Canterbury, where I live, has many restaurants, cafes, pubs and take-away food outlets; as city centre shops close they are being replaced with yet more places to eat. Although anyone coming to Canterbury for a short break will have no difficulty finding an `eaterie` to suit them I thought I would give my views on independent restaurants and pubs where I’ve enjoyed the food (most people know the sort of things popular chains provide).
I’m starting with a seafood restaurant called Chapman’s as I really like fish. It is housed in an old building in busy St Dunstan’s, between Westgate Tower and Canterbury West station. If arriving by car there are plenty of car parks and two Park and Ride sites but don’t expect to find free parking nearby; there is some roadside parking if you know where to look but it’s a bit of a walk. For about 30 years, up until 2020, Chapman’s was run by an independent Kentish fish wholesaler and I don’t know why we never went there during that time. We finally ate there earlier this year when we booked a table for lunch one Friday. It is only open from Wednesday to Saturday and for fewer hours on Wednesday and Thursday (check the website for times). I would say it is best to book, especially at the weekend and in the evenings. The interior is modern minimalist – pale grey, blue and white with wood floors. There is another room on the 1st floor which I think is used for groups and private parties. It was quiet when we arrived so I managed to take one photograph of the interior before it filled up.
There was a Specials Board written on a mirror, which I somehow managed to miss until the waiter pointed it out to me; the staff were all very pleasant and helpful. I had my usual choice of Sauvignon Blanc to drink and we ordered mini loaves with smoked butter from the While You Wait section of the menu; they were very nice but we were later served more mini loaves with some of the other dishes so unless people have a healthy appetite they might want to choose something different as an appetiser. I didn’t know what to expect but ordered crab gratin from the Small Plates section, which was tasty, if a bit runny. I followed it with battered haddock from the Large Plate section. This comes on its own so you can order any of the Sides to accompany it. I liked this freedom of choice as a plate of fish and chips usually defeats me because of the size. My husband ordered fillet of hake in a mushroom cream sauce and we shared a bowl of skin on fries, some hassleback potatoes and tenderstem broccoli: I see from the current menu that side dishes are £4.95 or 3 for £13. After my small and large plates I couldn’t manage anything else, which was probably just as well because the desserts cost from £7.50 to £9.50, and a selection of cheeses is £14.95.
The menu also has a sections for Oysters Three Ways and Lobsters and Sharing Platters. Meat eaters are catered for too, with Scottish Wagyu beef burgers or steaks. There’s a take-away evening menu that can be collected in person or delivered by Deliveroo. It’s a restaurant that has joined our growing list of favourite places to eat.