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Dering Arms, Pluckley

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user reviews of the Dering Arms, Pluckley

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

This fantastic-looking pub sits next to Pluckley station. Both the exterior and interior feel like a country mansion. The prices make it even more realistic. This was our first Kent pub of the day and I was left fearing for my wallet. But the high-ceilinged rooms inside do create a good impression. Only one real ale was on - Goachers Dering Ale. There are a number of ciders in bottles. Staff were friendly enough. Food looked nice. But I dread to think how expensive that was. There is a small garden to the side. Beware the limited opening hours on a Sunday (it closes at 3 or 4pm).
blue_scrumpy - 31 Aug 2015 14:27
A lovely medieval looking pub with lovely hunting decor and a nice pint of the in-house ale, Dering ale. The landlord was nice and freindly and the log fire was much appreciated during our winter cycle ride
Buster_M - 24 Jan 2013 15:02
ate here tonight, very much enjoyed ourselves in a marvellous 'old world' setting with hunting paraphernalia.

Christian, the barman and waiter was knowledgable friendly & entertaining.

The food was very tasty, the presentation agreeable, yes there is room for improvement if your super critical (which we try not to be) but there are definitely great flavours here, served in a friendly relaxed atmosphere.

I enjoyed a pint of house Goachers at a perfect temperature and creamy consistency whilst my friends enjoyed a delightful bottle of reasonable vintage french red.

For the quality and setting, we didn't flinch at the bill as it certainly wasn't unreasonable.
raleighboy - 4 Jan 2011 03:19
Please don't be put off by the food prices. The restaurant has a very good fish menu which is excellent, original and well presented. Find another local if all you want is cheap pub grub!! We have eaten there many times and never been disappointed. The comments about it being cliquey have some merit especially when it's quiet and you may find yourself amongst a small group of regulars but I'm not sure what the landlord can do about this. But don't be too put off - it's not the Slaughtered Lamb!! Overall this is a quiet village pub selling good beer, good wine and good food. It's a classic old -fashioned pub which is fast disappearing in this land of ours so I ask you to give it a try.
privateersman - 23 Nov 2010 22:26
I'm afraid I have to agree with the other reviewers who found this pub cliquey and unwelcoming. It's a shame as it's a real character pub, located next to a station and in lovely countryside. The last time I came here, the landlord snapped at me to 'either come in or go away' because I was waiting by the door while my friends scraped the mud off their boots (I was in shoes and socks myself). Yesterday the same man laughed at my friend and me when we expressed disappointment that we would be waiting on the train platform for 50 minutes as they were closed 'until Tuesday' (it was Sunday). And yes, he and the other staff were all sitting outside enjoying drinks and the evening sunshine. A small amount of apology would have gone a long way in not making us feel like terrible people for wanting to buy some beer off them.
KathS - 13 Sep 2010 15:31
Stopped by for a quick pint midst a country walk. Beautiful historical hunting lodge. Tables outside to enjoy the weather. Friendly staff & clientele & does a decent pint of ale. Hot spot for classic car watching.
gooey - 18 Apr 2010 17:40
Ummm - difficult one this. I loved the food - excellent quality and very well presented. Not cheap but i think hideously expensive is an exageration. Not really a drinking pub - small bars and very loacl clientele - it felt a bit cliquey and as an outsider I felt like an intruder in the bar. Not so in the restaurant where we were looked after very well. Dering Ale was excellent even if the atmosphere (perhaps it was me) spoilt it slightly. Can only suggest this is is a place you have to try for yourself and if you are after great food it is has got to be on your list.
Snowy3uk - 14 Jan 2010 17:01
hideously expensive food
Gipsykid72 - 24 Dec 2008 10:33
I find the confusion regarding this excellent pub-restaurant odd. Those of you with long memories will remember the term 'pub-restaurant' as distinct from the gastropub (ghastly term) in that this place has a bar area and bar menu, where it is more than acceptable to just have a jar and a separate restaurant area.

Having used both, I find the whole operation very keenly priced for the quality. The fish cooking is exceptional. The bar menu is very good indeed and everything is freshly prepared.

The Goachers ale is absolutely first class (I have to say, I prefer pubs serving one beer well than 4-10 beers ok-ish).

An astonishingly good pub-restaurant that will be whatever you wish it to be - a dozy afternoon pint-stop, quick-bite emporium, or even top-rate fish restaurant.
jesusjohn - 18 Aug 2008 11:22
Thought I'd give the place another chance... It's not so much a pub as a hotel. It probably does quite a bit of passing trade from its railway station location, and on the plus side it does have itís own ale brewed especially for the place. On the other hand it has no other ales. Whilst the place is very picturesque from the outside, the beer garden is on the small side.
We didnít stay long as they, like so many other local pubs, close at 3pm and we had other places to visit. Itís a good pub but it has nothing to put it above any of the other pubs locally. And itís up against some pretty stiff competition. But I expect they donít care Ė the place is primarily a hotel.

MankyBadger - 16 Aug 2008 22:28
Pulled up at 4.10pm to see people drinking in the beer garden. Only to be (rather rudely) told the place was closed until 6pm. So either the people in the garden have eked out their drinks for over an hour, or I'm being lied to, or the barman doesn't like the look of me?
I'm tempted to give them 0/10 out of spite, but will withold rating until next time (when they will have a BIG hill to climb)
MankyBadger - 24 May 2008 18:09
This is one of those places that I've driven past many times and never thought to pop in, mainly because of reports that it pupports to be a restaurant rather than a pub. Actually, whilst this is true to an extent, it does the place a bit of an injustice.
We finally made the effort to visit a few weeks ago and enjoyed the experience so much that we have been back on two successive weekends since, the last time with my parents who declared it to be their (new) favourite pub when visiting !!
There are two bars, both on the small side but comfortable nonetheless. Adjoining these is a spacious "family" room with a piano that is apparently available for use by the paying public.
Beer was well kept and there is a tasteful lack of distractions such as music or fruit machines but what really makes this place is the attention to detail in the food. We only ate from the bar menu but everything we have had on our 3 visits has been excellent. Provencale Fish Soup was worthy of very good restaurant fare and the Ploughmans was excellent value with a selection of cheeses rather than the usual (lazy) lump of Cheddar. Portions of chips came sprinkled with sea salt which may not seem like much but to my mind, shows that the chef/proprieter is someone who really cares about food presentation. All this was by no means expensive. Five of us, with two full rounds of drinks (including VERY large glasses of wine !) and food, got change from £50 which strikes me as great value especially given the quality.
The only slight criticism is that it always seems to be a little short-staffed although the service still manages to be extremely polite.
We will be back soon for the full restaurant experience and I have no doubt it will be every bit as good as the pub itself.
An absolute gem !
Cover_Point - 10 Sep 2007 21:15
This is a memorable establishment, not least for its imposing baronial exterior in a village location, but also its excellent restaurant-quality food and well-conditioned ale. One might be forgiven for thinking this is a touch pretentious; indeed, it is populated primarily by middle-class folk. But that doesn't mean it lacks genuineness or that it is overpriced; I am in agreement with CJG that this represents reasonable value for this level of food quality in a Kentish country pub nowadays.
This is a classic and really is worth a visit, preferably if you're trying to impress a new girlfriend!
TWG - 25 Oct 2006 16:46
Fantastic free house. The beer is always very well-served and keenly priced. The food ranges from the humble ploughman's to high end restaurant fare. Previous reviewers who thought it expensive probably don't get out much these days for, as is normally the rule, you get what you pay for. In fact, in terms of quality the Dering represents exceptional value for money.
CJG - 19 Oct 2006 15:47
The high standards of cuisine extend down to the humble BLT, which was excellent!

Wade1957 - 6 Aug 2006 10:01
Although having ridden past the Dering Arms on numerous occasions on my trusty Matchless over the years whilst en-route to Sussex, I decided to pay a visit last Friday. Having gotten off the train at Pluckley, I walked the 200yds down Station Road to the Dering Arms. Being in "Darling Buds of May" country, it is in idyllic surroundings, the silence being punctuated by the birds singing.

All the doors were open and wheelchair access as well, so no guessing how to get in! It had just opened and I was the first person in. Fantastic - no intrusive noise, just the ticking of the clock. No fruit machines here!

To be honest, the Dering Arms is a restaurant that sells beer, rather than a pub selling food, but if you like good quality seafood, this place is excellent.

Two beers were on offer, both from Phil Goacher at Maidstone. The Dering Ale is re-badged Fine Light at 3.7%, and my tipple of choice was Gold Star at 5.1%.
Not exorbitantly priced at £2.60 considering the sort of place this is, it did have a slight bloom to it, which I put down to the weather, and was very good to drink. It's lovely and "hoppy", with a tang of citrus to balance the malt.

I will certainly return. 8/10.
5thearlofwimbourne - 5 Jul 2006 13:51
I went to this pub for a quick drink when coming down to kent from London on a ghost hunt. Unless you have been to this pub befor you will never find the entrance. its round the side we looked like idiots searching for 10 mins while people inside just watched. when we did find the door we were standing by the bar and the "foreign" bar lady said "you will have to wait I'm very busy". make us "Londoners" feel welcome wont you. Oh and dont bother going there for the food unless you have lots of money.
kevin326 - 16 Feb 2006 00:13
Excellent Gothic looking pub almost adjacent to the station, although you would never know this as a casual visitor apart from the railway signs.
Food is superb, especially the fish, and I enjoyed the beers!
Davidgeorge - 31 Jan 2006 13:39
Charming pub - a converted lodge house with flagstone floors - like drinking in a castle.<br> The Dering Ale house beer is Goacher's Special.
SilkTork - 21 Jan 2006 20:02
A delightful old hunting lodge that has been converted into a pub with excellent food - especially the sea food. More of a restaurant than a pub in the evening but the owner (for the last 20 years) is passionate about good produce and has a great wine list and good local ales and cider. Worth a vists; there's even rooms if you wish to stay the night.
Ian Lewis - 12 May 2005 14:39

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