Age: 18. It’s come of age, in fact.
Where exactly is it? Right by Canterbury West station. From the London train, tumble out of the carriage and you’re there.
OK. So what goes on there? Like Borough Market in SE1, this is one of the longest running farmers’ market-style venues in the country. In fact, it’s something of a microcosm of Borough, with its artful stalls piled high with seasonal veg, cheese and bread counters, as well as meat and fish counters. Three or four eating and drinking options abound too, from artisan café to elegant cocktail bar.
What should I eat? For the full experience it has to be the elevated main restaurant, under the attractive vaulted ceiling. Daily plates are chalked up on a board, with some good flavours on our last visit: tempura broccoli came pimped up by the savoury thwack of crab mayo; buttery scallops with smooth green lettuce sauce and lardo; and tender squid with barley salad, although all three were a little lukewarm. Elsewhere a game terrine was solidly flavourful, aided by the crunch of celeriac slaw, while the finest dish was roasted squash with an umami-packed combo of onion, capers and goats curd, topped with crispy sage.
The interior: discuss. Delightful: the mezzanine restaurant stretches almost the entire length of the distressed brick of the former railway shed, with suitably industrial views over the tracks. The kitchen is visible at the far end.
And what do I drink? A house red was decent, and there are naturally all manner of Kentish beers and ciders, too.
What’s the service like? It’s still difficult times, of course, for hospitality, and it felt a tad under-staffed (a departed table-for-six behind us, for example, lay uncleared throughout). But overall this place is – and deserves to be still regarded as – a Kentish classic: there’s no denying its sheer wow factor for a special meal, in unique surroundings.