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“Excellent” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden
Mersham-le-Hatch Village | Hythe Road A20, Mersham, Ashford TN25 6NH, England
+44 1233 501586
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Ranked #1 of 4 Restaurants in Mersham
Price range: $24 - $48
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic, Large groups
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Delivery, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Description: Located within the Mersham-le-Hatch business village in Kent, The Secret Garden is a relaxed and cosy country restaurant with views over a large Victorian walled garden. This restaurant is popular with locals, shoppers and weary motorists for leisurely lunches, and the kitchen here grows its own seasonal fruit and veggies as well as cut flowers and herbs. The bustling dining room is decorated with oak floor, wooden furniture and blackboard menus, and the historic garden is open to visitors. The restaurant also has a sunny terrace for al fresco dining, and a food hall stocked with local produce such as jams and cakes and wine and beer.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2012

We booked for a lunch to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary and we wasn't disappointed! The secret garden had been reccomended by my husbands bosses and we can't wait to go back! I myself work in hospitality and was blown away by the service received! Nothing was too much trouble.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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340 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Ashford, United Kingdom
1 review
“Delightful evening out!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2012

My family and I have been living in Ashford for over a year now, and we have experienced some of the "so-called" high-end pubs and restaurants within the area (not wanting to mention them alongside this review) and decided to try out the Secret Garden since it was so conveniently close to us and had heard mixed reports.

We rang early afternoon to make a reservation, which was dealt with very pleasantly. We were even offered a table on the terrace since it was a warm and sunny evening, a lovely touch!

When we arrived (down a long and beautiful driveway) we were greeted warmly and although we were early were seated promptly and courteously on the terrace in the lovely evening sun. Our drinks order was taken straight away, my husband and I both had the house Sauvignon Blanc and our daughter had a glass of lemonade. All came without delay and the wine was chilled to perfection (although the glasses did seem quite thick and antiquaited, but added to the quirkiness of this venue).

We ordered our meals, I ordered the baked trout starter followed by the chicken breast with sauteed potatoes and chorizo, my husband ordered the pork croisstante (unsure what it was but he felt adventurous) for starter and the Ribeye steak for main course, whilst our daughter ordered Fish, chips and peas.

We were shown into the restaurant because it had started to get chilly outside and we found soft fresh bread waiting for us on the table with olive oil and balsamic dip, delightful. Our starters arrived quickly (we were one of only 3 tables in at this time) and were amazing, particularly my husbands pork dish (which I couldn't resist having a bite or two of). The plates were cleared in good time and we were asked if we wanted more drinks, which we accepted graciously. My husband seemed to be in an awkward mood and asked for a Malbec by the glass even though he didn't see one on the wine list. A couple of minutes later the waitress came back with a bottle which she said they could offer by the glass. He was very happy!

The main courses took maybe 10 minutes at the tops to arrive and were equally delicious (my daughter polished off the mushrooms from my husbands fricasse sauce no problem at all) and we were all very pleased with the service. After we had finished every last morsel on our plates the waitress cleared them away and asked about desserts, which we were actually too full to manage but decided to have a look at the menu anyway. Needless to say we couldn't resist and succummed to the chocloate mousse and a selection of ice creams between us all. Again very scrummy!

The bill came to over £90 for the 3 of us but we felt that we would have paid much more (and have done for much lesser food and service at other venues in the area) and left a generous tip. The staff seemed more than happy for us to mosey around the gardens in between courses (which was great for keeping a precocious 10 year old girl happy) and we felt like friends visiting a country estate!

I have to say that I read many of the reviews for this place before we went and had some reservations about it, but without a doubt had one of the best dining experience in Kent this year and I don't know why this venue is rated so low. We shall definately be returning with friends and family in the future.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Faversham, United Kingdom
1 review
“Very Very Dissapointed”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

We booked Sunday Lunch at the Secret Garden as a treat for my elderly Mother who is not well enough to travel to our forthcoming wedding.

I wish I had checked Trip Advisor before booking!

On arrival we were, despite it being one of the hottest days of the summer shown to a table on the terrace without being asked if we would prefer to sit in the (empty restaurant) or the shaded front terrace. After much moving of chairs the three of us ended up sitting thigh by thigh to avoid the hot sun streaming under the inadequate parasol.

Pre lunch drinks arrived which were fine apart from my mother receiving a sparkling mineral water rather than the still one she had ordered necessitating us ordering a second one.
The menu was pretty uninspiring with lots of surcharged items including basic vegetables which is very off putting on a menu which is already costing nearly £23 per head excluding drinks.
We made our order of smoked Duck Breast (surcharged) Potted Crab (Surcharged) and a tomato and brie flan. After about 20 minutes the Duck and tomato and brie flan arrived along with a pork dish which had not been ordered. My fiancée’s correct starter turned up after another 10 minutes.
The crab was ok although served with a flaccid piece of bread when a crisp hot toast would have been much nicer, the Duck seemed ok but nothing special and the Tomato and Brie tart was pretty much tasteless.

Our plates were cleared and we waited for our main courses of Slow cooked Pork Belly and Roast Lamb, which arrived after about 30 minutes.
My pork belly was about two inches square and my mother’s was smaller! Crackling that did not crackle and slightly tough, it was served with a small amount of mustard mash and a (allegedly) cider gravy which was congealing unattractively on the plates. My Fiancée’s dish of roast lamb consisted of four slices of lamb sitting on 2 small roast potatoes. The “Seasonal vegetables” when they arrived consisted of a greasy stew of courgette (stewed to a pap) lumps of squash or marrow or pumpkin (we had no idea what it was as it had no discernible taste or clear appearance to give us a clue the only give away was the liberal amount of seeds floating in the bowl which enabled us to narrow it down to these three vegetables) and a few yellow peppers! The choice of “Seasonal Vegetables” did lead us to ponder which particular country this mix of vegetables were currently in season in but they in no way complimented the meals were were eating. To do that we would have had to have spent a further £7.50 on surcharged vegetables!

I had ordered a large glass of Pinot Grigio at £6.75 per glass and this duly arrived tepid! I called the waiter over and asked him to please change it for any wine he had correctly chilled. He returned 5 mins later with another glass of marginally colder wine but certainly not chilled, when I felt the glass and said it was not cold he told me it was a thick glass but the wine had come out of the back of the fridge! Losing the will to live and realising that wine chilled properly was not going to be accomplished I accepted it. It was not enjoyable and in retrospect I should not have been so English and should have sent it back again and asked for something else with ice in it.

After another long wait of we managed to order desserts these arrived after 20 minutes the cutlery arrived 10 minutes after this. The Raspberry sorbet was enjoyable, the chocolate mousse with rum ice cream and spiced oranges spoiled by the oranges being over spiced and so eradicating any other taste on the plate, the pannacotta with berries and honeycomb was fair but spoiled by the burnt tasting honeycomb.

When the waiter was clearing our table I asked if the restaurant had recently changed hands as we had eaten there in late 2011 and the food had been of a much better quality and though expensive was much better value for money, I pointed out that if you are charging nearly £7 for a glass of wine then at least chill it properly and serve it in a wine glass not a thick novelty glass more suited to cordials! Surprisingly we were told the restaurant had been under the same ownership since 2008 so I have no idea why or how standards have slipped so much.
The bill for this very average lunch came to £85.00 not including service charge…suffice to say we did not leave a tip.

Eastwell Manor do a set Sunday Lunch Menu for £25 for three courses, there are no surcharges (apart from the Cheese Board) and certainly none for vegetables!, the service is far better, you are treated like an honoured guest and made to feel really special. Oh and they are capable of chilling a glass of wine properly!

  • Visited September 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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Ashford, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“christmas season”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2012

went here with ex work mates. had never been here before. food was amazing!! very posh lol when it came out i thought i would still be hungry afterwards, but it was plenty!! had a lovely evening, great for christmas work do's. we went to the evening when it was £20 a head for 3 courses. soft drinks were quite pricy if i remember right but still worth going there. will def go back

Visited December 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“yummy yummy”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2012

Had a lovely quiet dinner for two with my husband and it was such a refreshing change to find a decent english menu with a chefs flare! A memorable pudding which was chocolate with a salted caramel sauce...innovative!
not a fortune to dine in too, we were pleasantly surprised.
to top it all, they also serve Chapel-Down wine and fizz, a local vineyard, with all produce from nearby.. the cherry on the top...we will be going back again!

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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