Plot to plate, field to fork and grain to glass
As we crossed the long sweeping curve of the Kingsferry Bridge to the Isle of Sheppey we were met with extensive marshland, dotted with sheep, and vast open skies, my guest and I were making our way to the area of Harty, situated on the edge of the Swale Estuary, to The Ferry House. The rural boutique inn is seated at an elevated position overlooking beautiful gardens and the gentle flow of the Swale with fishing boats and other vessels in view.
Entering through a large oak door, we stepped inside the 16th century building and were greeted, in the warmly furnished bar and restaurant area, by the front of house manager who showed us to our room. The large open room boasted a fabulous four-poster bed, and the showstopper copper bath took centre stage in the modern bathroom.
The Burden family have been farming the land for many generations and the three-acre plot where The Ferry House is set is Kentish to the core. With traditional oak beams, countryside-inspired décor and open log fires, it makes for the ideal rural escape whatever the season. It also has a beautiful barn, permanent marquee and wooden gazebo, for the idyllic setting in which to say your vows and host your wedding.
The extensive kitchen garden is certainly something to admire for both gardeners and foodies alike. With lots of wonderful herbs, vegetables, fruit and edible flowers grown on site, you can’t get any fresher. The family pride themselves on homegrown, homemade, quality local produce taking ‘pride of plate’ on their menu. Working hand-in-hand, head gardener Natalie Read and head chef James Pilcher cultivate and produce dishes which have earnt the restaurant at The Ferry House an AA Rosette and two Taste of Kent awards.
Much of the produce that can’t be grown, farmed or foraged by the family is otherwise sourced from a handpicked selection of Kent’s finest producers and comprises of dishes that’ll satisfy both meat-eaters and vegetarians, as it did with us. We sampled the warm homemade bread with the inspired fresh mint, dill and lovage butter, whilst deliberating over the menu. My guest opted for the Harty Estate’s Pan-fried Partridge Breast served with rich black pudding, brought together with poached pear and blackberry. Making the most of the in-season vegetable, I started my meal with the Fresh Garden Asparagus, firm and cooked to perfection complimented by the aromatic herbs, crunch of pine nuts and crumbly feta.
The selection of mains included dishes such as Beef Onglet, Pan-fried Pollack fillet and 10oz Harty Estate Sirloin. We chose the Braised Lamb Shoulder and the Garden Artichoke dish and both curious by the interesting selection of desserts, we finished our meal with the Garden Sloe Tart and the Garden Rosehip.
It is obvious that the chef enjoys the availability of the fresh garden produce and throughout the meal these elements do star. All in all, an accomplished menu cooked and served well and completely aligned to their approach of ‘Plot to Plate, Field to Fork and Grain to Glass’.
We finished off the evening with a single malt Masthouse whisky from the Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham – the Burden’s family farm are the sole-suppliers of grain to the distillery which is turned into their gins, vodka and the whisky. To complete the full cycle, The Copper Rivet send the waste by-product back to the farm to feed the cattle during the calving months, when they are not out at the Elmley Nature Reserve. The offering of a robust sloe gin nightcap made from locally foraged sloes could not be refused, before heading back to our room for a restful night’s sleep.
With never-ending views of land and estuary The Ferry House certainly transports you to a relaxed setting. The perfect place for a unique stay, to enjoy noteworthy dishes, with ingredients sourced from the cream of the Kentish crop.
- Secluded Kent escape, with good transport links on London’s doorstep
- Guilt-free, good food, with a low carbon footprint!
- Nature and bird lovers’ paradise
- Beautiful walks and cycling trails
When booking, do bear in mind that The Ferry House is a wedding venue and that not all weddings will have
The Ferry House, Harty Ferry Road, Harty ME12 4BQ