We absolutely love Deal, the little seaside town on the Kent coast. We’ve been visiting there regularly for a few years now but strangely we’ve never actually set foot in one of its standout restaurants before – The Rose. Taken over and refurbished in 2018 by an ex-Wallpaper editor Alex Bagner and her husband Christopher Hicks, this 200 year old pub on the high street in Deal is now a pretty boutique hotel and restaurant, and is one the venues that can claim to have put Deal ‘on the map’.
For our latest trip to Deal we finally managed to combine an overnight stay with dinner at The Rose, on what turned out to be a rainy night in early November. There’s just eight cosy rooms on the upper floors above the pub and dining room, and as you might expect from the owners, each is very nicely designed with vintage furnishings, bold colours, and luxurious beds.
We were in one of the smaller rooms which was ideal for a one night stay but if you’re down for longer you might want to consider a bigger one. All rooms have private bathrooms but only the larger ones feature bathtubs so check which room suits you best, as each is unique. There’s a communal tea and coffee station in the hallway, where you can make a brew, pick up a few biscuits and even sneak a nip of brandy should you fancy.
Downstairs there’s the pub and dining room serving drinks, lunch, and dinner, as well as the excellent breakfast which is included as standard with each room booking. The Rose enlisted Nuno Mendes to create its new menu a couple of years back, which added to its already strong reputation. It paid off, with Jay Rayner giving the restaurant a great review back in October. The menu is not particularly Portuguese, but it does have the hallmarks of a top chef.
We kicked off with some brilliant snacks and a glass of Simpsons rose sparkling wine, made just up near Canterbury. The snacks menu was so good that we might have slightly overdone it, but there were several that we just couldn’t pass up, including crab doughnuts, fried mushroom-stuffed gordal olives, potato rosti with pickled apple, and poached oysters with smoked cream. Honestly, get them all!
Not cowed by our own greed, we still went for starters and mains, beginning with brown butter poached salsify with toasted walnuts and aged cheese, and cured slithers of John Dory with roasted pumpkin – both lovely autumnal dishes.
The standout dish from the mains, and the most Portuguese thing on the menu, was the baked duck rice – a hot pan of rich, buttery rice topped with a confit duck leg, liver parfait and orange. We also tried the salt-baked celeriac with pickled wild mushrooms, coco beans and cavolo nero, a perfect veggie dish. After all that, we did manage one dessert too, a beautiful spiced apple & almond tart with set ginger custard.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to stay or to eat out in Deal, The Rose is undoubtedly one of the best options. There’s plenty more to discover around town too, so if you’re yet to visit Deal, we can highly recommend it for your next weekend break.
91 High St, Deal CT14 6ED