Places To Eat In Canterbury: The Drapers Arms
As happens every November and December, my diary became pretty mental around the mid-November point (and it still looks pretty bonkers right up until Christmas) so just before the crazy started we figured it would be nice to have a bit of a mother / daughter lunch in Canterbury before I vanished off to shoot a festive feature, and my Mum went to do a bit of Christmas shopping. Looking down the list of places I still wanted to try, The Drapers Arms caught my eye. I’d reviewed it when it was casual lunch spot Deakins (they’re the same people behind Chapter just around the corner and down the street if really great pizza is your thing!) – but now it has been re-born as a city pub with pretty great food – I honestly can’t wait to go back and eat there again!
The Drapers Arms has all the regular pub drinks, as well as an excellent gin menu. I’ve been trying to cut down in the build up to Christmas, so I did give one of their non-alcoholic rhubarb and rosehip coolers a go but I found it tasted too much of artificial sweetener at the end (though that could just have been the rosehip and my tastebuds) so I switched it for a Gin Mare and tonic – one of my favourite serves which was lovely and bright.
I mentioned that the food was wonderful, right? As we were just after a light much we just went for a bar snack / starter to share and something each from the main food menu – something from the all day brunch section, and something from the a la carte. They also do bottomless brunches and big Sunday roasts, if that is your thing.
My Mum went for the bubble and squeak, served with a poached egg and in a herby butter, and with a generous portion of wild mushrooms on the side. Very autumnal. She’d expected just to get a regular patty and one or two different types of mushroom, but she was treated to a tangle of plump and varied mushrooms, beautifully cooked with a wonderfully presented dish. Her only complaint was too much butter, which is more of a personal preference more than anything else. A massive tick from us both as a brunch spot, too then.
I also loved my lunch. Homemade, toothsome fresh pasta, folded and filled with a butternut squash puree, served in a beautiful dish of roasted, buttery butternut, nutty, toasted pine nuts, plump capers to add a little interest and a little piquancy, a generous shower of fresh parmesan, and a tangle of pea shoots.
We also shared a pork and sausage sausage roll with damson ketchup which was very, very good, and something you should totally order even if you’re just in for a drink – it’s down as a bar snack, as well as a starter on the menu. The roll was generous, with crisp, flaky, buttery pastry and a moist filling which really celebrated both the pork and the duck inside, and the ketchup was both jammy and tangy. Again, a true taste of autumn.
I know I might be starting to sound a bit like a broken record here, but dessert was also very, very good. A muscovado meringue, topped with maple cream, blueberry compote and fresh mint in mini pavlova form, we had it to share with two spoons and it was beautiful. Crisp, but not too sweet, it was the perfect end to the meal, yet again capturing all those beautiful, autumnal flavours. This really is why I can’t wait to eat at The Drapers Arms again – everything was so wonderfully seasonal, I can’t wait to see what I’m served in the spring.