What we’re cooking

Recipe: The Small Holding Pork Taco

Feeds 12

4 cloves garlic
12 dried chillies
6 ripe plum tomatoes
1 onion, diced
2 sprigs thyme
1 tsp sea salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 tbsp smoked paprika
260ml rapeseed oil
1 pork shoulder, on the bone
1 bunch coriander, chopped (to garnish)
1 lime (to garnish)
Taco shells


  • The day before cooking, blitz the garlic, chillies, tomatoes, onion, thyme, salt, pepper, paprika and rapeseed oil in a blender
  • Marinate the meat, pop it on a tray, cover in clingfilm and put in the fridge overnight
  • The next day, set your oven to 120°C, chuck the pork in, and cook for a good 6-8 hours, until the skin goes really crispy. Once cooked, shred up the meat and mix with the juices
  • Grab your taco shells, chuck some pork in and pile it up, before garnishing with your coriander and a squeeze of lime, then jazz it up with some sour cream or guacamole if you like – make sure you eat with a Corona or margarita in the sunshine!

August menu

Cuttlefish, Cauliflower, Wild Garlic
Courgette, Yoghurt, Chilli
Liver, Onion, Bacon
Trout, Cucumber, Horseradish
Oyster, Kale, Purslane
Tomato, Ricotta, Yarrow
Mutton, Lettuce, Potato
Buttermilk, Bay, Blackcurrant
Meadowsweet, Raspberry, Apricot
Cherry, Fennel, Woodruff

Four-glass wine pairing £40
Six-glass wine pairing £60

Slice of Kent cookbook

David Pearce’s Slice of Kent book is out now and available to buy at The Small Holding! It’s £20 and features over 50 recipes from more than 20 of the county’s top chefs, restaurants and producers – including yours truly. Pop in to pick up a signed copy, and find out how to make our braised lamb shoulder with lamb broth and a milk stout rarebit at home…

Stories from the menu: Egg, Oats, Lovage

How this dish came to be is really cool, and a great example of something evolving on our menu. It started out as a black pudding and poached egg salad with lovage dressing, which chef Harry made for us to try. From there, we used suet fat to make pan-fried white pudding instead, then chopped up some gem lettuces that had been preserved in a dill salt brine solution. The lovage dressing was replaced with a rich duck egg mayonnaise with lovage mixed through it, and the whole thing was topped with grated cured duck egg. We love this one, which began as just a nice bowl of tastiness, and then developed into something more refined.

What’s been happening

Summer food fests

July was an amazing month for us: Not only did the team smash it with our pork tacos, squash bao buns and BBQ South Coast mackerel at Pub in the Park, but Will did not one, but two live butchery demos, having already been onstage at Kent County Show the weekend before. Both events were a lot of fun, plus we got to meet and hang out with some of our industry heroes, such as Tom Kerridge, Daniel Clifford and The Tanner Brothers – all top chefs and good lads to boot. Cheers to everyone who came to eat and visit, and to all our friends and family for helping out!

Eating out

We also went for a meal at Core in Notting Hill, which surpassed our expectations. Clare Smyth is an incredible chef, whose ethos of using natural, sustainable artisan food from the UK’s most dedicated farmers and producers is right up our street. The restaurant has two Michelin stars and five AA Rosettes, so its track record pretty much speaks for itself. We urge you to book a table now!

What’s growing

Speaking of farms, ours is looking spot-on at the minute, with loads of tomatoes and courgettes coming along nicely. We’ve added 10 new Berkshire pigs to our herd too, which we brought in from The Cherry Pie Farm in Lewes, doubling our overall count to 20 in total – that’s a hell of a lot of pork…

What people are saying

Testimonial: Chef Scott Goss, Verdigris, Tonbridge

“Well, what can I say about the Small Holding team? What a brilliant bunch of people to be around – focused, driven, hardworking, and making the dream a reality. Leading by example, they’re showing us all that with the right vision and staff, anything is possible. It’s always a pleasure to work with Will at charity events; this is a young local chef at the top of his game, and an all-round great guy. There’s no doubt in my mind that this lot will go straight to the top.”

Read all about it…

You may have seen us in some pretty well-known magazines and newspapers recently. Times Weekend’s list of the 30 best places for al fresco dining featured our farm and restaurant, while Period Living, Sainsbury’s and Delicious have all given some fantastic write-ups. Thanks for the kind words, guys – much appreciated!

The Small Holding food, wine, farm and staff

L-R: Egg, Oats, Lovage; Schloss Vollrads; Farm and Forage; Matt Devlin

Who’s serving

Matt is our wicked general manager. He organises every service, puts together every rota, and makes sure the day-to-day operations run smoothly. When Will’s busy in the kitchen, Matt looks after everything in the restaurant, from managing our front of house team, to innovating with exciting new beers, spirits and cocktails behind the bar. He and Will have been working together since 2007 at the likes of Sankey’s and The Windmill, launching our No Fixed Abode pop-ups in 2017, and The Small Holding the following year. He’s been rocking it in pubs and restaurants for over a decade, and we don’t know what we’d do without him!

Who we’re loving

Cellar Head Brewing Company have been with us since the beginning. We’ve got two of their beers on at the bar: their Festival Pale, which is a banging, thirst-quenching pale ale that’s light and fizzy for summer, with aromas of tangerine and a marmalade flavour, and their Session Pale Ale, a proper old-school pale. Their taproom is just up the road in Flimwell, where they do brewery walks, talks and tours – if you haven’t been, go now!

What we’re drinking

Matt’s cocktail of the month

GM Matt is all about our Raspberry Bellini at the moment. This cocktail is made using fresh, seasonal Kentish raspberries from Lower Ladysden Farm in Goudhurst, and English sparkling wine from Squerryes in Westerham. It’s sweet, refreshing and seriously tasty, so come and get it at the Small Holding bar!

A wine flight of a lifetime

Our ‘wine geek’ and sommelier Sally was recently invited on a trip through some of Germany’s key winemaking regions. Joining Liberty Wines and Wines of Germany, she and five fellow sommeliers and retailers made their way through four vineyards and three regions in less than 36 hours, meeting the winemakers, learning about the viticulture, and sampling some of the estates’ leading bottles, including Schloss Vollrads, Axel Pauly, Dreissigacker and Maximin Grünhaus – needless to say, we were all very jealous! Discover some of her recommendations below…

Sally’s wines of the month

From her journey, Sally walked away with three favourite wines: Axel Pauly’s Weißburgunder is a light, juicy summer red, similar in style to a pinot noir, whereas their Generations 2018 is limey, slatey and minerally, with a hint of sweetness but still very dry, which Sally compares to ‘biting into the Riesling berry’. Finally, Schloss Vollrads’ Auslese 2010 is a dessert wine that goes brilliantly with a nice cheeseboard – particularly blue cheeses!

What’s coming up

Farm and Forage

We’ve got even more going on in August, as our Farm and Forage days (recently seen in Kent Life magazine) continue to go from strength to strength. If you’ve not been on a tour of our farm and a forage through the local hedgerows with Will, then enjoyed one of our five-course Half Acre lunches, you’re missing out! Book now here, priced £145 per person.

PX+ Festival

We can’t wait for this year’s PX+ from August 17-19. Will is going to be cooking alongside fellow chefs, farmers, restaurants and more, in a creative, collaborative weekend of over 200 talks, masterclasses and dining experiences celebrating our industry. It’s going to be a doozy…

Kent Life Food & Drink Awards

It’s that time of year again, as voting is now open for the Kent Life Food & Drink Awards 2019! If you’ve dined with us recently and enjoyed the experience, don’t forget to give us a nod for Chef of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, and Outstanding Customer Service by the closing date of Monday September 30. You can cast your votes now by clicking here.

Olive Chef Awards

Like what we’re doing? Then it would be awesome if you could vote for us in the Olive Chef Awards 2019! This is the second year of Olive Magazine’s push to recognise the UK’s ‘unheralded chefs’ who are doing something different under the radar, by celebrating the people behind the restaurants. Head here to vote for us now in the Sustainable Star, Innovator and Small but Mighty categories – entries close on Sunday September 1, so get clicking!

Still to come…

There’s lots more to look forward to later in the year at The Small Holding. On Sunday September 8, Will takes to the stage for the Taste of Kent Food Festival at Bradbourne House in East Malling, and will be joining the guys at Fuggles Beer Café for a beer matching dinner on Sunday September 29, as part of Tunbridge Wells Food Month. And with Tunbridge Wells Food and Drink Festival on Saturday September 21 and Sunday September 22, the launch of our Christmas menus, and New York trips to Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park and Dan Barber’s Blue Hill Farm in October, in addition to René Redzepi’s Noma in Copenhagen in November, we’ve got a fair bit on our plate…

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