“ Address: 37-41 Earl Street / Maidstone ME14 1PF / Tel: 01622 755 339 „
I was surprised to see that Wildwood Restaurants was not included in the Dooyoo catalogue, so I submitted the suggestion and was glad to find it had been accepted. I believe this small chain needs the recognition because I have never had a bad experience there, and I hope other people will try it out, because they deserve it.
I would not be surprised if you had never heard of the brand... it sounds very much like a cheesy western-themed restaurant... but I can assure you it is quite the opposite! Wildwood is a small chain of restaurants in the south. They currently have restaurants in Essex, Surrey, London and Kent. For the purpose of this review, I will be discussing the Maidstone branch.
Wildwood is conveniently placed in Maidstone town centre. It does not look particularly appealing from the outside. It looks like a very formal building and the signage is very discreet, so you would be forgiven for missing it along the busy street full of restaurants! Because of its central location there is no parking around the building, which is a huge disadvantage. However, there is a large multi-storey close by called Fremlin Walk.
The restaurant itself looks really modern and sophisticated, with a range of seating depending on your needs. For instance, there are cushioned wicker chairs if you are having a casual drink or dining chairs and booths for sit-down meals. The restaurant is never overly busy (which surprises me when I know how good this place is!) so we are always placed in front of the bar. There are two 'over-flow' areas that also look cosy and up-to-date.
The toilets are really unusual... but not in a negative way! The male and female cubicles are in the same area, which may sound strange considering they are normally in two rooms! There are heavy wooden-door cubicles separating the male and female customers, with signs on each door so you know which to use. There is one large sink with multiple taps, soap dispensers and dryers. The room itself looks HUGE! But do not be fooled... it is a clever way of using mirrors full-length mirrors! I have never had to queue and the toilets are always clean and stocked up with toilet roll!
The menu comes on a large single card... it amazes me how they do not get dirty! You can check out the menu online (see website at the end) but the different types of food that Wildwood serves are grilled meat, pasta, pizza and salads. It may not be the biggest menu in the world but there is something for everyone, including the fussy eaters! Obviously there are a range of starters, sides and desserts, and a large list of drinks too!
We started with our soft drinks (two diet cokes), which came in the traditional glass bottles. Is it me, or does coke always taste so much nicer out of these?! They also gave us two frosted cold glasses with ice. Really refreshing! For starters, my partner and I shared the mozzarella garlic bread with caramelised onions. It came in a wicker basket, lined with greaseproof paper, which was a change to white china, and a really nice touch! We were given two plates as well, considering we were sharing! The garlic bread was cut into triangles, which made it easier to share this way! It was steaming hot and there was a good ratio of cheese to onion. I had never had caramelised onions before and I was dead impressed... can't believe I missed out for so long! I think it would be quite a filling starter for one person, but perfect for sharing!
For mains, I had the chicken Milanese, which was simply breaded chicken and French fries, although you could choose spaghetti in tomato sauce if you wished! It came on a wooden board with the chips in a lined bucket. Again, I was really impressed with their presentation... it made quite a boring dish into something quite stunning! My partner had the classic cheeseburger, which looked extremely appetising and very filling! They were definitely not afraid to pile on the toppings! We were both impressed with the French fries because they were seasoned with sea salt, instead of the common table stuff! The little details made all the difference to our experience!
For dessert (not that we were hungry by this point, but the desserts are too amazing to miss!) we shared the white chocolate cheesecake with milk chocolate base and raspberry coulee. If you take one thing from this review, it has to be my recommendation for this dessert. It is absolutely amazing... very creamy, but not sickly! In fact... I have been known to just go into this restaurant for a piece of this cheesecake alone!
The staff are polite and attentive, and dealt with any questions we had efficiently. I would very much like to congratulate the chefs on bringing us great food on each and every visit!
Prices are fairly average for a high street restaurant... you are paying for the quality though, so don't expect it to be as cheap as Nando's! Our starter was £4.85, mains were £11.85 (Chicken Milanese) and £9.85 (Cheeseburger) and the dessert was £4.75 and the two soft drinks cost us £2.20 each. At the moment there is a 2-4-1 offer on main meals, which bought the cost down considerably. You can print off the voucher from the website, or access it from your smartphone.
I really recommend you visit Wildwood, especially now you can save some money on the main meals! I have never had a bad experience in this restaurant and I hope more open up around the country so others can try it too. The only problem here is parking, but there are many areas around Maidstone that can solve this minor detail! I give this restaurant 5*
37-41 Earl Street
01622 755 339
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 12-11pm, Sunday 12-10:30pm