Pub review: The Tyler's Kiln
PUBLISHED: 11:12 18 October 2016
Manu Palomeque 07977074797
There's a touch of theatre at this transformed village pub that has taken Kent by storm. Words by: Sarah Sturt. Pictures by: Manu Palomeque
All is not quite as it seems at The Tyler’s Kiln pub. Tapestry screens and paintings roll up to reveal TV screens, snatches of poetry appear as if by magic across wooden panels, even the vagaries of the English weather are not an issue if you’re at a table in the pretty garden: a touch of a button and you can command your own canopy and heating and stay out in comfort.
The creative vision of young entrepreneur Allister Collins, who sold an internet business to pursue his interest in property, the former Ivy House was closed for a year before the rescue party arrived. An investment of £1m-plus and two and a half years later, the totally refurbished village pub reopened in January, with a new identity and name that celebrates Tyler Hill’s medieval brick-making past. You’ll find hand-made tiles (many made by Allister himself using clay dug up when the front extension was being built) and motifs throughout public areas.
No expense has been spared with the interior design, even in the Victorian-style toilets, which have ornate radiators, hands-free taps and a discreet panel you can tap with your foot to exit without touching a door handle.
There’s a lovely snug with an acoustic baffle and a couch to snuggle up on and watch a movie on the big-screen TV. A function room has walls that can be see-through or opaque, while in winter log-burning fires and a selection of board games lend traditional appeal to the cosy main bar. You can even buy staples such as bread, milk and local jam, an idea introduced when the village shop closed down; meat is from Jim’s Family Butchers in Whitstable, herbs are grown in the rear garden, where every inch is used.
Allister has also just bought a piece of land ‘up the road’ and plans to have his own pigs, chickens and lambs and grow a lot of their own fruit and veg and herbs. That’s a project for 2017, as is the conversion of the next-door house into a five-bedroom B&B with en suite rooms.
Appetite sharpened, I joined my chum in the dining area of the main bar and was soon very glad I’d not had time for lunch: portions are huge.
I chose one of chef’s favourites (mine too) to start: fat, juicy scallops on a bed of creamy sweetcorn purée, with a perfectly cooked quail’s egg and crispy, salty bacon as contrast. A winning combination and beautifully presented.
Across the table whipped goat’s cheese with candied beetroot, caramelised walnuts and a balsamic dressing was being equally enjoyed.
To drink we had crisp Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and refreshing Kingsdown Rhubarb sparkle.
I didn’t think my starter could be bettered, but my seabass (also a chef’s favourite) on a bed of meltingly gorgeous aubergine, chargrilled peppers, skin-on potatoes, topped with mango and chilli salsa, was up there with the greats.
Making up for a light beginning to her feast, chum was next presented with a vast wooden board bearing a “melt-in-the-mouth perfect” steak, courtesy of butcher Jim, tomatoes on the vine, a cheesy garlic Portobello mushroom and ‘proper’ goose fat-cooked chips. Terrific stuff.
Could puddings live up to all this? Yes they could. My creamy vanilla panna cotta came with delicious caramelised walnuts, warm poached strawberries and juicy blackberries, while the light and sugary shortbread accompanying chum’s lemon posset earned her highest praise.
With music by The Killers in the background, informed service by friendly local youngsters and most definitely a great team in the kitchen, this is a pub to watch – and to return to often.
Where: The Tyler’ Kiln
27 Hackington Road, Tyler Hill, nr Canterbury CT2 9NE
01227 471912 or ku.oc.nliksrelyteht@suotklat
What: Welcoming, family (and dog) friendly pub with a twist
When: Mon-Sat lunch 12pm-3pm, Tue-Sat dinner 5.30pm-9pm, Sun lunch 12pm-4.30pm
How much: Fish pie £12.50, confit pork belly £17.50, gourmet burger £11.95