Places To Eat In Kent: No. 4, Wye

Black bowl of chorizo cooked in red wine.

I’ve felt for a while, since The Wife of Bath closed in Wye and Pick Up Pintxos in Folkestone had to shut down due to rising costs that East Kent has been lacking a good tapas / Spanish restaurant. It’s funny I should mention The Wife of Bath, then, because last week we were invited to try out a new restaurant that’s moved into it’s old space: No. 4 Wye.

The outside of No 4. in Wye.
The dining room at No. 4 Wye.

For those of you familiar with the building, lots is still the same: there is still a great bar when you come in to sit and have a pre or post-dinner drink (it’s the same space but now it feels a lot larger?), a dining room, but they’ve also added a speakeasy which is typically open for drinks and food, but which can also be booked out for private events. Also, because they’re no longer also operating a hotel on site, if you’re dining or drinking you’re allowed to park in the car park out back as well: I remember it being particularly galling when The Wife of Bath suddenly decided you were only allowed to park there if you were staying, rather than eating (even if no one was booked to stay in the rooms!)

Margarita in a glass rimmed with salt and garnished with a lime wheel.
Prawns with chilli and garlic in their shells garnished with micro coriander.

Anyway, enough with the comparisons because No.4 is excellent on it’s own merits. We started in the bar for drinks (when I discovered the house cocktail was blue I chickened out and ordered an excellent margarita instead…!) before moving into the dining room for a spread of tapas dishes.

To kick off my list of dishes you must order we’ve for the chilli and garlic prawns served with a charred lime, coriander, and sriracha mayo. Nothing revolutionary here, it’s a tried and tested combo but here they were done very well: fat, plump, and very generous on the punchy flavourings.

Next, we’ve got my stand out favourite from the menu which I’ll be heading back to No 4. when I’ve got a moment for specifically: the chorizo in red wine. Fat, plump, perfectly cooked chunks of chorizo are served with plenty of caramalised garlic pieces in a thick, sticky, rich and perfectly balanced sauce that coats the sausage pieces perfectly. A classic dish performed exceptionally well. It was just right for the two of us with five other dishes (No. 4 does 3 plates – great for the bar – for £25, 6 plates for a couple for £48 and 10 for a crowd for £79), but for a larger group order more than one of these!

Charred asparagus wrapped in parma ham on top of a puddle of romesco sauce.

I know I’ve already started gushing about these dishes, but seriously, we had a lovely dinner and even J who ‘does not like tapas’ wants to go back! Here we’ve got one of the new seasonal additions to the menu: roasted asparagus wrapped in parma ham with a beautiful and smoky romesco sauce. The asparagus was generously portioned and really held up to the excellent flavours of the ham, well balanced so all three of the elements could be properly enjoyed. We also mopped up the sauce with several other dishes on the table – if you’re getting this, perhaps get some bread for that purpose too?

Spanish tortilla on a blue plate topped with a tangle of pea shoots.

The final item on our love list was the chorizo tortilla, properly gooey in the middle but otherwise set with tender potatoes and a crisp outside, topped with a tangle of lightly wilted and dressed pea shoots, making them very much a part of the dish (one of my current pet peeves is pubs and restaurants who pile pea shoots onto everything on the menu as a garnish even when it has no relationship with the rest of the dish!)

Five venison bolognese fritters on tomato sauce topped with grated cheese.

The only dish that was a let down for us were the venison bolognese fritters with arrabiata sauce. There was nothing wrong with them individually, but they were just not as flavourful as everything else we tried, lacking some of the wow factor of the other plates: in retrospect ordering the salt and pepper squid with squid in aioli, the steamed mussels with chorizo, white wine cream and ciabatta, or the salted anchovies with salsa verde and ciabatta would have been a much better shout.

Blue stone bowl of mixed olives.

Our final dish were the warm olives with rosemary, garlic and lemon. Okay, so I’d call them more ‘mixed temperature’ olives but they otherwise had a lovely flavour and we ate a load: however, there is a limit to how many olives two people can eat (!) so unless you’re propping up the bar or in the speakeasy and you’re looking for a bar snack to linger over, I’d only order these if you’re a larger group. They are worth getting though, if you have enough people to eat them!

Panna cotta topped with coconut shavings with a scoop of sorbet in the background.
Sliced pineapple topped with passion fruit and toasted coconut with a scoop of sorbet in the background.

Moving onto our desserts, they were more of a general Mediterranean persuasion than the predominantly Spanish menu, but still very lovely. The White Chocolate Panna Cotta was thick (in a good way!), rich and creamy and came as well as with a scattering of toasted coconut and fennel pollen a perfect elderflower sorbet. The rum poached pineapple also packed a punch served with this time passion fruit alongside the coconut and a good passion fruit sorbet. Both lovely puddings at the end of the meal.

Now, before we go I need to talk to you about the wine list: the bottom of the post being the place to do it because we were having such a lovely dinner I forgot to photograph our glasses to create the natural point at which to talk about them! They’ve got a very small wine list, with my favourite option that everything except for the premium bottles of champagne and English sparkling are available by the glass. It’s also a very affordable list with a mix of international wines and local English ones. As I do every time I see it by the glass, I had an excellent couple of glasses of Chapel Down Kit’s Coty single estate chardonnay which was, as always, exceptional (and I don’t even usually like chardonnay!)

Thank you so much to everyone at No.4 for having us for dinner! You can book a table on their website here.