I first came across The Castle Hotel in Eynsford after a very good friend of mine mentioned that she had an amazing meal there and had noticed an incredible selection of cheeseboards on offer. Mention cheese to me and I am there.
But it’s not just cheese that The Castle do well at, as we found out when five of us went on what must have been a very busy Mothering Sunday (I managed to get the very last table of the day when I rang up way in advance). As you walk through the door you are greeted with wafts of the most incredible smells, making you instantly excited to eat and most importantly you are welcomed with lots of smiles and warm hellos from a really great team of staff.
Our table wasn’t quite ready when we arrived but that was fine as the bar area has plenty of seating where we were able to have a pre-dinner drink. Given my current obsession with all things martini I went for the French martini – which although took the bar staff quite a while to make, was a very good martini even though I object very strongly to all the pink dust and freeze dried fruit on the top – very unnecessary! My Father & Brother in law were very pleased with their selection of ales – I’ll take their word for it as these things matter, apparently.
Going through to the dining room led us to a really great space with lovely spacious tables that aren’t too closely squashed together and even though there were lots of people there it wasn’t too loud or echoey.
Menus were presented and while there is usually a good selection to choose from, as it was a Sunday they only do roast dinners as mains – four meats to choose from (gammon, beef, lamb and chicken). They also have a vegetarian and vegan roast option as well which is good to see. This suited us fine although I do think just one fish dish as an option would be appreciated.
Starter selection was good and as soon as I saw the rather retro cheese fondue there was nothing else that would do for me. As it turned out the portion size of the fondue meant that all 5 of us shared it and there was plenty to go around. Served in its own fondue pot with bread and chunks of delicious, tender, homemade brown sugar ham, it was the starter of my dreams (although my arteries feel clogged thinking about it). There’s also something rather lovely about everyone around the table tucking in to one starter together. It was great – bring back fondues is what I say, the world would be more harmonious if we did.
There was a bit of a wait for our mains, but we were the last sitting on what had clearly been a busy Sunday for them, we had lots of wine and the food was worth the wait. Huge portions (my BIL went for the large serving size and it was enormous) of homemade, good quality, good food. I went for the beef and although I do prefer my beef served pinker it was lovely and tender. Crispy roast potatoes, huge Yorkshire puddings and the most incredible gravy I’ve had in the long time – yes I could have swam in it.
I also really enjoyed the roasted beetroot, swede, carrots and spinach they served which had the slightest hint of garlic. My only criticism, and it’s a small one at that, was that my cauliflower cheese was not particularly warm and could have definitely done with a bit of mustard in the sauce to help it along it was verging on a bit bland.
But what a great meal. We were all too full for desserts although my eyes gazed longingly at the aforementioned cheeseboards with carafes of port. Next time we’ve decided we will go for a nice long walk (there are some great ones around Eynsford) and then finish up there.
The bill came to £150.00 which included 2 bottles of wine and 4 pints of beer. For 5 people I really don’t think this is bad – I’ve paid more for less.
The Castle isn’t too fancy although it is verging on gastropub territory, it’s a really good little local pub serving great food, at a fair price, by a rather lovely team of friendly staff.
The Castle Hotel, High Street, Eynsford.