Kent foodies are sure to be excited at the news of a brand-new restaurant opening next month just outside of Deal. Updown is set to offer a truly unique eating experience, as well as accommodation for those looking for a countryside escape.
Housed in a stunning 17th-century farmhouse, set within seven-and-a-half acres of rolling Kent countryside 15 minutes outside of Deal, the new restaurant will be helmed by owners Oli Brown and Ruth Leigh. Over the last two years, the pair have been carefully restoring the farmhouse to house seven rooms, including two cottages.
While work on the property took place, Ruth and Oli used the space to host a series of successful summer clubs. It was the great response to these that further cemented the idea for the pair to turn Updown into a permanent fixture, where they can share their seasonal menus and offer exceptional hospitality.
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Updown is set to open next month, with dining beginning on July 8 for Friday evenings and Sunday lunch; rooms at Updown will be launching from July 14. Within the main house, guests will have their pick of four stunning rooms, each overlooking the grounds and carefully designed to reflect the character of the farm.
Ruth and Oli have also transformed the outbuildings on the property, including its stables, to house three additional guest rooms. Oli will head up the food at Updown, utilising his wealth of experience from founding the incredibly popular Duck Duck Goose in Brixton, his time in Hong Kong running the kitchens of Swire Hotel’s first stand-alone restaurant, and with Rowley Leigh at Le Café Anglais .
Ruth, meanwhile, will lead on all things front of house, having spent many years working alongside Stevie Parle and, most recently, Henry Harris. An Italian leaning, hyper-seasonal menu has been carefully crafted, which will make use of locally-sourced ingredients.
The menu will feature produce from the much-loved and nearby The Goods Shed, plus prize-winning butcher The Black Pig and fishmonger Jenkins and Son. Not only this, Updown will also offer a range of delicious seasonal drinks, including cocktails made from produce from the garden, as well as local wines sitting side by side with bottles from high-quality producers in France and Italy.
Speaking to KentLive, co-owner Oli Brown explained why a farmhouse in Deal made the perfect home for the new restaurant. He said: “We looked in Somerset, we looked in Norfolk, but it just felt like we had roots here [in Deal] and we knew the area.
“It’s so close to London too, so it didn’t feel too scary. Also, it’s just such a cool place, Deal, it’s thriving and the property was just unbelievably beautiful, so that made our minds up for us.
“After lockdown, we were kind of thinking about leaving London, and we were, as I said, looking everywhere. When we came to see it, it was summer and it was just unbelievably stunning.
“It’s about 10 minutes from Deal, so it’s not actually that remote, but it’s enclosed by incredible woodland so it feels very remote and it’s very peaceful. It’s unusual, but once it’s up and running, it’s going to be such a lovely place to be in, eat and to stay.”
Speaking of the opening, Oli said: “Updown Farm is a dream come true for Ruth and I. After the last few years working on the house, and hosting some of our favorite chefs and good friends at the farm, we can’t wait to have people here to stay, and get completely immersed in life here.
“Updown is a celebration of what the area has to offer – from some of the most beautiful fruit and veg from our neighboring farms to wines from local vineyards. We have big plans for the Updown and hope to restore more of it in months to come – watch this space!”
Oli went on to discuss one dish in particular that he is very eager for guests to try. He added: “The veal chop with sage butter and Roman gnocchi is going to be delicious.”
Booking and inquiries can be made on their website here and you can follow Updown on Instagram here.
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