Because there’s edible flora everywhere, lavished and scattered with verdurous aplomb. And petals, lots of pretty petals in the gaudiest of hues.
Herbs too, fistfuls of herbs, but not your bog-standard basils and parsleys, rather romantically monikered meadowsweet, lovage, chervil and calamint. Throw in a few macho coastal weeds – oyster leaf and sea aster – foraged, of course, and you have a menu that’s as much botanical tract as it is a list of our lunch.
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The Grove, Pluckley, Kent Rating: We don’t make it to the Screaming Woods, or Fright Corner, despite their being in easy chain-rattling distance from lunch.
Nor do we bump into the Red Lady, ghostly monk, phantom highwayman or miserable gypsy.
Octopus tentacles, charred on the outside, soft within, perch atop fresh peas, broad beans and mint. It melds the rich with the verdant, a cephalopod Rite of Spring.
There are ricotta dumplings, so light you fear they’ll float away, in a garlicky sauce with a whisper of chervil, and sharp lactic bite.
The other is smeared with sesame labneh, and curls of pickled radish and still more blossoms, the Middle East via way of Chelsea Physic Garden.