What we’re cooking
Month of mutton
We love mutton at The Small Holding! Everyone knows lamb, and often thinks of mutton as old, tough and past its best – but once you’ve tasted it, it will blow your mind. It looks like lamb on the plate, and isn’t as tough as old boots like some people think, so doesn’t always have to be curried, minced, braised, stewed or slow-cooked; you can do some really interesting, creative things with it in the kitchen. We get ours at about four years old from The Pure Meat Company, and it’s such an exciting meat to cook with.
Recipe: Tomato, Ricotta, Yarrow
Sea salt flakes
This is a quick and easy dish to make…
First, get some heritage tomatoes (mixed sizes and colours) from Eggs to Apples Farm Shop in Hurst Green (our favourites!). Whatever you do, don’t eat them straight from the fridge; instead, leave them out and let them come up to room temperature, so that the sugars are released and not locked in – much nicer.
Slice them up and dress with a bit of rapeseed oil, then sprinkle with some sea salt flakes, and fan them out. Get some yarrow and sprinkle over the tomatoes, then dot your ricotta on top. With the ricotta’s acidity and creaminess, the sharpness and sweetness of the tomatoes, and the herbaceous taste of the yarrow, it’s simple and tasty as a side salad, or as a lunch on its own.
Feast your eyes on The Small Holding’s new dishes…
Sweetcorn, Mushroom, Egg
Hogget, Cabbage, Cheese
Onion, Blackberries, Seaweed
Cod, Lettuce, Lovage
Monkfish, Tomato, Parsley
Beef, Fennel, Nasturtium
Pork, Radish, Courgette
Apple, Ginger, Juniper
Plum, Yoghurt, Honey
Raspberry, Tarragon, Potato
4-glass wine pairing £40
6-glass wine pairing £60
Stories from the menu: Liver, Onion, Bacon
This dish from our August menu had an interesting evolution over time. A classic English liver and onion is what we originally had in mind, but found it was too heavy, hearty and wintry for the middle of summer. What we ended up with started life by using the offal from the hogget on our previous menu, which we froze and stored, so that nothing went to waste.
Taking inspiration from a similar recipe from Cyprus – where the liver is quickly pan-fried with a few sliced onions, then served on toast with an onion and parsley salad, lemon juice, and sumac running through it – we played around with our own variation. This wasn’t as refined as we wanted, so we experimented a bit more, using the first of our freshly harvested onions from the farm to make a caramelised onion purée, along with croutons of yesterday’s sourdough bread, to substitute the toast (again focusing on zero-waste).
We then quickly flash-fried the liver until it was nice and pink, and sliced fresh wet onions straight from the ground on the farm, salted to soften, and seasoned with wild staghorn sumac from forager Miles Irving. To finish, we sprinkled some fresh parsley from the farm over the top, and swapped lemon juice for wild garlic vinegar, which we’d been storing since spring.
When we served it, we told customers to get a bit of everything on a spoon, so that they could taste the irony, earthy caramelised liver, the juicy sweetness of the wet onions, the floral sumac, a little crunch of the crouton, and the freshness of the parsley. It worked well as a dish that people were really interested in, and that’s also had a bit of a journey from beginning to end.
What’s been happening
This year’s PX+ Festival was absolutely wicked! We were invited to join the industry event at Duchess Farms in Hertfordshire for a weekend of ‘celebration, collaboration and change’, cooking a whole hogget and fresh vegetables from the farm around open firepits, while meeting and chatting with fellow chefs from some of the best restaurants in the country and further afield. Massive shout-out to Katie and Jonny Bone and the team for having us, and putting on such a brilliant few days, which addressed the biggest issues affecting hospitality worldwide, and shone a light on the sector we love.
We’d wanted to visit STARK for a long time, finally making the trip to Broadstairs to try it out – and it didn’t disappoint. Owned and run by chef Ben Crittenden and wife Sophie, this place is doing some seriously cool stuff in the kitchen, serving a frequently changing, seasonal six-course tasting menu of ‘good food, laid bare’. Cheers for dinner, guys; it surpassed even our expectations! If you haven’t been yet, get booking now…
Passionate about food? Advocate of craft beer? Lover of artisan spirits? Excited about all things wine? We have the job for you! We’re recruiting for full and part-time roles, offering competitive salaries, staff trips and incentives for enthusiastic, passionate people looking to take the next step in their career. A love for modern British cuisine, craft beers and wines is crucial, and Rosette/Michelin experience preferred, but not essential. Send your CV to email@example.com
The bees are loving our flowers on the farm at the moment, in time for honey harvest. We’ve also got a lot of sweetcorn rolling out, which we’ve included in our September menu’s Sweetcorn, Mushroom, Egg, and are psyched to be trying out as a dessert soon too…
What people are saying
Testimonial: Jamie Tandoh, The Bicycle Bakery, Tunbridge Wells
“I love the guys at The Small Holding! Before they opened, we were the first venue to host No Fixed Abode’s pop-ups with Will and Matt Devlin, who are both brilliant at what they do, with a talented, hardworking team supporting them. I’m not at all surprised by the success they’ve had so far, and can only see them going from strength to strength in the future.”
Duncan is our super-skilled chef de partie. Starting out front of house at The George & Dragon in Speldhurst, he soon developed a bug for cooking, moving to Thackeray’s in Tunbridge Wells as a commis chef, before working his way through the ranks. He was one of our first bookings on day one when we opened, and joined the team in October, having previously helped us out with some of our No Fixed Abode pop-ups. Since then, he’s taken to life at The Small Holding like a duck to water, and rocks it in the kitchen every day!
Who we’re loving
Lower Ladysden Farm in Goudhurst has been our go-to for seasonal fruit and vegetables for a long time – and for good reason. Their stuff is always the freshest and best, and complements the ingredients we grow perfectly. They do pick-your-own too, so swing by for a visit!
What we’re drinking
Matt’s beer of the month
General manager Matt is all about Curious Brewery’s Brut IPA (5.6% ABV). This refreshingly dry and effervescent beer uses Nelson Sauvin, Huell Melon and Simcoe hops to provide soft fruity notes of honeydew melon gooseberry and grapefruit. It’s available at the Small Holding bar now!
Sally’s wines of the month
Sommelier Sally has recently started working with Nekter Wines, who specialise in natural, biodynamic wines made with minimal intervention from Australia, California and South Africa. Some of our current favourites include Illimis from Elgin in South Africa, whose cooler climate has helped produce a chenin blanc that’s creamy, elegant, fresh, and one of the best in the country. Plus, Geyer Wine Co from Australia’s Barossa Valley are well worth a try – they focus on reviving and nurturing some of the region’s neglected vineyards, creating gems like their Seaside Cabernet Franc, on our wine list now.
What’s coming up
A Glorious Evening at Squerryes Court
On September 19, we’re returning to Squerryes in Westerham for their Celebration of Spring evening for members and guests from 7.30-11pm. We’ll be doing a five-course tasting menu, complete with wines from the family’s own private cellar, in the intimacy of the Court library.
Tunbridge Wells Food and Drink Festival
As part of Tunbridge Wells Food Month, we’ll be at Calverley Grounds on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 for Tunbridge Wells Food and Drink Festival! Catch Will cooking live on the demo stage, and check out some banging food and drink stalls from 11am-6pm.
Pilot Light Social
We can’t wait to welcome Pilot Light on September 23 for a very special fundraiser in support of this amazing charity. Started last year by Andrew Clarke of St Leonards and Doug Sanham of The Parade Room, it’s a cause that’s not only close to our hearts, but those of many other chefs and hospitality professionals we know too – which is why we’re also adding an extra £1 to each bill at the restaurant, which will go towards continuing the campaign’s worthy cause of changing the way people think and act about mental health in our trade.
Fuggles Kitchen Takeover
Also for Food Month, we’re taking over the kitchen at Fuggles Beer Café in Tunbridge Wells on September 29! From 12-7pm, we’ll be cooking up our squash bao bun, roast onion focaccia, crispy chicken wings, miso roast cod, pork taco and more, with beer and wine pairings to match. Bookings are being taken on a limited basis, and we’ll be serving walk-ins all day too – to book, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here.
RNLI Fish Supper
On October 22, we’re teaming up with Sankey’s Fishmongers for a five-course dinner in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The annual RNLI Fish Dinner is in its fifth year, supporting volunteer crews whose meals are interrupted – or left on the plate – when their pagers go off and they launch to save lives at sea. These guys are incredible, and we’re proud to be supporting them by raising much-needed funds on the night, to help keep their boats afloat and crews kitted out, while serving the best seafood from Sankey’s. Book here, priced £80 per person.
There’s still time…
Our Farm and Forage days continue on Wednesdays and Thursdays! Join Will on a tour of the farm, before foraging for some wild ingredients nearby, and enjoying a Half-Acre lunch afterwards (£145 per person – click here to book your place). On September 8, Will’s on the chef demo stage at 5pm for the inaugural Taste of Kent Food Festival at Bradbourne House in East Malling, and don’t forget to vote for us in this year’s Kent Life Food & Drink Awards as Chef of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, and Outstanding Customer Service by September 30.
Don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list below for our latest news and events, and book a table for your next visit by clicking here, emailing email@example.com, or calling 01892 890105!
© WILL AND MATT DEVLIN