Spotlight on Canterbury's The Goods Shed, Rustic Chic

PUBLISHED: 13:54 03 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:17 20 February 2013

Spotlight on Canterbury's The Goods Shed, Rustic Chic

Spotlight on Canterbury's The Goods Shed, Rustic Chic

For super-fresh food, straight from the market onto your plate, Canterbury's The Goods Shed <br/>is a unique and very special place for dining...

For super-fresh food, straight from the market onto your plate, Canterburys The Goods Shed

is a unique and very special place for dining

For super-fresh food, straight from the market onto your plate, Canterburys The Goods Shedis a unique and very special place for dining

The Goods Shed next to Canterbury West Stationis not quite my local, which means I dont get there as often as

I would like, as I am definitely an aficionado. Its a unique place for dining, with the market stalls onthe lower level of this restoredand revamped goods shed.

The dining area is on an upper level, its bar overlooking the shoppers coming in to select some of the best produce of Kent. Scrubbed pine tables are complemented by an array of miscellaneous chairs, some salvaged from churches. Each table has a fresh flower tucked into a small bottle. The ceilings arch away from diners, their beams visible. Rustic chic at its best.

The Goods Shed was the brainchild of Susanna Atkins who, some 10 years ago, set about restoring this beautiful building, turning it into a successful Farmers Market that brings in the best produce from miles around. Add in a brilliant baker and some great Kentish cheeses on sale and youve definitely got a must place to visit.

A restaurant was also set up and chefs Blaise Vasseur and later Rafael Lopez, who now also manages the restaurant, create a variety of beautiful dishes using the produce from the market itself,

Rafael has good contacts, not only with the producers on the stalls in

The Goods Shed but also with farmers in the area, including Di Smith, whose Dexter cattle are renowned. Rafael works with Simon the Fish in the market below and some of his fish will come from Folkestone and Rye.

Vegetables are from the marketand also from Richard Ovenden,who supplies the potatoes, carrotsand all the main veg. He also uses Patrick Brockmans biodynamicfarm at Garlinge Green.

Rafaels wines have lately been modified to include light and crisp wines supplied by Clive in the market; Corney and Barrow also supply the house wine and some top-end wines. Its a nice list, from the house wine at 14 up to a good Merlot at 44.

The local beers are excellent, including the tasty Leviathan, but you can also get a wonderful range of vegetable juices. My companion chose an apple, celery and mint juice, which was lovely flavours change to reflect the seasons, with the addition of some tropical fruits such as lime.

The menu itself changes an astonishing twice a day. I chose a tart with caramelised onions, mushrooms and Kentish Blue with a hazelnut dressing, which certainly took the appreciation of pie to a new height.

My companion loved her suckling ham hock with leek and Gouda gratin, though I warn you that portions are so generous, when it came to pudding we had to ask for quarter portions...

For our mains, I enjoyed delicious hake, served with an intense crab, saffron and Armagnac dressing and accompanied by my favourite purple sprouting broccoli, plus potato and cabbage. My companion went for the venison haunch, lentils, bacon and chocolate vinegar, which she found interesting, but regretted not going with chefs recommendation of having it served pink, not well done.

For dessert my companion loved her treacle tart with whipped cream and orange syrup, while my curd cheesecake with vanilla ice creamwas delicious but perhaps missed a hint of citrus to set it off.

I really cant recommend The Goods Shed enough and it has the added bonus of course that you can do your food shopping after your meal!

The Essentials

Where:The Goods Shed, Station Road West, Canterbury CT2 8AN01227 459153

What:Contemporary European with a particular eye to the seasonal

Whats the damage:Starters 6-8.50, mains 16-26, desserts 6.50, cheeseboard 8.50

When:Tue-Sun 8am-10.30am, lunch 12pm-2.30pm (3pm at weekends),

6pm-9.30pm. Book Tue, Fri, Sat and Sun

Manager and head chef, Rafael Lopez

Tell us a bit about yourself

I studied in Cordoba and worked in restaurants at weekends and holidays, including ski resorts. Later on I came to Brighton, working at the Metropole Hotel, Bushby and Richards, where I met Enzo, The Goods Shed baker. When he was invited to join Susanna Atkins here, I came with him to bake and became head chef when Blaiseleft 18 months ago.

Whats your signature dish?

I have about 10. One of my favourites is hake with razor clams and aioli; we also have a popular braised ox check with parsnip pure and wild mushrooms. Im developing a goats curd cheesecake with raisins and poached rhubarb.

Your top cookery tip for readers?

Go to the market and pick what is in season: dont always follow the recipe, but do put your own flair into it.

Who has influenced you most?

Blaise was my mentor, as was Fergus Henderson, whose approach was to tailor eating, for instance, not just using the main cut of meat. We try to use the whole animal: shin, heart, belly. Right now Im using cinnamon, but come summer Ill use tomatoes and aubergines, which will take a lamb Navarin to a different level of richness.

For super-fresh food, straight from the market onto your plate, Canterburys The Goods Shedis a unique and very special place for dining

Rustic restaurantsin your area

The Allotment

9 High Street, Dover CT161DP

01304 214467

Using home-grown soft fruits, salads, herbs and vegetables, plus produce supplied by local allotment holders, everything at Dave Flynns airy, contemporary restaurant is as fresh as it could be. Meat comes from butchersin Aylesham, fish from Folkestone Trawlers, the short but excellent wine list is personally selected by Dave.

Open: Tue-Sat, 8.30am-11pm, breakfast served until 11.30am

The Marquis at Alkham

Alkham Valley Road, Alkham,

nr Dover CT15 7DF

01304 873410

Alkham village might suggest genteel olde England at its most rural and unspoiled, but this strikingly contemporary restaurant with rooms is anything but twee. Head chef Charlie Lakins seasonally inspired and locally sourced menus are as fresh as theyare imaginative, and the elegant 21st- century styling is exceptional. There are just five starters and mains and three puddings (dont miss chefs legendary souffls), but trust me, youll still find it almost impossible to choose.

Open: Tue-Sat 12-2.30pm, Mon-Sat 6.30-9.30pm, Sun lunch 12-6pm

The Secret Garden

Mersham-le-Hatch Business Village

Hythe Road, Ashford TN25 5NH

01233 501586

Winner of the 2010 Restaurant of the Year category in the Taste of Kent Awards, the menu changes every day at this attractive place with a large walled garden and cobbled courtyard. Priding itself in using excellent local seasonal food at all times, suppliers include Biddenden Vineyards and Chapel Down Winery, S W Doughty, Foodari, Bank Farm, The Mersham Shoot, Griggs of Hythe, Moors Apple Juice, Shepherd Neame, Winterdale Cheese Makers, Ramsgate Brewery, Appledore Salads and Simply Ice Cream.

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