Friday 29th April 2016 – Introductions
Hello lovely people,
This is our first blog from us as a venue, so I’m guessing I should probably introduce us. Matt is our Kitchen Manager, he is free spirited, passionate and from our point of view, a big softie. Luke, our General Manager is hands-on, productive and he likes to think ‘quite funny’. Kirsty, one of our Event Managers, is the team’s mummy. She is kind hearted, focused and quite (very) scolding. Shelly is our newest member of the team, Event Manager and jester, she keeps spirits up, has her head in the game and entertains us all. And finally myself, Clare. I am the Deputy General Manager. I would say Events extraordinaire, but I’m 100% sure the others would say bossy-boots. Jokes aside, we are a close-knit team of 20 something’s running the East Quay Venue in Whitstable, and absolutely loving it.
We host 100+ events per year, including weddings, parties and corporate events.
Our blogs will include food, drink, decoration, wedding tips, and our local surroundings.
So relax, enjoy and don’t laugh too much at us.
Monday 2nd May 2016 – Where to stay in Whitstable?
Whether you are here for your own wedding, a friends or family members you are going to need somewhere to stay.
Whitstable is full of quaint little B&B’s, quickly holiday lets and 4 sizable hotels. So here’s a guide whether you are looking for cheap and cheerful or romantic and bijou, Whitstable has something for everyone. So we created a little guide, including tips following an East Quay wedding.
The Premier Inn – A standard hotel, where you know what to expect – ‘’ You can always rely on a Premier Inn’’ as Lenny Henry says. Public or private transport is a must when getting to and from this hotel. Late night surges of athletic enthusiasms are soon dulled, when you see Mount Everest between you and the finish line. (Also known as Borstal Hill).
The Marine Hotel – A beach front hotel with 30 bedrooms, a wonderfully stocked bar, and plentiful dining options. The hotel is situated in Tankerton, just a stone’s throw away from Whitstable, walking distance on a lovely sunny day, and just a short taxi ride following an afternoon of wedding fizz.
The Hotel Continental – Under the Whitstable Oyster Company, all of those attending an East Quay Venue function will receive a 10% discount when staying for the night of the event. The Hotel has a great seafront location, just 5minutes from the venue – perfect location for post-Jagerbomb stumbling.
The Fisherman’s Huts – 150 year old converted Fisherman’s Huts, ideally situated on the seafront in the heart of the town. These are perfect for staying in following your wedding, grab a bottle of wine, chip shop fish and chips, and relax in the provided deck chairs watching the world go by and reminiscing on your special day.
Crescent Turner – A stylish and modern boutique hotel, with panoramic views of Whitstable’s beaches and countryside. With a beach hut also available for hire, grab your sleeping bad and drift off to peaceful sounds of the frolicing waves and chorusing seagulls.
‘Whitstable Holiday Homes Ltd provides unique Whitstable self-catering accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. Our Whitstable holiday lets range from traditional fisherman’s cottages, deluxe apartments to stunning beachfront homes. ’
The perfect solution when staying for a couple of nights before the wedding, ideal to finish off any last minute decoration or just a place with freedom to hang with friends and family.
The Artists House or Beacon House:
A picturesque artists house is situated on the beach, with access via a small private road. A lovely place to relax for the weekend, the house overlooks the themes estuary with fantastic views of ‘The Street’. It is ideal for a family get together following your East Quay wedding.
There’s plenty to choose from so grab a Pimms, Prosecco and Jagerbomb knowing you have somewhere comfy to hide from the hangover the following morning.
Please drink responsibly.
For the facts drinkaware.co.uk
Tuesday 10th May 2016 – Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company Ltd
The Whitstable Oyster Company can trace its origins back to the 1400s, making it one of Europe’s longest running companies. It has a long, rich history of farming the famous Royal Whitstable Native Oyster. The company’s peak was in the 1850s, sending as many as 80 million oysters a year to Billingsgate fish market.
From the turn of the century a number of factors conspired against the oyster industry – cold winters, the two World Wars, the great flood of 1953 and, not least, the introduction of the prawn cocktail.
It was in 1978 Barrie Green and John Knight took over the Whitstable Oyster Company, at this time it was practically defunct, with large debts and a hugely unfashionable product. Oyster production had hit an all time low and one part-time dredger was left to sell a few dozen oysters wholesale per week. Shortly afterwards the next generation, Richard and James Green, opened the fish restaurant in the old oyster stores and commenced production of the famous Whitstable Native.
Over thirty years later, and the company is still a family-run business, expanding to the Whitstable Brewery, Hotel Continental and The Fisherman’s Huts, The Forge, The Lobster Shack and us, the East Quay Venue.
The East Quay Venue is housed within one of Whitstable’s oldest buildings, which is located at the end of the east quay harbor. It was originally the home of the Seasalter and Ham Oyster Fishery Company. Like the famous Oyster Stores, the building faced the shore so the oyster companies could keep a watchful eye over their precious beds out at sea. The venue still faces onto the same shingle seashore, and retains the structural features and character from its coastal heritage past.
Saturday 14th May 2016 – Oyster Production
The Whitstable Oyster Company has recently been experimenting with the growing of seed oysters (Crassostrea Gigas) in bags on trestles outside our Famous Royal Native Oyster Stores Restaurant. The oyster farm can be seen on low tide around the End of the East Quay.
The seed oyster is purchased from Seasalter & Ham Oyster Fishery Co or a French supply, the seed oysters are around the size of ½ a match head and you can fit around 10,000 in a pint glass.
The oysters are specially bred to not reproduce (triploid. This means they concentrate on growing rather than reproducing, meaning a more succulent and uniformed meat content in every oyster.
The oysters are placed in fine mesh bags and laid on the metal trestles out at sea, as they grow in these bags they are bought back to shore, graded and then divided into larger mesh bags. This allows room for the oysters to grow further and obtain nutrition from the natural nutrients in the sea.
The whole process takes around 3 years and is currently proving very successful, meaning we can soon look to wholesale these oysters to London and further afield.
In addition to these farmed oysters, we also dredge on our grounds for wild Whitstable Rock Oysters which are of excellent quality in terms of meat content and taste. Our boat the Melissa. E was the last wooden boat to be built in Whitstable and is moored in Whitstable Harbour. In addition to Mellisa. E we are currently having a new purpose built Aluminium boat, by Uplands Engineering in Faversham, ready for the busy summer season as the Oysters really start to grow!
All our Rock Oysters are graded, washed and purified for 42 hours in our purpose built CEFAS accredited depuration centre located at the East Quay.
The purification process uses UV sterilised sea water to remove any microbiological contamination from the oysters to enable them to be safe for consumption. After the oysters have had 42 hours to filter the UV sterilised water they are re washed, the tanks drained and stored in fresh sterilised sea water awaiting dispatch to our restaurants.
During the months of September to April we also dredge for the world famous Royal Whitstable Natives (Ostrea Edulis) in waters known as the Kentish Flats, these are some of the cleanest waters in the UK and the Oysters can be eaten straight from the sea without the need for purification.
Wednesday 18th May 2016 – Food Glorious Food
Here at the East Quay Venue we strive to serve the best, fresh local produce for our weddings and events.
We source fish from local fisherman in Whitstable Harbour, some of which have been working alongside the company for 30years.
As part of the Whitstable Oyster Company, the oysters are as fresh as can be. Straight from the sea, cleaned and purified in our depuration centre, based at the East Quay.
Our lobsters are sourced from Maine, renowned for their meat content and juicy taste. During the season they are natives, and occasionally hand dived by our owner. Our Lobsters are looked after in salt water holding tanks, and then hand-picked in the morning for boiling in salt water to maximise the flavour.
Our meat comes from a local butcher, and fruit, salad and vegetables a local greengrocer.
Every wedding is unique to the couple, and as it is their special day we tailor our menu’s to them. We offer formal 3 course meals, relaxed BBQ’s and Hog Roasts, and the very popular and traditional boxed fish and chip.
It’s a hard job coming up with new ideas, especially tasting a variety of food, but someone has to do it 😉
Here’s our recipe for Whole Lobster Thermidor for you to try at home. Bon appetite…. Matt
Monday 23rd May 2016 – East Quay Weddings
We have had many a wedding a the East Quay, all of which unique, beautifully decorated and special to the couple whose day it is.
There have been two weddings that especially stick out in my mind. Two couples who have completely made, not only the venue, but the day their own. These two couples got it spot on, and not having known them long, I could instantly tell that this day was a reflection of them both, as individuals and as a couple.
The first one is the beautiful Karen and Kirsty, they got married with us on Thursday 23rd March 2016. From my first meeting with Karen and Kirsty, I could tell they gelled well together and complimented each other’s personalities.
Karen and Kirsty chose to see each other before the wedding, and did a reveal on the beach, each stepping out from a beach hut. They had some photos on the beach, and then hopped into a VW Camper. They chose to have a Blessing at the venue, and chose Katie Keen – Independent Celebrant, and they couldn’t have got it more right!! Katie’s ceremony was so personalised, and the Brides’ vows were stunning.
Their décor was gorgeous, with a beach hut table plan, nautical candles and personalised name tags of the building. They had perfect spring flowers along the tables from Jane at Graham Greener, along with a hanging floral display above the ceremony table.
You can check their wedding video out from Minty Slippers here. Have the tissues at the ready!
My second couple is Tahmina and Tom, they were married with us on Friday 13th May 2016. Some see Friday the 13th as unlucky, but this pair stuck two fingers up to the myth and absolutely rocked their wedding, literally!
I first met Tom and Tahmina in the Lobster Shack, they were having lunch and Instagramed a photo of their lunch time Jagerbombs. I instantly liked them and wanted them to be one of my couples. I knew their wedding would reflect them and be uber fun, and I was blown away to how accurate they got it.
T’n’T Fest was an Iron Maiden filled, skull decorated, head banging, Jager-fueled day, and it abso-friggin-lutely rocked!!
My favourite part, was their first dance. It was awesome, they smashed it. Head banging and lip syncing, they thoroughly enjoying themselves and it was a joy to watch.
I picked these two couples as both had moments were I had a little tear in my eye. For those that know me, this rarely happens, and I’m often referred to as the Ice Queen.
Monday 6th June 2016 – Food and Drink
No matter what your taste buds are telling you… there is something for everyone in Whitstable!
We have so many lovely little restaurants, it is hard to cover them all but these are some of my favourites! All tried and tested by many of us here at The East Quay and nothing but great things said by all.
Of course at the heart of Whitstable is the Famous Whitstable Oyster, so whether you are a lover of seafood or just wanting to try something a little different these are the restaurants for you.
For a large party I would recommend The Whitstable Oyster Company (01227 276856) A warm and welcoming family business with spectacular sea views.
For a smaller, more romantic feel I would recommend Wheelers Oyster Bar (01227 273311) In the heart of our little town this is what Whitstable is all about.
Both Famous for their exquisite seafood!
Good Wholesome Food?
These 2 restaurants are my favourites in Whitstable. You do not have to be a great lover of seafood to love everything about these little Gems.
Birdies, located in our quaint Harbour Street, is a very popular French bistro. This charming little place is just perfect for either lunch or dinner. (01227 265337)
The Pearson’s Arms may just sound like a local pub but the food is amazing and even though we Whitstabublians take it for granted.. the sea views from their upstairs restaurant are breath taking. (01227 773133)
Drinks on the Menu?
Whitstable is jam packed full of character filled Watering holes, so depending on the feel of your night these are my top 3..
Cheeky cocktails… The Pearson’s Arms
Cosy Whitstable Pub… The Duke of Cumberland
On The Beach… The Neptune
Enjoy your visit to Whitstable. And if you do try out any of the above I may just see you there ;)…
Saturday 18th June 2016 – Winter vs Summer Weddings
Whatever the season you choose for your wedding day, our seaside venue can complement it.
In the summer, enjoy drinks and canapés on the beach, freshly shucked oysters and beautiful summer sunsets. Stay cosy in the winter, with the warm fire and candle lit venue, whilst still enjoying the wintery coastal views.
Arrive to a summery ‘Pimp my Prosecco’ station or wintery mulled cider to warm up. Whether it’s a BBQ and ice-cream or a winter soup followed by steaming crumble and custard, the venue has a menu to suit any season.
Wedding Cakes – Monday 20th June 2016
We have seen so many wedding cake options, when planning a wedding it must be so difficult to choose.
Naked cakes are absolutely stunning, and very fitting with our venue. The mixture of berries and flowers sitting on a classic vanilla sponge sits beautifully in front our brickwork building.
Nautical themed cakes obviously go very well with the location of the venue, and look great positioned on our large stage next to the seaside mural.
A giant cupcake, for those with a very sweet tooth, sitting on top of a cup cake tower is a crowd pleaser with both children and adults alike.
For something a little different, cheese or a giant pork pie is a great alternative to the traditional sweet cake. Of if you are greedy (like me), why not have something sweet and savoury? You sweet cake can serve as dessert, and the savoury for your evening food.
We have some amazing recommended suppliers to suit your wedding cake needs. Classic, bespoke and creative cakes we recommend The Whitstable Cake Company and Sally4Cakes. For amazing cupcakes and naked cakes head to Whats Up Cupcake! For a selection of English and international cheeses and local chutneys The Cheesebox is the place to go. Ask your local butcher for a pork pie cake or head to Nelsons Butchers online and get it delivered straight to your venue.
Whitstable Salons – Monday 27th June 2016
Hello lovely ladies and Gents,
I have put together some recommendations of hairdressers and beauty salons in Whitstable. My personal favourite is Flow&Co hair salon. They make you feel very welcome and definitely listen and deliver, and the coffee is great too! Pure Indulgence is a fantastic beauty salon and offer great pamper packages.
So if you need a little help with your beauty prep here’s a couple of salons local to the venue:
Robert Mitchell Hairdressing – 01227 277245
Flow&Co Hair Salon – 01227 271225
Pure Indulgence – 01227 772176
Tree Tops Retreat Spa – 01227 280265
For all of you Gents, Lens Barbers is a traditional hairdressers and will defiantly achieve the best for you, they are committed to making every client feel comfortable and relaxed, regardless of age or style. They understand how important is it to have great hair!
Lens Barbers- 01227 274808
Whitstable Beer and Oyster Festival – Friday 1st July 2016
The Whitstable Oyster festival originally started as thanksgiving celebrations for the fishermen who were not only grateful for their survival at sea, but also their plentiful catches. They enjoyed these celebrations during the quieter months, so they were not slack during the busy winter, Native Oyster, months. This continues today and the annual festival is held during July, when you cannot get Native Oysters.
The whole town joins in with the two week party, having stalls, food and drink, activities and oyster based madness. The highlights often include: The landing of the oysters, the mud-tug and the Festival Parade.
Here at the East Quay Venue we are hosting our annual Beer Festival alongside the first weekend of the Oyster Festival. This started originally in the Brewery Bar, now the Lobster Shack restaurant. We have a selection of talented musicians playing from Thursday evening until Sunday evening. Throughout the weekend we sell a selection of beers, ales and ciders from our Whitstable Brewery, alongside host breweries like Tring and Yeovil. The Lobster Shack will be serving seafood selections, and the BBQ will be fired up on the beach.
For information on all of the details please click here.
Rebecca Douglas -Winter Wedding Advice
One of our recommended photographers, the amazing Rebecca Douglas, has written some advice for planning a winter wedding.
Head over to her website for her hints and tips.
The Band Company – Wedding Fair
One of our recommended suppliers, The Band Company, had written about their recent experience at our Wedding Fair.
Check it out here.