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Feed The Birds

Feed The Birds


A retro cafe chain plans to open in Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells - it’s first in Kent. Poppins will serve breakfasts and lunches, with a menu that includes grilled dishes, fish, steak, omelettes, salads, jacket potatoes, burgers and snacks, as well as sweet treats and desserts.

The company, which was founded in 1979, currently has 33 independently-owned town centre sites.


Shooting Stars

Shooting Stars


Thakeray’s restaurant in Tunbridge Wells has lost its Michelin Star – for the second time. Owned by Richard Phillips, the upmarket French restaurant which opened in 2002, first won a star in 2003, but had it removed three years later. It regained the accolade in 2013 under chef Dan Hatton, who left in 2014.

Kent, which had six Michelin starred restaurants for many years, now only has two: Graham Garrett’s West House in Biddenden and The Sportsman, led by Steve Harris, in Seasalter.

After holding one for two decades, Read’s in Faversham lost its in 2013. Andrew McLeish’s Chapter One in Locksbottom held a star between 2001 and 2015. Apicius losts its star in 2015 when it was closed buy husband-and-wife team Tim and Faith Johnson, who have since reopened the Cranbrook venue.


Right Royal Christmas

Right Royal Christmas


The Empire Room restaurant in Ramsgate’s award-winning Royal Harbour Hotel is to open on Christmas Day for lunch and will be welcoming Christmas parties throughout December with a series of gastronomic delights.

On Christmas Day, Michelin-trained chef Craig Mather will serve a gourmet lunch, priced at £95.00 per person, when the club-like dining room will entertain up to 35 people.

Craig intends that his special menus served during the festive period, will showcase dishes and generate support in the Taste of Kent Awards organised by Produced in Kent. Nominated for ‘Best Restaurant’, fans of his culinary talents, which were honed whilst training at the Michelin-starred Mallory Court in Leamington Spa, will be able to vote for the Empire Room online.

At the Empire Room on Christmas Eve there will be a 7-couse tasting menu for £65.00 per person, with proceedings beginning at 7.30pm. The Christmas Day feast begins in the bar at noon with a selection of canapés & Kent sparkling wine. The Empire Room will also be open on New Year’s Eve, but closed on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Through December office parties can enjoy a menu of seasonal produce sourced locally which is likely to include dishes featured on the special Christmas menus.

For New Year’s Eve there is also a 7-course tasting menu. at £65 a head, which will feature many of Craig’s favourite local ingredients including breast of pigeon, and Local Dover Sole, Kentish Venison.


Gin Palace

Gin Palace


A sustainable distillery is to launch in Kent, creating fine spirits from native Wealden crops and surplus produce. Greensand Ridge Distillery will use crops such as cobnuts and the unwanted produce supermarkets to make a range of premium alcoholic drinks.

Its first bottling will be of a London dry gin, which includes eight botanicals that grow within a mile of the distillery, including cobnuts, gorse flowers and oak moss. It will also release a limited edition of the UKʼs only raspberry eau-de-vie, made from surplus berries grown by local farmer Giles Cannon.

The distillery at Shipbourne, near Sevenoaks, is powered by 100% renewable electricity and has a zero target for chemical use and non-recyclable waste. Gin-lovers can also visit the distillery and create their own bottle of gin to take away. The business is the brainchild of Sevenoaks-born entrepreneur Will Edge.

“After so many years of practising my craft on a small scale, it will be an emotional day for me when I can bring these ideas to drinks enthusiasts in premium, locally inspired products, and do so in a sustainable way,” he said.


Chapel Up

Chapel Up


Chapel Down has reported sales up 26% to £4.09m in first 6 months of the year. Wine sales volumes were up 14% to £2.59m, with beer and cider sales up 55% to £1.51m. Gross profit increased 28% to £1.45m. Its Curious Drinks brand raised £1.74m on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to expand the business and build a brewery. A further 95 acres of vines have been planted.

Chief executive Frazer Thompson said: “Consumer interest in English wines and specialist or craft beer shows no sign of abating and Chapel Down has worked hard to be well positioned to benefit. We are encouraged by the prospect of another good harvest in 2016 with excellent quality, which will enable us to continue to improve the quality of our wines and help our goal to have supply in place to meet future demand.”


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