A pub with Something Special – The Radnor Arms
Folkestone has a wealth of amazing venues to drink and eat in. The Radnor Arms is no exception; set in the west end of town, in the Bouverie Village. The decor is beautiful, and this is part of the Pickled Egg Pub Company run by Josh De Haan. Manager Ryan has been part of the group for nearly 4 years and knows just how important a pub is to its local community. Folkelife met Ryan Hillier and had the opportunity to try some of the menu too.
“A pub is part of the heart of the community. If you look at the West end of town, there are actually very few pubs. This is located in such a crucial place. Our customers are such a mix of people, from walkers on The Leas out for a stroll, show-goers at the Leas Cliff Hall to local residents and business workers too.”
restaurant or bar
“There are a selection of different places in the pub to sit. You can be in the restaurant area, or in our beautiful garden out the back. There are event spaces and cosy rooms for a family get together. Upstairs we can host 60 people for private parties and business away days. There’s also a TV there which can show big events if that’s what people want to watch. We want The Radnor Arms to be the perfect mix for people seeking a pint and a packet of crisps on a Tuesday, a birthday party celebration, a work lunch or just an evening meal out when you don’t want to cook.”
new menu bursting with flavour
“Our new chef Niel Talan is bringing some exciting flavours to the menu. Have a look at the Chalk Stream trout with a seabuckthorn dressing, trout roe caviar and herb salad. This has a real citrusy flavour to it which is the seabuckthorn. It’s a small orange berry native to coastal areas in the UK, and is packed full of flavour. This is one of my favourite things on the menu, and testament to Niel’s skills.”
The menu has everything you would expect from a pub – ‘no holds barred burgers’, steaks, sausage and egg – although that comes as a Cumberland sausage and Haggis Scotch Egg. You won’t be disappointed with the portion sizes, and each plate delivers what the menu promises. Korean BBQ Glazed Chicken Wings are another winning starter that does everything it says on the description.
Ryan: “We want everyone to be happy and find something on the menu that they’ll like. That’s why we have those regulars that people want to see, but also new and exciting dishes that cater for the person who wants something different. Niel’s Tempura Wood Roasted Cauliflower Taco is another illustration of this. It’s one of our vegan dishes and we’re finding many a meat-eater ordering them. Every mouthful is full of crunchy, sticky, maple and soy glaze with that hit of sriracha to let you know you’re eating something good. “
There’s a focus on using local ingredients and the grilled Romney Marsh Kofta Kebab is a sophisticated take on the dish associated with a pub crawl. Every dish is exquisitely presented and colour shouts out at you from each plate. Steak nights happen each Wednesday and with fresh chimichuri – the herby Argentinian sauce that adorns their feasts you will not be disappointed. It’s worth noting that if you’re planning on joining them for Steak Night, best to book if it’s between October and May, you won’t be dining alone!
Eddie Lock, the art and memorabilia dealer, lives in Folkestone. He’s kitted out the first floor of The Radnor Arms with a fantastic selection of artwork that really lends itself to the setting. During his career as a musician, he performed in the very same location when the pub had a different name. Now he says “It’s great to give something back to Folkestone, having been connected to it for so long.”
The upstairs is a good space for a private party. You are located above the cooking area and can see what’s going on, smell the delicious feast you’re about to eat and share this with up to 60 friends standing, and over 20 people sitting down.
Every part of the pub has a little nook you can find to have a bit of privacy should you need it. There are rooms that are used for yoga sessions during the day.
If you are someone who reads the dessert menu first then puddings here are worth leaving space for. The portion sizes across all of the menu are generous, so you’ll find that advice worth heeding. Belgian waffles with banana, whipped cream, ice cream and toffee sauce is as large as that sounds. The dark chocolate and raspberry tart is intensely chocolaty with sufficient raspberry sorbet to cleanse the palate between mouthfuls of chocolate. It’s a hard choice between the strawberry cheesecake with lemon sorbet and the warm cinnamon doughnuts with burnt Bramley apple sauce but someone will find space.
An experience that makes you feel special
Ryan: “I love making cocktails and so we’ve created a special menu just for those. It’s part of our ethos to make sure there’s something for everyone. Folkestone is evolving so quickly. The renovations that have happened down at the Harbour have transformed that area. Watching that renovation move up The Old High Street and on to Rendezvous Street is fantastic, seeing it grow. We’re helping it from the West end now, I feel like this sort of bookends the town. I love pubs; we need decent pubs around serving delicious local produce alongside great ales and cocktails that make everyone feel welcome.”