Situated in a former 16th Century Coach House, The Corner House in Canterbury fuses the old with the new. Overlooking the city walls, the refurbished restaurant retains aspects of its historical past with exposed brickwork and wooden beamed ceilings. Yet the stylish décor, including parquet flooring and a mirrored wall, plus atmospheric lighting bring the interior right into the 21st Century.
After several centuries as a public house, the Corner House Canterbury was purchased by Kent-based Restaurateur, Matt Sworder, to add to his award-winning restaurant Corner House Minster, located just outside Ramsgate in North-East Kent. In addition to the restaurant, you can also extend your visit overnight, in one of the three elegant en-suite bedrooms on offer.
On arrival, we were shown straight to our candle-lit table by the extremely polite staff and brought some fresh homemade bread. One look at the menu shows an eclectic mix of dishes yet there is a certain comforting seasonal feel. Sharing platters are very much to the fore, with the option being present in all three courses.
For starter, we had the wild garlic and potato soup and the duck ham with a celeriac, apple and walnut salad – the starter sharing board consisted of sausage rolls, proper pork scratchings, chicken liver parfait and terrine. The soup was a wonderful deep-green colour and the garlic was subtle so not to over-power the flavour. The duck ham was beautifully cured to give a rich gamey flavour.
To accompany the meal, The Corner House has an extensive drinks menu, including cocktails, wines, beers, ciders and their “seven deadly gins” – a good proportion of which are sourced from local breweries, vineyards and distilleries. Again, compliments must go out to the staff on their knowledge and assistance in selecting a charming bottle of rose.
Main course options include sharing platters of Romney Marsh lamb, rabbit or ribeye steak. However, we selected the individual ribeye steak with triple cooked chips and homemade ketchups and a chicken, ham and mushroom suet pudding. Although with mussels, pork belly and pigeon wellington also on the menu, as well as vegetarian options, the choice was again a tough one. The steak was wonderfully tender and cooked to a perfect medium/rare – the homemade tomato ketchup was a gem in its own right. The suet pudding was pure comfort food. It was packed with filling and flavour and extremely satisfying.
Despite being suitably content after two courses, there was no way we were going to skip on dessert. It was here when the sharing board really came into its own. Everything on the dessert menu was a viable option and truly no way of selecting a single dessert. Gypsy tart, lemon posset, white chocolate cheesecake and homemade honeycomb ice cream all on a single board, with two spoons – pure heaven. This was a perfect end to a beautiful meal.
A cosy, comfortable atmosphere, welcoming friendly staff and top-quality food and drink, the Corner House in Canterbury is a welcome addition to the historic city and it should not be long before it matches its sister restaurant with award-winning status.