We first heard of The Chequers Inn in Loose when flicking through Kent Life one day, so when it came to Beards birthday (who is Beardless here), we thought it a good idea to go for a stompy walk followed by a spot of lunch somewhere a bit different. The Chequers Inn offers all of this for the perfect family day out. It is a magical little find.
So, where is Loose? It’s just outside Maidstone, and it’s a charming little village with lots of friendly people and beautiful countryside to get the kids out in the air.
Beard decided the best course of action was to have a cheeky beer before our walk and find out the best route from The Chequers Inn. Personally, I thought this was an excuse to have a pint, but luckily we did nip in there because the restaurant was jam-packed! There were no tables inside or outside, and there were queues to be seated. Stupidly, we hadn’t booked a table and thought we could just stroll in on a Sunday lunchtime.
So instead, we booked a table for “lunch” at the only available time slot of 4pm. My advice would be; to avoid disappointment, make sure you book in advance as this place is popular – very popular and for VERY good reason.
Coming out of the pub, after booking a table, we walk along the river, where the kids promptly kick off their shoes (as do I) and join the other children paddling. The dog runs up the hill chasing birds and frolicking with a spaniel, and we follow the meandering pathway hand in hand. Seriously, it’s dreamy.
Getting to the end of the path, you can stroll across the field, down little alleyways and tiny country roads looking at the quaint cottages on one side and rolling hills on the other. We walked for a good 3 hours, stopping every now and then to take in the view, watch the cows or climb a tree.
It was a relaxing walk with our puppy, Ernie, and such a lovely way to spend a few hours together in the great outdoors. But now, after a stompy walk, it’s time for a large Merlot, a coffee and some pub grub.
The first thing we notice when entering the restaurant is this message:
Fully flexible Kids Menu, you tell us what they want, and we will make it for you. Or you can choose from this menu, and we will do a smaller portion for half the price.
I love this place already.
A lovely lady shows us our reserved table nestled in the corner of the pub. The menu has a wide variety from whitebait to pate and camembert starters, through to the extensive mains with enormous choices of traditional British cuisine; fish, pies, steaks, burgers, fajita’s, pasta options, vegetarian, sandwiches and wraps, salads, a substantial gluten-free menu and of course the obligatory Sunday roast option – you will be spoilt for choice – no exaggeration, it took us 30 minutes to finally decide what we wanted to eat!
The boys shared a camembert starter which sparked our food envy. The warm homemade bread smelled divine, and the hot gooey cheese just called for both myself and Beard to dive in before it had even landed on the table! Thank goodness we ordered the full-size version rather than a half portion because they devoured it in seconds. Plus, we had a couple of minuscule dunks!!!
Next, Beards Chicken pate arrived. I’m not a fan of pate, so I steered clear of this, but the onion chutney was heavenly, and Beard said the pate was one of the best. High praise indeed. Now I wish I had ordered a starter… I officially have food envy.
For the main course, the kids went crazy and decided to share a sirloin steak. Surprisingly, our lovely waitress happily said the chef would choose one of the more significant cuts for them and halve it before cooking so that Josh can have his just how he likes it; blue and still mooing, and Finn can have it his way; burnt to a cinder. And they got each steak perfect, exactly how they like it.
Beard, after toying with “having a steak, or maybe a pie, perhaps a roast as its Sunday, although I quite fancy the mussels, I bet their fish and chips are good…” And so he went on… Eventually, he went with an unusual choice for him, pork wellington. Pork fillet wrapped in black pudding, fried onions, parma ham, and puff pastry, served with mashed potato (although he swapped this for roasties), cabbage and bacon in a cider gravy. Are you drooling yet? Beard said it was utterly delicious.
I opted for the curry of the day, a Balti. It was a tad hotter than I would typically make my own at home, but the flavours had it all going on. It was aromatic with fluffy rice and a crunchy popadom. In fact, two popadoms, because once my tastebuds had adjusted to the spice, I had to scoop up the remaining sauce and asked for more! Sadly, we were all too stuffed for a pudding, but the next time we go, we are SO making room for it.
If you’re looking for a fabulous place to eat, a fabulous place to walk, a fabulous afternoon of simply feeling content with the things in life that really make you smile, get yourself down to Loose and head into The Chequers Inn. But don’t forget to book! You won’t be disappointed.