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Travel-Eating in Kent: The Goods Shed Farmers Market & Restaurant, Canterbury [Restaurant Review]

Friday, 11 September 2009

Reviewed by The Wild Boar

In Canterbury, although the cathedral was quite impressive, it wasn’t really the main thing I came for. Jay Rayner had recommended eating at The Goods Shed, and that was enough to make me choose this place for lunch (I didn’t actually bother finding alternatives).

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Located very near the train station (for people keen on making day trips for good meals perhaps), the restaurant was located on a raised platform overlooking a market selling local foodstuffs (I bought some fig balsamic vinegar, very nice). These informal surroundings, with a constant buzz and chatter in the air from shoppers gave the place a lively feel. The menu was written in chalk above the bar, presumably as the content changed daily.

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The ladies each had an apple, lime and ginger juice, made fresh. I felt it was a bit like uncarbonated ginger ale, which was a bit of a disservice according to the PigPig, but I’m not a big fan of ginger drinks. My mate opted for a pear, mint and lime juice, which was nice and minty, but a bit too sour for me.

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Large chunks of brown and white bread, although not warm, was still obviously fresh, not the relics of yesterday, and was delicious to eat.

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As I didn’t have breakfast, I chose a starter of smoked trout, soft boiled egg on brown toast as this seemed like a good chance to make up for that. Individually, each component was nothing special but prepared well and combined together synergistically into a well made dish.

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smoked trout, soft boiled egg on brown toast

The PigPig chose a courgette, pea and flower marie (a type of cheese) risotto. I found the taste quite mild, but the PigPig felt this allowed one to taste the vegetables better.

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courgette, pea and flower marie risotto

Probably the starter of the day was the scallops with bean salad and bacon. The bacon was very crispy and delicious, one just needed to ignore the fat content of it. The scallops were also juicy, fresh and cooked just right (the Borough Market stall tends to produce rubbery scallops) while the dressing from the bean salad provides a slight sour zing.

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scallops with bean salad and bacon

The bread came in handy to sop up the tomato and basil soup. Again, I found this a bit on the sour side but my companions quite enjoyed it.

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tomato and basil soup

After a couple of days eating fish, I couldn’t help myself when I saw the steak option on the menu this time. I was quite happy with it too; the prime aged rib-eye was cooked medium rare to order with a little bit of pink in the middle but not oozing any blood. The glop of mushroom pate was nice, but a bit weird with the steak for me. Also a bit weird was the steak sitting in a broth, nice though it was (I asked for a spoon to finish up the beefy juices).

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Prime aged ribeye steak with mushroom pate

An inspired choice was made by the PigPig for the hake fillet with brown shrimp and crab dressing. The hake was grilled separately to confer a crispy skin then plated onto a broth that was full of the sweet shrimp and crab flavour.

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hake fillet with brown shrimp and crab dressing

The wild sea bass with cherry tomatoes and anchovies was cooked quite similarly to the hake, just with a different broth. It was just as nice to eat as the hake, although the bones in the bass freaked out the PigPig a bit.

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wild sea bass with cherry tomatoes and anchovies

For my constipated friend, the vegetable platter came in an astonishing two plates using some ingredients used in other dishes. For example it had the same risotto the PigPig had, and there were also several slices of the marrow to be found in our main courses. I didn’t find it very exciting personally.

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vegetable platter

Along with the desserts, we wanted to try a glass of honey mead. The alcohol beverage wasn’t misnamed, as the aroma of honey was strong enough to Winnie the Pooh from his forest.

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honey mead

Berries are very much in season now, so we had a summer fruit sabayonne with plenty of raspberries (both red and black) and strawberries. The sabayonne (= zabaglione) had a touch of the blowtorch applied to give it a slight twist to an otherwise slightly boring dish.

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summer fruit sabayonne

The lemon posset was one of the nicer ones we had recently, with just the right balance of sweetness and sour zing.

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lemon posset

Another traditional British dessert, the treacle tart had a very distinct caramelised aroma to it which went very well with the accompanying ice cream.

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treacle tart

The obligatory chocolate cake, an island in a lake of cream, was very rich and creamy. Quite sinful really.

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chocolate cake

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Altogether, the bill came up to £35 per person including tips (service charge wasn’t included). The waitresses were chirpy and cheerful throughout, although they seemed a bit understaffed on a bank holiday weekend.

Food - 6.5
Service - 6.0
Atmosphere - 6.0
Value - 6.0

Overall, the food was done very nicely with minimal elaboration, very much to-the-point rather than beating around the bush. The ingredients used were good quality, fresh, and used appropriately in the dishes without being overpowered. I would recommend this place as a no-fuss restaurant serving tasty food at a reasonable price.

Would I eat here again? The next time I’m within a 20mile radius.

The Goods Shed
Station Road West
Tel: +44(0)1227 459 153
Official website

Goods Shed on Urbanspoon

Check out:

Weekend Trip to Kent (Dover, Broadstairs & Canterbury) --> HERE

Travel-Eating in Kent: The Sportsman*, Seasalter [Restaurant Review] --> HERE

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