July 15, 2016

The Corner House, Canterbury

Restaurants in Canterbury

Eating a large meal out is something rarely done, preferring to cook to at home and invite others over. Exceptions are made for special occasions or for places of particular interest. Food tastes somewhat better if there's a narrative involved, or there's a connection to the source. 

For these reasons Kent is largely where I'll part with my pennies, not only for the affinity held with the county - I lived there on and off for almost ten years and often bolt there when London seems too much - but also for the evolution of its culinary offerings. 

2016 saw the Sportsman in Sealsalter, describing themselves as a 'grotty run down pub by the sea',  top the National Restaurant Awards in 2016. And there's something in this evolution that began in the previous decade in the capital: really excellent British pub food has seen itself extend to the far flung corners of the island. 

Other Kentish pubs of note including the Five Bells in Brabourne and, although less pub-like, the Corner House in Minster, and their newly opened sister business that has seen the detailed renovation of Canterbury's Flying Horse. One of few exceptional places to eat in the city for food of its calibre (that's not to say there aren't plenty of very good places) but upon a recent visit it was almost flawless, with no detail missed. 

This is no major accomplishment in that they keep everything deliberately simple: good, honest, and superb quality ingredients from local suppliers, family service, and chef, Matt Sworder, who knows exactly what he's doing and how to do it remarkably well. And yet it is an accomplishment so few rarely manage to achieve. 

It's all in the detail: hot plates (obvious but something I find so few restaurants do), freshly baked bread and butter, staff who take the time to stop and have a conversation with you if they read that you're interested, music that is just audible but not overbearing, and kept spotlessly. It's just really, really good. 

As for the food, we dined for Sunday Lunch sharing the Romney Marsh rack of lamb and a bottle of Chapel Down Flint Dry, the former being perfectly cooked and full of flavour. 

Behind the scenes, you'll find suppliers just down the road (why go further afield when your county produces such rich produce?) saving the time and cost of liaising further afield, meaning prices are also fair considering the quality and reasonable given all of the above. Sunday Lunch comes in at 2-courses for £18 or 3 for £22. 

Preparing Sunday Lunch at home because I know I can do it better will now be a challenge. Why go to all of the hard work when I can trust the Corner House to do it for me?

Highly recommended if you're in Canterbury, or even an excuse for a overnight stay in the guest rooms above the premises, there's plenty to be enjoyed in the city and into Kent.

More information:

The Corner House
Visit Canterbury

The Sportsman
The Five Bells
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