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Akos Mate, Head Chef at Folkestone's Rocksalt restaurant

Folkestone has had a remarkable transformation over the past decade, with a focus on arts, culture and food, turning it into Kent’s buzziest seaside village and crowned best place to live in SE England by The Times.

Literally overseeing this coastal revolution since 2011 is Rocksalt, the cantilevered restaurant over Folkestone Harbour with panoramic floor-to-ceiling views over the English Channel.

This is where Head Chef, Akos Mate started his career at just 16, as a Kitchen Assistant. Like Folkestone, his growth has been radical over the ensuing years. He became an integral part of the team that delivered Hide and Fox’s first Michelin star, while working there as a sous chef, before returning to Rocksalt as Head Chef. 

Since rejoining Rocksalt’s kitchen, his creativity and passion has helped it to be awarded its two recent AA Rosettes.

Rocksalt serves seasonal dishes using local produce from nearby trawlers and surrounding farms in Kent’s rolling green countryside. It also boasts a wine bar with sun-drenched outdoor deck and rooftop gardens, overlooking the historic viaduct, as well as four, boutique rooms to stay.

And Akos brings us the best places to eat and drink in the quirky and exciting new hotspot, from quirky cafes to coffees on the beach and a secret, courtyard garden with Bao Buns to die for.

Rocksalt restaurant in Folkestone

Rocksalt, 4-5 Fish Market, Folkestone CT19 6AA


The Pilot Beach Bar

The Pilot Beach Bar in Folkestone

A busy day in the kitchen always starts on a bright note with an early visit across the harbour to the beachside. I love getting my coffee from The Pilot Beach Bar before walking across the viaduct into the bustling kitchen, ready for the day ahead. Picture the stunning pebble beach, with expansive sea views and palm trees, all set against a fairground backdrop complete with dodgems, waltzers, and deckchairs. I enjoy grabbing a fresh coffee and a cheeky Docker bakery cruffin to set me up for the busy day ahead.

The Pilot Beach Bar, Harbour, Folkestone CT20 1QH


Little Rock in Folkestone

One of the best breakfasts in Folkestone, in my opinion, is served at Brew, a small family-run business located near the town centre. If it's a weekend, then my favourite spot has to be Little Rock; a dedicated seafood restaurant located right on the beachfront in Folkestone Harbour. They serve delicious seasonal brunch with a focus on fish and seafood dishes. My favourite from their brunch menu has to be the Seared Folkestone Scallops on Toasted Docker Sourdough with ‘Nduja, Gem Lettuce, and Gribiche Dressing. It's one not to miss and if it's a day off for me after a busy week then the weekend bottomless brunch is a great way to kick start the weekend with my family & friends.

Brew, 83 Cheriton Rd, Folkestone CT20 1DG

Little Rock (pictured above), Beachside, The Harbour Arm, Folkestone CT20 1QN


Marleys in the Creative Quarter, Folkestone

There are so many great places to eat in Folkestone right now; we are truly lucky and spoilt for choice. It's hard to choose, but Marleys is currently offering a great range of light and healthy lunch options. This independent restaurant, run by local couple Mark and Charly, is located close to Rocksalt at the bottom of the Old High Street and certainly worth checking out. Marleys, Creative Quarter, 2-4 South Street, Folkestone CT20 1RW


Radnor Arms
The Radnor Arms, Folkestone

The Radnor Arms has to be my favourite destination for my wife and I, as well as our family, for a delicious and relaxed lunch or dinner. The menu, created by the talented Head Chef Niel Talan, focuses on seasonal local produce. My personal favourite right now is his incredible overnight flatbreads, all handmade in-house. Specifically, I love the FILIPINO ‘BICALONA SISIG’ PORK BELLY flatbread, featuring Miso Tare Glaze, Onion Hash, Truffle Mayo, and Cured Yolk. These sourdough flatbreads are proved overnight and cooked in a wood-fired oven to give a fluffier, rounder finish. Absolutely divine!

Radnor Arms, Christ Church Rd, Folkestone CT20 2SX


The Lighthouse Champagne Bar
The Lighthouse Champagne Bar, Folkestone Harbour Arm

Another great spot to highlight on the Harbour Arm for evening drinks has to be The Lighthouse Champagne Bar or The Tasting Rooms. Both venues are owned by husband and wife duo Simon & Jess Robinson and are located on the harbour arm with fantastic views out to sea. Their venues offer a great relaxing atmosphere with live music, an excellent drink selection, and themed sunset evenings featuring local talented musicians. It's the perfect place to unwind and soak up the vibrant community spirit here in Folkestone. The Lighthouse Champagne Bar (pictured above) and The Lighthouse Tasting Rooms, Folkestone Harbour Arm, Harbour Approach Rd, Folkestone CT20 1QH


The Radnor Arms Courtyard - and try the Steamed Bao Buns!
The courtyard garden at Radnor Arms, Folkestone

A little hidden gem of mine, has to be The Radnor Arms courtyard garden. On my days off I enjoy spending my time here with my friends and family. Wondering why? Well, take a look at the pictures and their new brunch menu and you'll soon understand why.

It's a real hidden gem located in the old Bouverie district of Folkestone away from the busy hustle and bustle of the harbour and is a real sun trap spot for the summer. The walled courtyard garden is like a little French haven with beautiful flowers, plants and of course divine food and drink. Head Chef Niel Talan has just launched his new summer brunch menu and the Steamed Bao Buns are to die for. With a choice of BrekkieBao, ChixBao or the Portebao, they're all so good i can't ever order just one so I tend to opt for all 3 and share them with my wife, (if she's lucky).

Radnor Arms, Christ Church Rd, Folkestone CT20 2SX

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