I’d be the first to admit that, at face value, Canterbury does seem to have too many big chains along its high street. I urge you to look just that little bit harder though as there are, in fact, independent cafes a-plenty. All you have to do is ask a local. Or read this article*
Here are a few recommendations for breakfast beyond an egg McMuffin:
The Refectory Kitchen
16 St. Dunstans St, Canterbury CT2 8AF
Sometimes, a bacon sandwich is just what you need. The Refectory Kitchen sits between the Canterbury West train station and the Westgate Towers, making it an ideal place to fuel up for a walk along the Crab and Winkle Way to Whitstable, or along the River Stour into Chartham.
Serving up locally-sourced Kentish fare, they cure the bacon ‘in-house’ making it a rather posh butty indeed. There’s plenty more on the menu but if a really good traditional sarnie is your thing, this is the place for you.
The Sportsman Cafe
The Sportsman Cafe, 79 Wincheap, Canterbury CT1 3RX
Along Wincheap’s bustling road leading you away from the city, you’ll find the Sportsman Cafe, certainly not to be confused with Seasalter’s award-winning run-down pub by the sea.
This Sportsman is a little greasy, a little grubby, and a whole lot of cheap and tasty breakfast, served with local charm. Head here if proper bubble and squeak and a heavily brewed cuppa is the order of the morning. It’s a must-visit if you’ve been hard at work haggling at Wincheap’s famous Sunday car boot sale.
Cafe St Pierre
41 St Peter’s St, Canterbury CT1 2BG
Paris? Non, c’est Canterbury. Cafe St Pierre is a gorgeous little French cafe along the lower high street and resolutely held its own through the recession. In fact, I can’t remember a time it wasn’t there and the owner wasn’t sauntering around in his black rubber apron and serving up his famed petit dejeuner. I like to visit for the croque monsieur with a side of grape mustard, which is simply unrivalled by any other I have ever tried. You just don’t get that much cheese anywhere else. Or that depth of crust. Or that colour! Order with a chocolat chaud and be done with it.
The Veg Box Cafe
17A Burgate, Canterbury CT1 2HG
Recently relocated from a hidden side street to an envious spot along the city’s Burgate, the Veg Box cafe is run by Liz and Adam, a local couple.
Liz likes to grow her own vegetables or source from nearby Kentish farms, and serves up some of the best and solely vegetarian and vegan meals in the city.
I like the big breakfast box that comes with homemade hash browns, seasonal veg and baked beans, with turmeric scrambled tofu.
4 St Peter’s St, Canterbury CT1 2AT
I bet you’re all wondering where the avocado on toast is at, such is its current trend-hold for foodies across the land. Well, never fear, Kitch Cafe - just alongside where the River Stour - cuts through the city and will meet your every desire. With bacon? With smoked salmon? Heck, even with a side order of kale? Kitch Cafe is your very best bet.
The Wild Goose
Station Rd W, Canterbury CT2 8AN
Conveniently located just a stone’s throw from Canterbury West Station, the Wild Goose is a small bar tucked into the corner of the Good’s Shed, a former railway building and, these days, an almost-daily farmers market.
Often when disembarking from a London train, I scurry here for a rich plate of morcilla (that’s Spanish for black pudding) and buttery scrambled eggs on toast, washed down with a coffee and long, lingering glances at the trains that chug past the windows.
*This article was originally published at Canterbury Culture