It’s the most beautiful drive out to The Ferry House Inn on the Isle of Sheppey. As we leave the motorway and head into unchartered territory we are greeted by miles and miles of fabulous farmland, home to flocks of Kentish sheep and herds of Kentish cows, and we even pass Capel Fleet a raptor viewpoint too… it’s right out there, and you actually find yourself thinking, ‘are we heading in the right direction’?
The Ferry House Inn is a 16th-century country pub with a restaurant that’s smack in the middle of no-where. Guests are welcome to dine in the pub or the restaurant at the back which is a very large room. I like the fact that you don’t have other dining’s sitting right on top of you but do feel the room lacks ambience due to its large size.
Having previously visited The Ferry House Inn and enjoyed it so much, we thought this weekend we’d invite my parents, to celebrate their respective birthdays. It would be a real treat to introduce them to some exquisite cuisine and what we know will be a truly delicious Sunday Roast.
We first heard about The Ferry House Inn from our friend Karen Marshall, proprietor of The George Inn in Molash, one of our most frequently visited and favourite Kent haunts, especially for their divine Sunday Roast. Karen knows a thing or two about offering her clientele the very best service, great food, and always a friendly welcome. So for us, her word is to be trusted!
Our first visit to the Ferry Inn was fabulous, the most delicious Beef I think I’ve ever tasted. However, this subsequent visit was nowhere near the mark. Not only were we disappointed with the food, but also the way in which the issue was dealt with.
Our wait-staff today are young and lack experience but are pleasant enough. We are seated at our table and review the menu of deliciousness that awaits (so we think).
Duck Liver Pate, with red onion marmalade, and a home-made Leek & Potato soup are ordered. It’s not long before our waiter returns with a delightful looking Pate, and a large plate of piping hot soup! Oh yes, that Duck liver pate is a real winner. It’s smooth, creamy and full of flavour, perfect with the accompaniment of the onion marmalade and delicious fresh homemade bread. The Leek & Potato soup, on the other hand, is bland, and lacks flavour, is a little watery and rather non-descript.
We order 2 Roast Beef, and 2 Roast Pork with all the trimmings, that’s roast potatoes, selection of fresh seasonal vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and gravy. Huge Yorkshire puddings and a generous helping of meat on each plate make for smiling faces all round, and it’s a thumb’s up for the Roast Pork which is really tasty, tender and scrumptious. Though sadly the veggies are not hot but merely warm – and this goes for the roast potatoes too – that’s just not right!!!!
As for the saga of the Beef! In a word, DISAPPOINTING. Hugely disappointing in fact. We’d been talking about how amazing the Beef was from our last visit so we are shocked that this time around it’s so awful. The Beef is not only tough but overcooked too! The waiter specifically asked how we’d like it cooked, ‘medium rare’, we said, ‘still pink please’. Well, that’s not what arrived at the table. My poor father was embarrassed to mention it, but my husband called the waiter over and explained that both Beef dishes were not only over-cooked and dry but also tough, showing him the colour of the meat (grey, not pink). The waiter humbly removed the plates apologising and said he’d speak to the chef. A few minutes later he returned with new plates and stated that the chef apologised for the error. I guess at this point what should have happened is that the chef should have come out and explained that all the beef was cooked the same way, and so perhaps instead we’d prefer to select something else from the menu, but this didn’t happen.
What did occur was that two new plates of Roast Beef were brought to the table but sadly they were as tough, dry and overcooked at the first two. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was as I’d been raving to my parent’s about what a great restaurant this was and what amazing quality the meat was!
My husband ended up not eating his meat, just the lukewarm vegetables! What’s so upsetting is that the Ferry House Inn received the Kent Dining Pub of the Year Award in 2014 so you’d think they would do their utmost to keep their clientele happy and deal with the situation professionally and responsibly. The waiter who served us clearly didn’t know how to handle this appropriately. However, the Chef who has so much experience should have taken control of the situation and come out of the kitchen to address us, apologise, and offer to take the 2 Roast Beef meals off the bill… of course, this didn’t happen.
After the second dish was sent back the waiter did not appear again and after a while, my husband was able to flag him down. We had to ask what was wrong with the second dish and why were we not being kept informed. The waiter explained that the Chef again has apologised and that he shouldn’t have served that beef as it is all like that. My husband asked why then is the chef serving it if he knows it is bad? The waiter did not know and walked away.
So we commiserated with Millionaires Shortbread – completely fabulous over-indulgent dessert, but it didn’t take the sting off the disappointment of the main course for which we had been so looking forward to.
Surprisingly, when the bill was delivered to the table there was no discount for the badly cooked Beef, so my husband again spoke to the waiter asking for it to be removed from the bill, and don’t you know they just took off the price of the meat, not the vegetables! Shocking customer service!
Sadly, we won’t be returning to the Ferry House Inn again, not when there are other restaurants doing a fine job of serving Sunday roast in Kent, and who take such great care of their clients.
The Address is:
The Ferry House Inn,
Harty Ferry Road,
Kent, ME12 4BQ