ABode in Canterbury - restaurant review

PUBLISHED: 16:09 27 July 2010 | UPDATED: 16:02 20 February 2013

ABode Canterbury

ABode Canterbury

Trying to stick to a budget but still crave a bit of luxury? Then head for ABode in Canterbury and enjoy a three-course feast at less than a tenner

We're all time poor and, well, perhaps generally a little poorer than we used to be, so satisfying our need for quality while sticking to a budget is challenging. It's awareness of this that has led ABode Canterbury's executive chef, Mark Rossi, to create an extremely clever new lunch menu at the hotel's prestigious Michael Caines restaurant.

Called Amazing Grace, it offers three courses for just 9.95, or 16 with the sommelier's choice of wine by the glass. And for that bargain price you also get the pleasure of being waited on in an elegantly airy, modern dining room, decorated with tasteful prints, fresh flowers and terracotta artwork.

Mark explains: "We like to leave the mouth wanting one more bite, but as the cooking is so rich and intense, you don't need much on the plate.

"It's very cute cooking - we scale it back to its bare bones, making it ideal for people who need to be in and out in under an hour."

Lingering, however, is definitely encouraged if you have no time constraints, and many of our fellow diners were doing just that. Seating 70 at round or square tables, seats are comfortable leather, there's a nice wooden floor and the lighting is spot on. The short lunch menu - just three choices per course - changes daily or weekly, depending on what is available and in season, and gives a real taste of the kitchen's high-quality cuisine.

Mark Rossi has worked at the restaurant since ABode Canterbury opened, training under TV chef Michael Caines. He's forged strong relationships with local and regional suppliers, making good use of fish and shellfish from ports such as Dover and Rye, as well as Kent beef and Romney Marsh lamb, game in season and seasonal fruit and vegetables.

If budget permits, I'd really advise getting sommelier Leighton Roberts involved, as he's a master at matching food and wine - and he had a few surprises up his sleeve for us, too.

But the proof is in the eating and, more to the point, would The Hungry One be satisfied by a 'grazing' menu? The way he was devouring the admittedly delicious home-made bread definitely had me a bit worried.

Leaving me to enjoy my small but perfectly formed glazed goat's cheese salad surrounded by artistic swirls of colourful dressing, THO plumped for the spring vegetable and herb soup, which really did look like spring in a bowl and was deemed "very nice and creamy, despite the tomato. I'm being very brave about the tomato." Honestly, how brave do you need to be to tackle tiny pieces of tomato?

That hurdle aside, THO's eyes lit up at the sight of his next course, a veritable mini-tower of pork belly, meltingly tender and with the taste of the honey it was glazed in really shining through. Served on a bed of wilted spinach with fondant potato and apple pure, this was a dish that combined eye appeal with great flavours and was well matched by Leighton's choice of a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon.

I naturally went for the pan-fried sea bass for my main, which Mark had paired with Thai pure, as well as Shitake mushroom and a little bit of stir fry as well, which was an unusual approach but one that appealed to my tastebuds and was complemented by a glass of Grenache Ros. And the presentation - it was almost a shame to have to disturb such artistry!

THO had 'bagged' the chocolate brownie as soon as we sat down, so I let him lap up the added calories presented by the accompanying white chocolate and Grand Marnier cream and white chocolate and Mascarpone ice cream. Didn't even get a taste, but the extremely clean plate and satisfied smile told its own tale. He was a little startled to be offered an almost treacly sherry as his pudding wine, but declared it a "perfect match."

I had the apple crumble with vanilla ice cream, which was nicely spicy but a little on the cool side, and I found the butterscotch sauce served in a dinky little jug just too sweet for my palate. A Chenin Blanc dessert wine deftly picked up the taste of the fruit.

So what was the verdict? If you appreciate quality and service, plus the finer things in life, even during your lunch hour, you've definitely come to the right place - but if you're expecting a hearty feast for this price, I'd head for the local chippie.

Michael Caines Restaurant
ABode Canterbury

30-33 High Street
Canterbury CT1 2RX
Tel: 01227 766266

More from Food & Drink

Yesterday, 13:53

It wouldn’t be a British summer without a scone or two, so we’ve teamed up with Rodda’s to offer a luxury cream tea hamper

Read more
Thursday, July 23, 2020

It’s that time again, the Kent Life Food & Drink Awards are open for nominations

Read more
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

There’s nothing like finding a quiet spot in a beer garden with the sound of a river running along beside you. We have picked 10 places to do just that

Read more
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

From 4th July, pubs will be reopening their doors in the first time for months as lockdown restrictions ease. We’ve gathered some must visit pubs in Kent to revisit

Read more
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Three Thanet fishermen are supplying fresh fish and shellfish direct from their boats and delivering them to people across the entire Thanet area

Read more

Kent Life’s 2019 Pub of the Year, the Three Mariners, is living up to its top award by helping its community during these difficult times

Read more
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The farmers’ market has scooped a prestigious award again

Read more
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

‘Kent, sir, everyone knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women,’ proclaims a character in Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers. We have gathered some traditional dishes from around the county that were borne of the fruitful orchards and seas of Kent

Read more
Friday, May 1, 2020

These Kent restaurants are offering delivery and takeaway services during the lockdown – so keep supporting local businesses while enjoying delicious local food

Read more
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

A new small batch craft gin called Cantium, the ancient Roman name for Kent, truly honours its origins

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life