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The Langhorne – Our New Favourite Restaurant

We had the privilege of attending relaunch night at The Langhorne this week. Speaking to head chef Jack Williams, you can tell from his enthusiasm that he is passionate about food. His love for experimentation and creativity is evident in his fantastic new menu. Drawing from his experience cheffing in various kitchens over the years, Jack has developed a great concept and some incredible dishes.

The man has some serious talent. I’m not exaggerating when I say that we had some of the best food we’ve ever eaten at The Langhorne.

Folkestone Foodies

A frustrating time

Covid has messed with his plans so far, but now he is finally able to get going with his vision for the restaurant. Frustrating as it was for Jack, for the past couple of years The Langhorne has not been able to run full steam ahead. After closing during the pandemic, the restaurant reopened for Sunday roasts in Autumn 2021, and concentrated on lighter food during the summer months of 2022. They have now been open for their famous Sunday roasts again for the past couple of weeks, proving as popular as ever. And for good reason – the roasts are amazing.

The launch of the Autumn / Winter menu 2022

But now, finally, Jack can really showcase his skills with his new fine dining menu. And the man has some serious talent. I’m not exaggerating when I say that we had some of the best food we’ve ever eaten at The Langhorne. And we’ve eaten in a lot of great restaurants, in Folkestone, and around the world. Jack’s food is up there with the best.

From the land, from the sea and from the field

Jack’s new menu has 4 “small plate” options from each of these 3 categories. A brilliant concept that effectively allows you to create your own taster menu. This is exactly how we love to eat, and it just works. We ordered 7 different dishes from the mains, along with a couple of desserts. And don’t be fooled by “small plates”. Not only is each dish rich and full of flavour, the portions are generous enough to share, which is what we did.

Slow-braised pork cheeks with carrot puree, braised red cabbage, glazed heritage carrots and cider jus

Slow-Braised Pork Cheeks

Our first dish was the Slow-Braised Pork Cheeks. Wow! The first mouthful of melt-in-the-mouth meat had us making eye contact across the table with that knowing look – damn this is good. What ensued could only be described as a cacophony of mmmm‘s and oh my god‘s. It was just exquisite. And we were only on the first dish. I was excited. The sweet apple taste of the cider jus with the tender pork was sublime, and the delicate texture of the carrot puree along with the red cabbage worked perfectly. We really, really enjoyed this one.

Seared scallops with burnt pear puree, black pudding croquettes and perry compressed pears

Seared Scallops with Burnt Pear Puree

This dish is all about the caramelisation. Except that it’s also about the flavours. And the textures. Everything was great! The scallops were seared with a perfect golden crust, and the caramelised sugars in the pear puree gave it that browned appearance and deep flavour. The genius addition of black pudding croquettes gives texture and works very well with the delicate flavour of the scallops. A winner for us.

Kentish Blue Cheesecake with red wine poached pears and oat crumb

Kentish Blue Cheesecake

This interesting plate captivated us both. It was like a classic cheeseboard made into a dish. A great concept. Kentish blue cheese is whipped up with cream cheese and folded with cream to produce something really special. This light, mousse-like cheese has all the flavour of a strong blue without the density. Imagine the flavours of blue cheese and pear compote on an oat cracker, washed down with your favourite red wine, and you might be somewhere close. Beautiful.

Pumpkin velouté with toasted hazelnuts, crème fraîche and pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin Velouté with Toasted Hazelnuts

This fabulous dish is a real autumn comfort. The pumpkin and hazelnut are a match made in heaven, with the hazelnut and pumpkin seeds bringing texture to this velvety velouté. Topped off with a dollop of crème fraîche for extra creaminess, it’s beautifully decadent. Jack says the simplicity of this is the key. Unadulterated pumpkin flavour with only a few simple ingredients to make it sing. Amazing.

Pan-roasted skate wing with shrimp and caper butter sauce, samphire and charred lemon

Pan-Roasted Skate Wing

The skate wing was beautifully cooked. We were picking the bones on this dish, it was divine. The shrimp and caper butter sauce was so good, it’s hard to put into words, but I’ll try. Buttery and flavoursome with the right amount of zing from the capers, really bringing the fish to life. And of course, the samphire and charred lemon were the perfect accompaniment. Definitely recommend this dish, it was glorious.

Rabbit and Pancetta Pie with wholegrain potato puree, buttered black cabbage and gravy

Rabbit & Pancetta Pie

What could be better than pie, mash and gravy on a cold autumn evening? This was a real belly-filler. The homemade shortcrust pastry encased the beautifully tender rabbit and pancetta filling, and it tasted heavenly. Perfect with the wholegrain mustard mash and buttered black cabbage. All smothered in gravy, we devoured it all. At this point, we were a little in awe of Jack. The home runs kept on coming. Was there nothing he couldn’t do?

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Venison loin with caramelised cauliflower puree, Hasselback pink fir, pickled blackberries and jus

Venison Loin

God this was good. I’m actually salivating whilst I write. The gorgeously rare venison loin was soft and tender, perfectly punctuated by the pickled blackberries. The pink fir apple potatoes, a heritage variety, done Hasselback for added texture, were superb. We loved the flavour of the caramelised cauliflower puree. I thought this was a showstopper dish, one not to miss when you visit.

Popcorn Panna Cotta with toasted miso marshmallow, glazed banana and vanilla ice cream

Popcorn Panna Cotta

The Popcorn Panna Cotta is one of Jack’s real triumphs. I wish more chefs would make panna cotta more interesting. This is a banana panna cotta, topped with glazed banana pieces, toasted miso marshmallow and popcorn. The miso marshmallow is a great touch, adding a little extra interest to the dish. And the popcorn adds some texture to the mix. A cracking dessert.

70% Chocolate Cremeaux with milk ice cream, smashed blackberries and espresso mousse

70% Chocolate Cremeaux

The Chocolate Cremeaux was luxuriously rich and right up my street. The espresso mousse is a delicious touch of genius, and the smashed blackberries add freshness to this decadent dessert. I tried not to share this one, but Mrs FF was having none of that idea.

A Terrifically Talented Team

The service here is spot on, something that not every restaurant gets right. We ordered our main dishes at the start, all in one go. Everything is cooked fresh and is brought out when it’s ready. But it was perfectly executed, and they made sure we had dishes from the land, the sea and the field that went together. It was all so well thought out, and we were really impressed by the whole evening.

We were even lucky enough to meet chef Dan, who came out to chat after working so hard in the kitchen. It was an absolute joy to eat here and we could not fault anything. From the food to the decor, even down to the music playing softly in the background, Jack has thought of everything.

All locally sourced produce

As you would expect from a restaurant like this, all the produce comes from local suppliers here in Kent, which is great to see.

Where is The Langhorne?

It isn’t obvious where The Langhorne is located. You will find the restaurant below The Portland Hotel. Access to the restaurant is via The Skuba Bar. It’s as if you only know if you know, and it has a vibe of exclusivity to it. When you are accompanied down the stairs into the restaurant by a member of the team, it’s like you’re being let into a little secret.

This article was written in 2022. See our thoughts on Jack’s new Autumn / Winter 2023 menu here.

To book a table at The Langhorne, call 01303 251444

Follow The Langhorne on Instagram @thelanghorne
Follow Jack Williams on Instagram @chefjackwilliams

Visiting from out of town? Why not book a stay?

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