The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

James Cochran on Whitstable

Food insiders reveal their neighbourh­ood favourites

- As told to Tomé Morrissy-Swan

By the age of 13, James Cochran was already helping out at the legendary Wheelers Oyster Bar, where he went on to learn his trade in the home of traditiona­l British seafood. Now he owns his own place, 12:51 in London, but can see why Whitstable, where he was brought up, has become a popular destinatio­n for food lovers. For Cochran, many of the town’s best food spots predate the influx, such as the Old Neptune pub. Here’s where any self-respecting day tripper should stop off…

WHEELERS OYSTER BAR

8 High Street, Whitstable CT5 1BQ ; wheelersoy­sterbar.com

“The restaurant opened in 1856 and has gone through generation­s of the same family. It’s full of character, very small and quaint; like being in your grandparen­ts’ dining room, with antiquitie­s and local memorabili­a all over the place. You can get takeaway classics such as whelks, cockles and lobsters, while the dine-in restaurant is purely about fish, and some of the standouts are the crab and prawn tartlets and the crab cakes.”

THE OLD NEPTUNE

Marine Terrace, Whitstable, Kent

CT5 1EJ; thepubonth­ebeach.co.uk

“An institutio­n. It used to be a rock’n’roll pub in the 1980s, and the Krays used to go there. Have a few pints there on the beach, maybe go for a dip, or watch the beautiful sunsets. They do great beers, icluding Whitstable Bay Brewery’s pale ale and blonde lager.”

VC JONES

25 Harbour Street, Whitstable CT5 1AH; vcjones.co.uk

“The best chippy in town: it’s old-school and has lots of charm. They still fry in lard, which has more flavour, and you can still get scraps. The queues are always down the road. I go for cod or skate with chips, curry sauce, mushy peas and loads of vinegar.”

CHAMPS BAKERY

19 Oxford Street, Whitstable CT5 1DB; 01227 273189

“This traditiona­l bakery has been there for about 60 years. It does all the classics like Chelsea buns, Danish pastries and egg and cress rolls. I used to go on a Friday after school to pick up a pastry. They stick to their traditions and haven’t inflated the prices considerin­g how Whitstable has changed.”

THE OFFY

5 High Street, Whitstable CT5 1AP; theoffy.co.uk

“A great little shop that supports local produce, and you get some right characters in there. I love the Straight Outta Whitstable beer from The Canterbury Ales, and they do loads of lagers and ciders too, plus a good range of local spirits and English sparkling wines.”

 ??  ?? Shingle life: the Old Neptune on Whitstable beach
Shingle life: the Old Neptune on Whitstable beach
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 ??  ?? i Wheelers Oyster Bar is ‘like your grandparen­ts’ dining room’
i Wheelers Oyster Bar is ‘like your grandparen­ts’ dining room’

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