Deeson’s, Canterbury.

Deeson’s is amazing. We were looking for a nice restaurant in Canterbury and we found it. Some 500 strong reviews recommend Deeson’s as THE place to eat in Canterbury, when we couldn’t get a reservation for dinner we were devastated. Our commitment to fine dining is so strong that we took an early dinner, 5pm slot and we were not disappointed.

Deeson’s use local produce where possible and have ‘Taste of Kent‘ awards – we salivated at the thought.

Of course, we looked at the wine menu first and when we saw our favourite, Chapel Down‘s Flint Dry, we had to go for it. The rest of our menu choices came from there, having white wine, we decided to go white meat and fish…

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Toby started with a Seafood Platter. Mackeral pate, salmon mousse, deep fried scallop and whitebait. It was a feast for the eyes and the mouth.

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I went for the Broccoli Soup which was superb and presented in its own little saucepan.

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Main course – Toby went for the Sea Trout with Pak Choi and cockles, with a delicious buttery sauce.

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I went for roast chicken with a roast chicken pie, fondant potatoes, endives, chanterelle mushrooms and bacon sauce. It was superb! Usually chicken is a boring option but this was something else.

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For dessert;  a cheeseboard. A good range of British cheese and all arranged in a very interesting way. The brie was warm – they really take the care to get it right.

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I went for a mulled wine poached pear with honeycomb ice cream and a flapjack – it was sensational. It tasted like Christmas.

The ambience and service are superb. For four people dining, three courses each, wine and tea and coffee, the bill came to a reasonable £160 – £40 a head. We were all stuffed and satisfied and can’t recommend Deeson’s enough.

Wheelers

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On a casual Thursday of the half-term, we decided to head down to Wheelers Oyster Bar in Whitstable to sample some of what has often been described as ‘one of the best seafood restaurants in the country’. Booking is usually a waiting game but we were fortunate enough to get a last minute cancellation. We were salivating at the thought of what we we were going to eat…

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From the outside, Wheelers is an eccentric looking pink building that is home to a quaint oyster bar with many sea treats on ice. You can go in and order food to take away and there is also a small oyster bar that works on a first come, first served basis. Behind that is what can only be described as a living room stuck in 1945,  this is the restaurant, seating about 16 at maximum. It is incredibly homely and we have not eaten anywhere like this before, perhaps other than our own Grandma’s living room. There are four sittings throughout the day, we were lucky enough to get in for lunch at 1pm, the other sittings are 3pm, 5pm and 7pm.

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The first thing out the kitchen was a  helping of homemade granary and rosemary bread served with pesto and olive oil. The bread was delicious. The menu is quite small and changes regularly depending on what has been caught and what is in season.

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Toby had half a dozen oysters, served simply with lemon. Amazing. He has always enjoyed oysters and these were no exception. All washed down with some Oyster Stout, also from Whitstable. The restaurant is a ‘bring your own’ – another plus in our books.

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Well damn, we were a bit too eager to start eating at this point, so the photography suffered, but amongst the pixels above is a crab cake and lobster spring roll with a lemon celeriac roulade. It was outstanding. The portion was very generous. This is what I ate, I came home looking up crab cake recipes, I loved it. Damn Toby’s poor photography skills.

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Wheelers has no alcohol license, so it is a ‘bring your own’. This is absolutely no issue as there is an independent ‘Offy‘ over the road with a stellar selection of wines and beers, many of them local. We opted for a firm favourite of ours: Flint Dry from Chapel Down, Tenterden, Kent.

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Toby’s main was stone bass with parma ham, asparagus and fondant potatoes. It was tremendous! We did that sad thing that couples do where they change main half way through. I had to stop myself from eating the rest of it.

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I went for pollock and salt and pepper squid rings on a bed of chorizo, spinach and mash potato. It was sensational. The dish was around £18.50 but it felt completely worth the money, an excellent helping of fish. To be honest, I am running out of adjectives to describe how great the food is at Wheelers.

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We usually prefer starters to desserts but we had heard that the desserts here were fantastic. We went for a rhubarb savarin with rhubarb and pink champagne sorbet. It was sensational, fresh, seasonal and delicious.

All in all, we left feeling very happy. Our bill came to a respectable £58 (this doesn’t include drinks as it is a ‘bring your own’), we were happy to pay that for local, seasonal and delicious food. The thing with Wheelers is that it is not just a fish restaurant, it is literally like eating in your Grandma’s front room, the service was fantastic, the staff were very pleasant and seemed proud of their food – they have every reason to be!

We absolutely recommend to Wheelers to any seafood lover or someone looking for something a little different. The menu only contains seafood, so do remember that if any of your friends dislike seafood or are vegetarian. We are already thinking about booking in again over the summer…

Swan, Chapel Down

Swan is a fantastic chain of three English restaurants. They are situated in West Malling, The Globe theatre near London Bridge and at the Chapel Down Vineyard. We set out to try Swan at Chapel Down winery.

The restaurant looks fantastic and is very inviting, if you are fortunate to have sun when you visit, there is a gorgeous rooftop eating area.

Being in a restaurant at the Chapel Down vineyard and winery, we of course went for a bottle of their staple, Flint Dry. This delicious wine was used at the wedding of Will and Kate and usually retails at around £8 a bottle, we therefore felt that the price of £17.50 a bottle was a little steep given the location. Swan, do however source as much produce as possible from within a 25 mile radius which is something we really appreciate.

When we were seated, we were presented with a complimentary bread board with a delicious olive bread and tapenade. We decided to go for the fantastically priced ‘Garden Menu’ which was £14.95 for two courses and £16.95 for three courses.

I went for a chicken salad to start, the dressing was delicious and I was really impressed with the portion size.

Toby went for a steaming hot bowl of fish soup, again a great portion for a fixed price set menu. Notes of saffron aplenty!

On to the mains, I went for pork and it was amazing.

Toby went for a Barnsley chop, he was not disappointed.

We also could not resist trying the three times cooked chips, Heston would be proud. However, giant and crispy bad boys were satisfying but did not quite live up to the hype for me.

Feeling full, we shared a desert – ‘Strawberry and Elderflower plate’. I was not really too sure what to expect, when it arrived it was essentially a glorified deconstructed eton mess with meringue, fruit, strawberry moose and elderflower jelly. Delicious and light following our starter and main.

We would 100% recommend to Swan to anyone wanting a delicious and classy feeling meal. If you do happen to go to the Swan at Chapel Down, be sure to try all of their delicious English wines and book a tour of the spectacular vineyard!