The problem with moving across the pond and away from your hometown for almost a year is that things look very, very different when you come back. It used to disconcert me when I stayed in London for an entire month and came back to Canterbury, the place I will always call home for a few days and found one of my favourite shops and restaurants had closed or changed hands. However, one good thing since I've been gone in Canterbury is while I've lost one of my favourite lunch spots, The Hutch by Mint Yard Gate of Canterbury Cathedral which has now closed, so many new and exciting eateries have opened for me now to sample when I'm in town.
While the original plan was to sample Salt. for lunch, the restaurant that has taken over the space on Palace Street opposite the King's School Shop that Hutch used to occupy during a shopping trip with my Mummy, walking down the high street we caught the food board for The Shakespeare, a newly refurbished pub down a side street where a run down-ish pub I never went near called Casey's used to be. We decided to eat there instead, as the food looked pretty good. Lets say we were very, very happy with our change of heart and we will be eating there again, and I felt it warranted being shared with my small group of Canterbury followers, and those of you who might visit sometime int he future (please do, Canterbury is awesome, and not just because I live here and you're liable to run into Paul Hollywood in Waitrose!)
They have a great looking menu which is a great mix of traditional pub food and modern favourites. I wish to go back for the Crispy Pork Belly, one of their open top sandwiches and special burgers. And their meat platter.
As you can see, my Mother and I decided to order the small version of the seafood platter which was the perfect size for us to share (we were planning on saving room for dessert!), and unlike a lot of sharing platters was really well thought out as something meant to share. There were two perfectly grilled prawns, four pieces of bread, a large enough piece of salmon to split in two, two pieces of sun dried tomato, four pieces of calamari and even an even number of pickled capers. All perfectly dividable, and totally delicious. Recommended.
We could not choose between desserts, so we ordered two to share. First up, we have the most delicious melty chocolate cake. The sponge was rich and dense and it was served with a scoop of honeycomb ice cream. The micro herbs as garnish looked fantastic, but also tasted really good with and balanced out the rich chocolate.
Our second dessert was a homemade salted caramel cheesecake (baked) served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a generous sprinkling of popping candy. For me, it was the popping candy that added interest and excitement to the dish; kudos to Heston Blumenthal for bringing the candy back into the mainstream so you can now buy it in Waitrose and Tesco. In my mind it makes the perfect garnish for a playful dessert.
They also have a pretty cute garden, which while it is Autumn now and the chill is starting to come in, I think would have been lovely in Summer. Not as awesome as the garden in my favourite Canterbury pub, The Dolphin, but still pretty awesome. If you live in or around Canterbury I urge you to go try it out, or if you don't, to do so on a visit to the town. We're pretty awesome you know, and this lunch combined with a trip to the beautiful Cathedral and cloisters is worth hopping on the train for, promise!