Food & Drink

Little Rock – Fresh Fish Right By The Sea

Little Rock is located on Beachside at the Harbour Arm.  It’s part of the Rocksalt group.  Owned by Josh De Haan, the Rocksalt group has 5 venues in Folkestone and a collection of pubs across the Kent countryside. Their menu is seasonal and the Folkelife team went to see what is on offer for the summer.

On Arrival

Little Rock is a collection of shipping containers that have been converted into an indoor and outdoor area for dining. You’ll always be warm as the outdoor veranda is a sun trap from midday onwards.  The restaurant thrives on its attention to local produce and so start with a glass of Simpson’s Estate Chalkland Cuvee sparkling wine.  This has been grown and bottled only 10 miles away in Barham in the Kent Downs.  The cods’ roe mousse, served in an oyster shell with warm Docker Sourdough complements the dry sparkling wine very well.  Simpson’s do say that their Chalkland Cuvee goes very nicely with fish, and also chips.

Docker Sourdough is bread that’s been made by the team at their Hythe base only a couple of miles away.  They started their bread journey in a container on Folkestone Harbour and have grown to serve many local restaurants and customers over the past few years.


You can’t go wrong with whatever you choose and there is something for everyone.  The vegetarian option of Tomato ‘Carpaccio’ has a vibrant green pesto full of fresh basil that bring out the punch of the feta.  The hazelnut and lemon crumb enhances the buttery scallops which are so voluptuous that eating them in one mouthful should only be done among friends, and probably not in a white shirt.

Sardines on toast might be a tea-time favourite but these fresh fillets on a Docker sourdough slice that soaks up the rosemary and garlic butter is a cut above.  These will certainly be a favourite on this menu, for tea or any other time of the day.

award-winning restaurant

Jack Nimmons is the operations manager of the Rocksalt group and he talked to us about the success of Little Rock. “Little Rock opened in the summer of 2021.  It grew out of the success of our bar The Pilot Bar on the same Beachside site which opened in the summer of 2020.  I’ll take you back to that summer when if we were allowed out we were only allowed outside, not in.  So opening a bar on the beach, that had loads of outside space was a really good idea.  We saw how well that worked, and then saw there was a space next door.  There wasn’t the option to make food in the Pilot so we wanted to offer fresh fish, simply cooked and served outside.  

“When the sun is out, with the palm trees and that Florida vibe, it’s as if you’re on holiday.  It’s a stunning place to sit and eat the freshest dishes on our menu.  The restaurant has always championed fresh local produce, and that’s what you get at Little Rock.”

Little Rock Inside
Cods Roe
Starters 2023
Little Rock Mains 2023
Burrata 2023
Little Rock Pass
Knickerbocker Glory
Kentish Strawberries
Little Rock Credit Matt Rowe

the main event

It’s safe to say that again, for choice of main courses, you can’t go wrong.  In fact, just book in your next visit now to take the pressure off what to have.  The catch of the day are displayed on the ice bar and come from Folkestone Trawlers.  The chefs at the Rocksalt group are on speed-dial so the fishermen can offer them the best of the local catch.  You can choose to have your fish pan-fried, grilled or baked, and whichever sauce you have, make sure you try the Hollandaise.  The buttery, unctuousness of the rich orange sauce on the salty, fresh Lemon Sole (in our case) was superb.

Spiced Folkestone Huss with sliced fennel and dill, and an orange, cucumber and mint yoghurt was inspired.  This fresh and lively dish shows the versatility of the fish, but also shows the team understand how to make a meal that feels like you’re on holiday.  Sitting by the sea, with the sun shining down, it’s easy to lose track of time and relax.

Burrata is a dish of spiced chickpeas, grilled courgettes and a sundried tomato salad.  The flavours packed into this vegetarian option don’t hold back.  The chickpeas have a kick and the dressing is hard not to lick off the plate.  Save some bread to wipe up any remnants.

keep it simple

Jack Nimmons continues: “The shipping container setting speaks for itself. A hospitality venue is really important because you want people to enjoy spending time there.  And that vista just sets the perfect scene.  People have loved sitting by the sea from the day we opened. 

“Little Rock is also something slightly different to any other offering at the Harbour.  It’s the midway point between the street food venue and the fine dining experience of Rocksalt.”

onto Pudding

If you’ve still got space there’s a refreshing selection of palette cleansers in the form of fresh strawberries, local sorbets and ice cream on offer.  The knickerbocker glory is bursting with fresh berries and tiny sweeteners in the form of mini marshmallows.  For coffee and ice cream try the Affogatto al Caffee with a double espresso to pour over your vanilla ice cream and grated chocolate.  Don’t rush though, you have all the time in the world to savour the food and atmosphere at Little Rock.

a turning point for folkestone

Jack Nimmons has been involved with the Rocksalt group since 2014 and has seen Folkestone grow up through the regeneration.  More and more people are moving into the town, and some is down to the fact that they’ve lunched here very well.

“The links to London mean that many people can get down here for a business lunch and be back up in time for early evening. That’s had an effect on the people moving here to buy property, and the pandemic has fast-tracked some of that as well.   The huge investment that’s happened in the Creative Quarter has been going on for a long period of time.  Now we’re at a point where the traders in The Old High Street are quite settled.  The artistic-led businesses are established and are bringing more and more people to the town.  All of this is key to the success of Folkestone, and it’s great to have been a little part of that.”

To enjoy a meal at Little Rock most tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  There is an option to book via their website.

discover more about folkestone below

Adventure Golf Beside The Sea
Brewing Brothers – Experience The Energy of Ned and Charlie
Inspired By Stories – Paper Boat Documentaries
Festivals and Family Events – the Folkestone Quarterhouse

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