My husband and I booked a table for lunch at The Sun Inn, Faversham 3 days before Christmas to meet up with a friend and exchange our Christmas presents. We chose Faversham because it’s midway between our homes and is a pleasant market town with parking right in the centre. The Sun is another Shepherd Neame pub and Faversham is where Shepherd Neame have their town centre brewery and shop. The Sun is located in West Street and has recently taken over a neighbouring property to run as a coffee shop so the business now stretches down the hill through four buildings covering probably three centuries, It is a true `inn`, having twelve bedrooms, some of which are accessed through a door from the restaurant and others through a door in the courtyard. Living so close we’ve only been to the restaurant, but on many occasions. Although the restaurant is quite large and there is also a bar we thought we ought to book as it was so near Christmas, however we needn’t have worried as there were several free tables, probably due to the rise in Covid cases. Consequently there wasn’t much atmosphere on this occasion and the room was a bit chilly (increased ventilation?) and the pale grey decoration didn’t help it feel cosy. The protective screens between the tables were still in place so we felt fairly well protected and most people seemed to be wearing masks when moving around.
We could have booked in advance for a special Christmas lunch but had decided against this but there was roast turkey breast with all the trimmings (£14.95) from the Chefs Specials section of the menu we were given. The menu had the heading `Sun Hotel` and had the usual Shepherd Neame layout – For the Table (breads, olives, houmous etc.), Small Plates from £5.95 to £9.95, Classics included several burgers, fish & chips in two sizes, ham, egg and chips and beef, ale & onion pie, seven Chef’s Specials, including the turkey mentioned previously, steak and also poke bowls that have been common to all the Shepherd Neame pubs I’ve been to in the past year. I ordered a vegan/vegetarian poke bowl on one occasion and it was really good although it took me ages to work my way through a big bowl of pickled red cabbage, sesame seaweed, kale, radish, avocado, carrots, broccoli, roasted butternut squash, toasted pumpkin seeds, warm basmati rice and beetroot falafels (£12.95); there is also a version with fried chicken for £13.95. There was a good selection of Sandwiches and had we just popped in for a snack I would probably have chosen one filled with pork and Biddenden apple sausages and beer braised onions or the Cheddar cheese & pear with spinach and tomato chutney (both £5.95). Also Sides of chips or salad at £2.95 and onion rings at £3.50. After some deliberation I chose two small plates – seared scallops (£9.95) and wild mushroom arancini with a watercress and pickled vegetable salad (£6.95) – which in total cost more than most of the main courses, the dearest sirloin steak (£17.95). Looking back at the menu (which I brought home) this dish isn’t listed and I may have got confused and requested this in error instead of wild mushrooms on toast, as the arancini were part of my husband’s dish. However, that is what I was served and they were very good. My husband had herb marinated chicken supreme with arancini and the salad (12.95) and our friend chose the beef, ale & onion pie (11.95). All the dishes were really delicious. We didn’t have wine on this occasion as two of us were driving although as the only non-driver I had a dry cider and my husband risked half a pint of bitter. The food was really good but the service was a bit slow but we didn’t mind as we wanted the chance for a good chat; I’m sure the current shortage of staff was to blame. The waiter came to clear our plates and glasses but did not ask if we wanted anything else to eat or drink so we had to ask to see the menu again. I was really tempted by the desserts as there were two options labelled `vegan` so I knew they would be dairy free, however my friend only wanted coffee so I ordered one too and my husband ordered the dessert that had tempted me – Indulgent Lotus biscoff slice – which was topped with a baked mousse with fresh fruit and compote. I did try a corner of it and it was gorgeous but as the service was so slow I didn’t like to order one as an afterthought as it would probably have taken ages to come.
The toilets are not in the main building but `outside` in their own old outbuilding in the garden although the path has a roof over it. Since my last visit the Ladies toilets had undergone redecoration in the `modern rustic` style. There is a large paved courtyard with picnic style tables and much of it is covered with an awning; although not a beautiful area it provides much needed extra seating when the weather is warmer. There is a rear pedestrian access to the garden and the pub directly from the public car park behind and this would be the easiest way in for anyone in a wheelchair although it would be wise to telephone in advance to book a table in the bar which is on the level part of the building; there are a couple of steps down to the restaurant.
All in all a very good meal despite the shortage of waiting staff.