A review of Marina Fountain

I caught up with chef Rupert Walton last Saturday over a couple of his small plates: silky homemade fig leaf ricotta with peas, asparagus and a deliciously sharp lemon dressing as well as braised pork cheeks in crunchy panko* coats resting on a spicy ketchup. The menu reads like it was devised by a man who knows his crowd. You can make a load of pals like this! 

PICTURE: Arno Maasdorp

There were seventeen items on the menu all priced not far from the £5 mark. Portions are generous and plated with confidence. Calamari rings, sausage rolls and half pints of prawns sit very comfortably beside pearl barley risotto and purple sprouting broccoli, flaked almonds with Ximenez dressing to mention but a few. Talk soon turns to plans for fire. The pub has an amazing garden to the rear, perfect for his summer BBQ dreams. Roo’s excitement is a delight as he rattles through some of the mouthwatering dishes he has planned for the outdoor kitchen. I’ll keep you posted.

I get the strong impression that when spending time away from the stove he is never far from food as he remembers to book a table for dinner that evening. 

Alongside the food offering Marina Fountain has a glorious wine list to continue what they started at Borough Wines before taking on the pub. The back bar is stocked with a wide selection of spirits all in sparkling bottles winking for attention. Live music and DJs are top drawer around here, keep an eye out for listings of who’s on. 

Just before I head out I manage to pin Rupert down to answer my five questions over a taste of his favourite tipple; he kindly obliged before the kitchen calls him to magic up a glorious cake for a fellow chef celebrating his birthday in the pub. Always a very good sign. Roll on summer!

Five questions
Top ingredient: Carrots
What do you do on your day off? Foraging walks
Favourite cooking: Curry, always!
Holiday destination: Italy
Tipple of choice: Vermouth, soda and a slice of orange

* panko: Japanese breadcrumbs 

• The Marina Fountain, 26 Cave Road, St Leonards on Sea.
Telephone 01424 446 354.

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