Our kitchen is run by Oliver Joyce and Kevin Bennett. Between them they have worked at a senior level in some of the best restaurants in the UK including The Waterside Inn at Bray, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Chapter One and Buckingham Palace. In 2015 the Gallivant was included in The Sunday Times ‘Top 100 UK Hotels – hotels for food’.
Our menus are delicious, honest and unfussy, always seasonal, handmade from scratch and cooked with a belief that less is more when using the best possible ingredients from local suppliers.
We are proud to run a restaurant that is in as much harmony with its surroundings as possible. 95% of our fresh produce is sourced within 10 miles of us so our food miles are negligible; Fish caught on local day-boats, fruit, vegetables, cheese, yoghurt and milk from farmers that live and work around us, foraged hedgerow vegetables, mushrooms and seaweed from the marshes. All our sparkling wine (from 12 different estates), gins, vodkas, beer, cider and juice from artisan local producers and bottling all our own filtered water (we don’t sell bottled) ‘Locals dinner’ every Monday where the full a la carte menu is served for £20 for three courses, participation in the MSC’s Annual Beach Clean, paying all our staff a minimum of £9/hour combined with extensive staff training and an opportunity to take a share of the company profits at the end of the year.’
We spoke to Harry Cragoe, owner of The Gallivant, about philosophy, tips and parties.
What do you think makes food good?
Fruit and vegetables – picked at the height of the English season and eaten within hours.
Fish – caught sustainably, prepared when still in rigour, a few exceptions like sole, skate for instance which improve with a day or two on the bone
Meat – farmed ethically, fed well with normal, natural feed, allowed to live a normal happy life. Once slaughtered, matured for longer to develop some real intensity of flavour.
What are the three reasons people should vote for you?
1. We genuinely source virtually all of our ingredients locally, it’s not just lip service.
2. As a result support a wide group of local people who are inherently linked to our success. In an ever competitive landscape our largely independent local suppliers need all the help they can get to survive so our children don’t live in a bland world of mass produced, flavourless ingredients supplied in plastic.
3. Our food makes them happy and they support our ethics regarding paying all our staff a minimum living wage £9/hour or more and a share in the company’s success.
What is your signature dish?
Our menu changes very regularly so we don’t really have a signature dish but our bouillabaisse is very popular.
What’s the one ingredient you couldn’t do without?
Local onions, they are the base of so many things in the kitchen.
Smaller portions or doggy bags?
Smaller portions using incredible, locally sourced ingredients at the height of the season.
Meat or veg?
Both, we are we believe one of the only restaurants in the country that run a vegetarian a la carte alongside our standard a la carte seven days a week.
Living Wage or bigger tips
Neither, the living wage isn’t a living wage in our opinion and tips are normally unfairly distributed.
We pay everyone a minimum wage of £9/hour and all our staff are then able to receive performance bonuses monthly and quarterly based on their specific individual performance and not their title or length of service. They also have the opportunity of sharing in the company’s profits at the end of the year.
Describe the philosophy of The Gallivant in three words
Local, delicious, fair.
Describe what it would mean for your restaurant to be voted the People’s Favourite
It would be an incredible validation for everyone involved. Our team members, our suppliers and our customers who enable us to do what we do. It would also mean we would get the excuse to host an enormous supper party for everyone to celebrate. We’d invite all our team, our suppliers and our most loyal customers.
It would be legendary…
Who’s the most important member of your team and why?
It’s a team game so I couldn’t say any one team member is more important than anyone else. However during service the person that’s the most positive, motivated and happy is probably the most valuable team member as their positivity will spread to others. They could be anywhere or anyone, from the chef cutting the vegetables to a waiter looking after our guests front of house.
However someone who should know once told me the most important person in the restaurant is the guy cleaning the dishes. He sees first hand how happy our customers are by how clean the plates are. I always spend time looking at the pot wash when I am in the kitchen during service!