Don’t tell anyone, but The Continental in Whitstable might just be the seaside town’s best-kept secret in terms of dining out.
Situated smack on the sea-front, the high-ceilinged and generously-windowed ground-floor rooms that comprise the bar and dining-rooms afford tranquil views of the sea off the North Kent coast, and a step over the cul-de-sac allows for a post-prandial walk either westwards past the harbour into town, or eastwards along the coastal path past The Spit and onwards past Tankerton Slopes. The Continental also functions as a hotel, though we weren’t availing ourselves of this facility. There is also seating available outside, including a small balcony.
The menu offers French-style cuisine, including a miniature cauldron of moules mariniéres with locally-roped mussels positively wallowing in a rich and creamy garlic sauce. (There would have been a photograph of this sumptuous dish, but it didn’t last long enough to capture, alas…) The beefburgers, presented on wooden trenchers accompanied by thin French fries and a salad garnish, rise to vertiginous heights; the locally-caught cod arrived in generous portions, clad in a light, crisp batter, and was melt-in-the-mouth delicious (and, according to one of the diners, good enough to rival (whisper it) Harry Ramsden’s…) A vegetarian option was available.
The only down-side to this immensely enjoyable experience was the rather limited children’s menu which didn’t include burgers (which, naturally enough, those children present on this occasion immediately wanted).
This was the second time of visiting The Continental, and on both occasions street-side parking has been readily available (although metered) and there were tables aplenty; for such a well-situated, well-appointed and rewarding dining facility, this is extremely surprising. It must be one of Whitstable’s best-kept secrets. Don’t tell anyone else..