The Sportsman in Seasalter has been named the best gastropub in Britain for a fourth year at the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards.

The Shepherd Neame-owned pub, run by brothers Stephen and Phil Harris, picked up the title at an awards lunch on Monday, after receiving the most votes in an industry poll organised by the Morning Advertiser.

Hundreds of votes were cast to determine the top 50 by industry experts including food critics and writers, gastropub chefs, and other food influencers.

The Sportsman, which has held a Michelin star for 11 years, previously topped the list in 2015, 2016 and 2018. It has been recognised with numerous accolades in recent years, including winning first place in the 2017 UK National Restaurant Awards.

Head chef, Stephen Harris, takes full advantage of the history and agriculture of the pub’s rural location, near the seaside town of Whitstable, churning his own butter, making his own salt, baking his own bread, and using only the finest, freshest produce from local farms and fishermen.

Phil Harris said: “We are delighted that the hard work of our staff has been recognised with this accolade. We asked two of our chefs, Joe McMahon and Pete Cribbin, to attend the event on our behalf, as this is something to be shared by the whole team. Their talent, dedication and passion for their work is key to The Sportsman’s success.”

‘Our team is doing a great job’

The Compasses Inn in Crundale was also named in the list for a third year running, taking 21st place. Licensees Donna and Rob Taylor took over the Shepherd Neame pub in 2012 and since then it has received numerous awards, including a Michelin bib gourmand, two prestigious AA Rosettes, and winning best food pub at last year’s Great British Pub Awards.

Donna said: “We are ecstatic to again be included in this list, as it is compiled and voted for by our peers. To be included among such a high calibre of establishments is confirmation that our team is doing a great job and people like what we do!”

It was also announced this week that the King’s Head in Wye is one of three pubs shortlisted for Kent dining pub of the year in the Taste of Kent Awards 2019.

The Shepherd Neame pub, run by licensees Scott Richardson and Mark Lightford, was shortlisted for the award two years ago, and other recent accolades include Muddy Stilettos best casual dining pub 2016 and Kent Life pub of the year 2017.

Richardson said: “We’re delighted to be shortlisted for this award, and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted, along with special thanks for our hard-working team who have made this possible. We’d be over the moon to lift the trophy — it would mean so much to all our staff and customers.”

The winner will be announced on March 7 at the Kent Event Centre, in Maidstone.

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