly smitten with his choice of location: “Broadstairs is so friendly. It’s good for families. The town is old, quaint, not too ahead of itself. It still has all your local stores. The sandy beach is dreamy.” He casually mentions working for the greats (Gordon Ramsay, Tom Aikens and Jean-Georges Vongerichten) and working at the greats (Shoreditch House London, W Hotel London and Fordwich Arms Kent) all adding up to an envy inducing resumé. Joe can hold his own: The Table is great.

Lunch menu is introduced as “upmarket street food” and is divided into ‘snacks’, ‘bowls’ and ‘plates’. Sticking to the coastal theme we order house seaweed kimchi then sake drunken clams, seaweed and kohlrabi followed by silken tofu, miso roasted tomato and ponzu. Joe suggests toasted sesame seed and chive flatbread. Good shout. If this is upmarket street food, then York Street is the Mount Street of Broadstairs. Off menu pudding is a posh brownie crowned with flowers and oranges bathing in a fruit syrup.

The afternoon isn’t spent yet. We’re not done. Decisions, decisions. Down doubles in The Chapel Bar or sip on Chapel Down’s Bacchus from the North Downs on that beach, the Downings of Kent? Let’s do both. To quote from Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby, “Bring in the bottled lightning, a clean tumbler, and a corkscrew.” A local resident emerging from a house built into the cliff face towering over the beach spots our bottle of Kit’s Cody freshly purchased from The Bottleneck wine shop and asks, “Have you had it before? You’ll be in for a surprise. It’s spectacular!”


Town Hall Hotel + Typing Room Restaurant Bethnal Green London

Indefinite Article | Our Type

Goodness. Two far east trips in one season. We’ll be in Ichinomiya by spring at this rate. Nuala was well worth the trip for midweek frolics. Hopes are riding high for Saturday lunch in Typing Room. We’re liking the name already, even minus its definite article, spending half our lives typing up storms. We’re here to snatch the three course (plus snack) set lunch menu. It’s fashionably short: two options per course. Fortunately it caters well for pescatarians:

We’re very partial to Michelin style madness and had been reliably informed to expect multisensory sensations. Cow bells ding-a-ling? No; just lively piped music towards the close of the afternoon. Surely foam at the very least? Our sense of anticipation rises. One of our carnivorous companions chooses the venison. Will it vaporise upon arrival with said guest merely left to inhale the gamey scent as if the doe was gracefully passing by on a moor? Before being shot dead? Not quite: it arrives solidly three dimensional, delicately seared, with the closest nod to starry styling being its geometric presentation (an oblong cut next to a cabbage roll). Belcanto’s fag ash butter pushed boundaries; Typing Room’s marmite butter is easier to love.

The snack is really an oversized amuse bouche, crispy and colourful, balancing on a rolled linen napkin. The crab is pure seefood. See it. Eat it. Delish. The brill is brill (sorry, couldn’t resist). Honestly, it’s as light and wholesome as our writing (we weren’t once described as “architecture’s answer to Hello! magazine” for nothing). Sheep’s yoghurt was but now isn’t on the menu. Pity. We could eat sheep’s yoghurt till the cows come home. But a colourful cacophony (pudding arrives to the beat of that lively music) of sweet meets savoury is worth writing home about. Under the aegis of Jason AthertonCity Social (his goat’s cheese fritters with honeyed white truffle oil are particularly memorable) being one of his many other forays – is Executive Chef Lee Westcott who formerly worked for Tom Aikens.

The restaurant is naturally lit by large sash windows on two sides. A central chimney breast divides it into two spaces. We’re in the larger space, overlooking the kitchen with its eight rolled-sleeve-white-shirted-navy-aproned-mostly-bearded staff. Walls are painted an inky charcoal grey. Seats look Scandinavian and must be comfortable because, afterwards, well, we don’t remember if they were or not, and you always remember uncomfortable chairs, don’t you?

Typing Room is in the same building as the five star Town Hall Hotel (lack of definite article clearly being a theme). It’s a sturdy Portland stone monument to municipality designed by Percy Robinson and Alban Jones in the final year of the Edwardian era. It was added to 30 years later in a similarly robust manner. Rare Architecture completed the recent conversion adding a daring metallic intervention. Or “abstracted veil” in the words of architect Nathalie Rozencwajg. The interiors are furnished to reflect all these eras: neoclassical antiques; vintage mid century pieces; and contemporary sculptures. Eclectic and eccentric: a doll’s house cupboard here; a dentist’s chair there. And – holy cow – a big yellow fish. Taxi!

People Restaurants

Keith Goddard Chef + Munch Food Company

The Scream | Bringing Home The Bacon 

1 Keith Goddard chef copyright

On a return visit to the Violin Factory at Waterloo for the launch of Grohe’s new Blue classy collection of taps, we caught up with London’s hottest Michelin starred chef Keith Goddard. Classically trained – he studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York – 33 year old domestic god Keith has worked with Tom Aikens and Oliver Peyton at the Wallace Collection. After his much lauded stint at the restaurant 101 Pimlico Road, Keith’s latest venture is Munch Food Company.

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“If you want fine dining experience in the comfort of your home or for your business event, Munch is the answer,” says Keith. “We love the challenge of creating exquisite one-off menus. We’ll happily do it in your kitchen or at your chosen venue. Either is good for us. Just tell us how many people we’re catering for, what your tastes are, and we’ll come up with something that’s fit for a king.” Or queen.

Working up a sweat in the Violin Factory kitchen, Keith reveals, “Equally if all you’re after is a platter of sandwiches or Munch pizzas followed by homemade brownies, banana and maple syrup flapjacks, and elderflower refreshers to show your employees how much you appreciate their hard work, then order a Friday afternoon treat they won’t forget!” There’s always room to Grohe.

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Why a chef?

“I became a chef by accident while training in New York at the French Culinary Institute. My intention was to learn all I could about every aspect of the restaurant business before embarking on a career that would hopefully have led me to become a successful hotelier or restaurateur. Although I absolutely loved cooking even then, the idea of spending 16 hour days in a hot kitchen didn’t appeal to me. However, one week into my Culinary Arts Degree I realised I’d found my vocation.”

Where’s home?

“Paddington in London with my girlfriend.”

Why Munch?

“At the time when 101 Pimlico Road shut its doors I’d spent six straight years in restaurant environments doing anything up to 100 hour weeks. I certainly didn’t want to change industry but had a plan in my head as to where I wanted to be in my mid 30s. This involved not only a restaurant of my own but a catering division that would allow us to provide a service for many of my customers who’d inquired about it in the past but to whom I had to say no to as we just didn’t have the capacity. On top of that, event catering is a very different skill. I figured the time was right to make the move into it before I got back into another restaurant.”

Favourite dish to cook?

“Strangely I love cooking soups, particularly authentic soups from various parts of the world. In a similar vein I like slow cooking things like daubes, stews and tougher cuts of meat.”

Best advice?

“Don’t mess with the classics!”

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Eating out?

“I like to vary things to be honest. We’re extremely lucky in London as in one week we could eat pretty much every cuisine in the world. I occasionally like to go high end to Michelin star restaurants but the rest of the time to anywhere that has identity, that isn’t trying to please everyone. Other than French and Italian, I like Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese and Indian food a lot.”

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London or New York?

“I lived in New York for two of the best years of my life. However London is tough to beat.”