National Acclaim for two Kent pubs

The Sportsman in Seasalter has been named the best gastropub in Britain for a fifth time at the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards.

Shepherd Neame Licensees Donna and Rob Taylor at The Compasses Inn
Shepherd Neame Licensees Donna and Rob Taylor at The Compasses Inn

The Shepherd Neame-owned pub, run by brothers Stephen and Phil Harris, was announced as the winner in an online awards ceremony on Friday evening (March 26), after receiving the most votes in an industry poll organised by pub trade magazine The Morning Advertiser.

Hundreds of votes were cast to determine the Top 50 by industry experts including food critics and writers, gastropub chefs and other food influencers.

The Sportsman, which has held a Michelin star since 2008, has previously topped the list in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.

Head chef Stephen Harris takes full advantage of the history and agriculture of the pub’s rural location near the seaside town of Whitstable, churning his own butter, making his own salt, baking his own bread and using only the finest, freshest produce from local farms and fishermen.

Stephen said: “We are very proud and grateful to once again be honoured with this award, which is particularly special as it is voted for by our peers. After a challenging year, this is fantastic recognition for the hard work and dedication of our staff. Their talent and passion for their work is key to The Sportsman’s success.”

The Compasses Inn in Crundale was also named in the list for a fifth year running, taking 8th place. Licensees Donna and Rob Taylor took over the Shepherd Neame pub in 2012 and since then it has received numerous awards including two prestigious AA Rosettes and the Michelin Bib Gourmand.

Donna said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be in the list for a fifth year, and to be placed in the top 10 again is just amazing. It’s been a difficult year, so it is great to finally have some positive news as we look forward to reopening on May 19. We are really proud of everything we have achieved at The Compasses, and it means so much to have our efforts recognised by the industry in this way.”