The highly-talented and experienced team has taken over the reins at The Marquis, a 5-star fine-dining ‘restaurant with rooms’ in Kent’s picturesque Alkham Valley. It’s led by general manager David Harris and head chef Andrew ‘Drew’ King.
They have wasted no time in making their mark since the turn of the year, with the introduction of new menus, innovations in customer service, a dynamic approach to promotions and marketing and a new website to showcase the award-winning property to its clients in the corporate and business travel sector.
Team leader David Harris has held a variety of roles in the hotel, catering and hospitality sector for nearly 18 years. Before joining The Marquis he was food and beverage manager at Eastwell Manor Hotel, Golf and Spa in Ashford and has also worked in hotels, restaurants and golf clubs in Chester, Norfolk and across his native Kent.
Ashford-born Drew has a wealth of experience gained from working in some of the top kitchens in the UK. These include the Michelin-starred Lucknam Park Hotel in Bath, the Michelin-starred Reads in Faversham, a stylish British gastro-pub in fashionable Chelsea plus several four-star Kent hotels famed for their fine cuisine.
David, a self-confessed fitness fan who competes in triathlons, wants The Marquis to set a scorching pace when it comes to promoting itself to customers both old and new. “We are adopting an innovative approach to engaging with customers via email promotions and web-based initiatives to drive business. Our new website has also helped to focus attention on our core strengths,” says David.
“We will also be introducing an exciting new concept called Chef’s Table, which will be a highly personalised dining experience for small groups of diners featuring a live video link with the kitchen, a designated team member looking after you all night, and an opportunity to have a chat and a drink with Drew after the meal.”
David adds: “Of course what has set The Marquis aside from others is our exceptional food and that remains at the heart of what we offer. And with the arrival of Drew we are fortunate to have a chef who has the skill, flair and imagination to build on our excellent reputation. Supported by his dedicated kitchen brigade, Drew is certain to take The Marquis to a new level.”
Drew said: “My style is modern British cuisine and I’m enjoying introducing my own take on some classic dishes at The Marquis. I like to develop close relationships with suppliers that help to give us the edge when it comes to delivering the very best ingredients to our customers.
“For example, I will get a text during the night from a local fish supplier advising me of the latest catch coming in on their boat and that will be served to customers the next day. We are also going to make more use of our own kitchen garden to ensure we serve the freshest vegetables possible.”
Under Drew’s guidance, a new six-strong kitchen brigade has been appointed in recent months.
Together they are looking to build on The Marquis’ reputation for quality which has already earned a number of accolades, including Restaurant of the Year in the 2012 Taste of Kent Awards and a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence in 2013 and 2014. It holds 2 AA rosettes and is also featured in The Good Hotel Guide.
The quality dining experience at The Marquis is constantly evolving, with innovative new menus packed with robust, fresh flavours. Drew recently introduced a Kentish Lunch Menu, to complement the restaurant’s tasting, a la carte and afternoon tea menus.
The Marquis offers a comprehensive list of wines carefully selected from around the world, including a crisp dry sparkling wine produced exclusively for the restaurant blended from grapes grown in its own vineyard a short stroll away. Chalksole Vintage Reserve, produced from grapes grown at Chalksole Vineyard, is blended and bottled by Chapel Down Winery. Perhaps the closest British vineyard to France, it comprises five acres of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes. Guests are welcome to take a stroll among the vines during their stay.
Since it opened in 2008, The Marquis has been at the forefront of the ‘restaurant with rooms’ concept in Kent. David said: “The ‘restaurant with rooms’ idea is one which lovers of fine food and wine continue to embrace warmly. Great food needs great wine and diners come here from far and wide to be able to enjoy both without having to worry about getting home afterwards. Knowing that a good night’s sleep is just a few steps away at the end of their meal is very appealing.”
As well as earning plaudits for its food, The Marquis has attracted praise for its luxurious accommodation – 10 beautiful, individually designed bedrooms together with two vineyard cottages – gaining an AA 5 Gold Star rating in the ‘Restaurant with Rooms’ category.
Situated just 10 minutes from the Channel Tunnel and Dover’s port and cruise terminal, The Marquis is popular with UK and overseas travellers looking for a quality ‘pit stop’ on the way to or returning from the Continent. It is also an ideal base from which to explore ‘White Cliffs Country’ and Kent’s leading attractions, including Dover Castle and Canterbury Cathedral.