Do I have your attention? For some of you die hard James Bond fans you may know "You only live twice" as a Jame Bond thriller written by Ian Flemming in 1964. The reason I mention this is because Ian Flemming wrote this novel at the pub that this blog is about.
Friends of ours, Dean and Becky, have recently realised a dream and opened their own country pub in Pett Bottom, Kent. Yes, I laughed at the name of the village especially when auto correct on my phone kept changing it to Pert Bottom. You can only imagine how I was giggling and that was before a glass of wine. The Duck has been a popular pub over the years with locals and not so locals alike. Dean and his team took over the lease in January and reopened for trade the first week of March 2018. We love to celebrate with friends and we love to celebrate the realisation of a dream even more. It was also my birthday so it was a double celebration. Kyle and I headed down to Kent on the 25th of March ready for our lunch time booking at The Duck Inn. As we arrived a "gang" of motorcycles were just leaving. They had stopped at the pub because of the connection to Ian Flemming and also to quench their thirsts. There was a party of about 20 - 25 including children in the main dining room they were enjoying the "Host a Roast" menu. Perfect for large groups. A table of 6 in the bar, another of 3 and us booked in for lunch. The fire was roaring, there were a number of people seated at the bar and the atmosphere was cheerful. Definitely a dog friendly pub with a tin of dog treats on the bar and after lunch service a very lucky Chocolate Labrador and Boarder Terrier were treated to off cuts of beef rib.
Dean, the chef patron, has kept his Sunday lunch menu very simple with 4 starters, 4 mains and 4 desserts. When we spoke to him after lunch he said he would prefer to focus on a smaller menu and do it well than try to have too many dishes and not give each one as much love. After all no one is really after a fussy meal on a Sunday. All you want is a good solid roast, good company and not having to do the dishes after. Kyle started off with a Breakwater Brewery, Cow Juice (don't ask!) and I had a Brockman's gin and tonic to get the taste buds going. After umm-ing and ahh-ing over the menu Kyle decided to go with the Prawn Cocktail , Curious Brew and Black Treacle Rib of Beef and Chocolate Delice with Raspberries. I chose the Chicken Terrine with Mushroom Ketchup, Slow Roast Pork Belly with Apricot Puree and ended with the Caramelised Apple Crumble. Personally I feel that the menu was extremely well priced. £20.00 for 2 courses or £25.00 for 3 courses. Where these days can you get good quality food for that kind of money? There are some pubs in and around London who charge up to £14.95 just for a main course on a Sunday!
The bread was warm, light and well seasoned with onion and rosemary. Served with salted butter which is a must. The front of house team were also really good about giving a second or even third round if anyone wanted. Our starters arrived pretty quickly considering the large party were on their main course. Kyle really enjoyed his prawn cocktail and he said the addition of peas was great for a textural element. We did however suggest later that a kilner jar may not have been the best vessel. Trial and error and people willing to give feedback is always a must for a new business. My chicken terrine was rustic and served with a mushroom ketchup and a herb crumb. Mains were glorious! The portions were generous and the quality of meat was top notch. Kyle's beef was perfectly medium and my pork belly was melt in the mouth good. The crackling crackled and the apricot puree really complimented the pork. I may even prefer it to apple going forward. Dean and his team serve the vegetables on the side and we had a healthy helping of Chanteney carrots, curly kale, cauliflower cheese and extra gravy. Each main course came with Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes already on the plate. I felt like a goose being fattened for next Christmas' dinner and may even have had to undo my top button on my jeans after such a good main course.
We had a good break between our mains and our desserts which gave us some time to savour our wine. The wine list is good for a country pub and covers most bases. Being South African Dean has chosen a few stellar South African wines including the 2015 Printer's Ink Pinotage by Martin Meinert. It is a well rounded wine and despite being only 2 years old surprisingly easy drinking with a good fruit driven palate. It has good body and was perfect for the mix and match we had going on on the table. It was also smooth enough to enjoy without food between courses. Once we felt there was a little hole developing in the stomach we had dessert. Kyle is a massive chocoholic and his dessert didn't even touch sides. He said the raspberry sorbet that accompanied it was delicious and refreshing. My crumble was warm and homely and packed a punch of cinnamon and nutmeg with a buttery, caramel topping. The vanilla ice cream was all I needed to round it off.
Over all we enjoyed our meal at The Duck and so did the tables around us. Dean came out and spoke to all of his guests; even those just sitting at the bar and enjoying a drink. From what we heard people are excited that The Duck has reopened and so far are very happy with the food and menu. It seems to me to be a place that people have been coming to for years, I heard someone say since 1973, and don't want to see it disappear. When I was chatting to some guests at the bar I discovered they had tried to book for Sunday lunch but it was full and yet they still came for a drink and to support. Our hostess at our B&B on Sunday was also so happy to have had the Duck reopen, she has already visited and just wants to see the business grow. As do we!
Dean is the first to admit there is still work to be done around decor and some menu tweaks but he and Becky have a great team supporting them. Their front of house staff are all young and enthusiastic and love the pub. The weather wasn't great on Sunday but there are tables out the front and in the garden ready for when the warmer weather makes an appearance. There are also plans to develop the summer menu, watch this space! We think there is huge potential and wish Dean and Becky well with this new adventure. We will definitely be back, no doubt about that.
If you visit please feel free to post pictures or comments on Trip Advisor, follow them on Facebook @theduckpettbottom or use #duckinnpb on Instagram and Twitter. I would also love to know how you found your experience and would love to hear from you too.
Good food is very often, even most often, simple food. - Anthony Bourdain