Fine Dining Spot Opens in Winchelsea
A much delayed new restaurant pays homage to a famous resident.
By Steven Short
The team at Winchelsea’s boutique, independent hotel, The Lodge, became masters of reinvention during the pandemic. Planning to rebrand and reopen the hotel’s restaurant in summer 2020, they had to adapt as the world closed down. “We opened as a shop for a while,” says manager Reuben Baverstock, “We were lucky because we could still get food from our suppliers, even when the supermarket shelves were getting empty”. Fast forward a year and Spike’s at The Lodge is now fully operational.
Chef Lee Cosson of Spike’s
As you can probably guess, the name is a nod to comedian Spike Milligan, who spent his last years in Winchelsea. The restaurant even has the seal of approval from the Milligan family – Reuben and his colleagues asked if it was OK to use Spike’s name.
Food at Spike’s is ‘casual fine dining’, with a seasonal menu developed by Lee Cosson. Lee previously headed up the kitchen at the acclaimed Gallivant restaurant and hotel in nearby Rye, so clearly knows his stuff. “We wanted someone who would take the restaurant and really make it their own,” says Reuben. “Lee’s really done that.” Dishes on the launch menu include small plates like ‘squid with kimchee and black sesame seeds’, and a ‘truffle rarebit with parma ham and rocket’. There are steaks and oysters, too, and large plates including ‘brown crab gnocchi’, ‘salt-baked beets with cep and pearl barley risotto and ricotta’, and a ‘Best of Local Fish’ dish – which as the name suggests is a fresh catch of whatever’s good that day, served with pink fir potatoes and samphire. Of the opening, Lee has said, “It’s good to be finally open serving our full menu, I’m looking forward to showing everyone what we’re about.”
“Everything is sourced locally, within about 12 miles, and of course, Lee knows all the best suppliers because he’s worked in the area so long, so we get the best, freshest ingredients,” says Reuben, adding that the plan is “Lee will change the menu three times a year.”
Refreshingly, book a table at Spike’s and they won’t tell you they’ll need it back 90 minutes after you’ve arrived – your table is yours until you want to go home. And, if you become a ‘Friend of Spike’s’ you could even be driven home in the hotel’s MPV. Join the friend’s membership club and you could be collected from home and dropped back off after your meal, free of charge, meaning no one needs to be designated driver.
• For more information visit: www.spikeswinchelsea.co.uk or call 01797 226211. Spike’s can be found at The Lodge, Hastings Road, Winchelsea TN36 4AD.
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