Wonderfully picturesque pub in Kent with charming service and rooms to stay in if needed.
The Woolpack Inn is one of the recommended places to stay should you be going to Gusbourne vineyard near Rye in Kent (a very recommended experience whilst I am at it). The Woolpack is utterly alluring from first glance to staying in their very nice rooms. It is a very old building so I would also say the stairs are not for those with any kind of mobility issues as even we had to climb down the stairs backwards, holding on to three points of contact at all times as it was that steep. The food is comfort food as one can expect with some good options, most of which was a pleasure, but with a few things that could be tighter in execution. Thankfully, we were all very hungry and the fact that the kitchen is open from very early evening was superb with all plates finished.
The liver parfait had good liver flavour and held together well, but slightly course to what I was expecting and not quite the silky smooth liver parfait that can be seen at The Fordwich Arms or The Bridge Arms by Daniel Smith. The Prawn cocktail had Marie Rose sauce that was a little too thin and watery for my preference and I do believe could have been heightened with some more imagination and perhaps better prawns as well.
The Pasta meatballs were flavoured well with good spice content, but the pasta arrived a little cold which was noticed by the younger diners who also gave a resounding thumbs up to the Chicken salad in its refreshingly different way to have in breadcrumb form with nicely, tender chicken and superb, freshly made sour dough croutons. Ultimately it was a good Caesar dish with restrained levels of the dressing. The steak was a welcome dish, nice and tender and with a superb peppercorn sauce that was not too wildly peppery and watery as it can be at so many venues.
The dessert of Apple & Raspberry Crumble was ok, but sadly the crumble was quite dry and powdery and did not have the glory of the buttery, cooked crumble that is its whole point. The filling was quite tart as well so personally I would try and soften that however possible, but all was aided by the vanilla ice cream melting in to it to assist with the filling. The custard was pleasing, but a little generic and ‘out of the packet’ perhaps. The Ice creams were not the greatest in general, but the strawberry was reportedly very good.
Breakfast included a lovely sour dough, avocado, egg and bacon choice with lovely mustard dressing drizzle. The pancakes were also very good. Continental offerings were provided to the other guests and presented outside their room in bags as the other option. I would strongly recommend dropping by and / or staying here if visiting Gusbourne Vineyard but also popping in if nearby even if not staying, at the very least for a drink on the marvellous terrace area outside. If the kitchen had a little more polish on the areas mentioned above (which will be fairly straightforward to bolster), this will be one of the nicest gems in Kent.
Food Grade: 59%