Lifestyle: A Quick Lunch @ Little Joe’s Deli, Canterbury

The guys behind Pork & Co have done it again, and thought up a lovely little spot just around the corner. Despite the menu seeming like a confused jumble of dishes, the slightly confusing set-up and the giant pinball machine taking up half of one of the eating areas, it works. An extremely well-priced and casual place for a quite bite to eat, I can’t wait to get back and try out more!

 photo 2015-11-07 15.21.59_zps01vluscq.jpg photo 2015-11-07 15.07.42_zps93xkjb9h.jpgHaving already bought a pie for dinner I was a little gutted I couldn’t try out their Ham & Pea offering (next time!), so I went with a toastie. As they do seem to make up their toasties in advance they did me a special no-tomato one, but it wasn’t a problem at all – I hate being ‘picky’ in places! I ended up with a Chorizo & Cheese one, with the chorizo being some of the best I’ve ever had. The cheese was stringy and crispy around the edges, with no hint of sogginess at all. I pretty much inhaled the massive portion…

 photo 2015-11-07 15.01.39_zpsvvtbuaxr.jpg photo 2015-11-07 15.01.21_zpsp738kw8g.jpgW went for a Chilli Dog – and I was lucky to get these blurry photos before it disappeared! No complaints from him, and it certainly looked amazing!

I also had some fresh pear juice from the dispenser. Sweet, refreshing and utterly delicious, I wish more places offered it.

 photo 2015-11-07 15.09.41_zps4tq7azxx.jpgFor two supposedly “light” meals and drinks it came to just under £10 for the two of us (I was only charged for half a toastie, as that was what I ordered, but cos they had to make it allergen-free they gave me the whole lot). A complete bargain, and an ideal place to hide from the rain. If you can resist when you walk past Pork & Co of course!

Have you ever been to Canterbury? Where would you recommend visiting?

Restaurant Review: Pork & Co, Canterbury

 photo Shop_zpscb5c96fc.jpgRight at the beginning of the year I remember reading a (Daily Mail, guilty pleasure!) piece about a pulled pork shop that had had to change its slogan due to avoid offending people of the nearby Cathedral. I must’ve been tired or hungry when reading it, as I was completely oblivious to the fact that this shop was in fact due to open in Canterbury. I’m actually pretty distraught as it opened close to exam season (no chance of getting into town then!) and this year, when I’m out on placement as of July and won’t be in Canterbury *sob* until September 2015. Or rather, I hadn’t planned to be, but I think visits to friends and a certain Pork Shop may now be on the agenda…

 photo Pork_zps672be255.jpg photo Cob_zpsb1499cd1.jpgPork & Co really one have one regular thing on their menu, and that’s their Pork Cobs (or Rolls, Buns etc, I’m from Leicestershire and they are cobs!). They are pretty pricey, but the £5 includes a meat stuffed, gravy soaked, apple butter spread cob, and a topping of your choice (I recommend black pudding). Don’t quote me, but I think a slab of crackling is also included, but this may count as your topping! They do occasionally offer another choice – Beef Brisket. At £6 for a Brisket Cob with slaw, its even pricey, but this is definitely my favourite. I also struggle to finish it, so it’s well worth those pennies! Both meats are tender, incredibly flavourful, and just wonderful.

 photo Sauces_zps78c18957.jpg photo Eggs_zps1aba3abc.jpgI highly recommend the hot sauces too! Espeically with the scotch eggs…

 photo Pies_zpsefdaa6dc.jpg
Also available are a variety of sausage rolls and pork pies. I have to say I am particularly taken with the sausage rolls, they are rich, meaty and the pastry doesn’t fall apart and get everywhere (I’m looking at you, Greggs!). The fennel flavour is subtle, but they are really delicious. I’m not sure I can think of an excuse to visit Canterbury soon, but I sure am trying!

 photo Crackling_zpsd615c901.jpgOf course, any Pork shop isn’t worth it’s crackling if they didn’t sell pork scratchings. Now I have two little secrets to tell you;

  1. I went into Pork & Co around an hour after my last exam, devoured a Brisket Cob, and bought five bags of pork scratchings. The guys in the shop laughed. It was pretty embarrassing. But…
  2. I don’t actually like pork scratchings!

Something about the texture just don’t get on with me, but my parents and boyfriend love them, so every time I’ve visited the shop I’ve bulk-bought scratchings. Nearly caused an issue travelling home, as bags in St Pancras were being randomly checked by sniffer dogs… If you’re a scratching fan, I’d highly recommend these. I really wish I liked them!

 photo Slaw_zpscb94e737.jpgI highly recommend Pork & Co if you’re ever in Canterbury – it’s truly a hidden gem! Please note that all of the photos in this post were taken from their Twitter feed, I’ve tried to use only ones they have posted by if I have inadvertently stolen anyone’s please contact me and I will remove it or credit/link the rightful owner!

 photo Pigs_zps776edf3b.jpgBack to the pork…it’s delicious! Moist, meaty, and incredibly messy to eat (don’t wear white, you have been warned…). One of the best things about it is that all the pigs are raised by the people behind Pork & Co themselves – whilst I don’t particularly enjoy looking at the pictures of the pigs (I find them really, really cute!) its lovely to know they are having a brilliant quality of life, and I think that really shows in the quality of the meat. Let me know if you visit Pork & Co!

Have you found any ‘hidden gem’ eateries nearby?

“Restaurant” Review: Chicken Pie at The Goods Shed, Canterbury

 photo IMAG1026_zpsycplbblv.jpgAnother pie-related post for National Pie Week! If you missed my recipe for Shortcrust pastry then you can read it here. This post is a review of the pie I ate a few weeks ago, when I finally visited the Goods Shed in Canterbury. I’ve been aiming to visit the place since I moved here nearly 18 months ago and finally went for a cute ‘date’ on Valentine’s Weekend (prior to going to the Lego Movie in which everything is awesome…)

We were immediately out-priced by the main restaurant, though we’re definitely aiming to go back there for a proper date before I graduate in 2016. After a nice wander round (its not as big as I imagined, but definitely enough to keep my eyes occupied for far longer than the hour we spent there in total!) we decided to give Patrick’s Kitchen a try.

I was really tempted by the Short-Rib Beef Stew (something about short ribs is really, really appealing to me!) but as it contained tomato puree it was a no-go for me! In the end we both went for the chicken pie…

 photo IMAG1027_zpsoqhfbwsk.jpgIt ended up being an amazing chicken pie – rivalling the one from my local butchers (which is a pie I really MUST review for you sometime!). Our pies came with a generous portion of mustard mash, and the most thick and flavoursome gravy I personally have ever eaten. I’d happily eat a bowl of that gravy with some bread!

Now the pie itself! The pastry was very crisp and flaky, but without being dry. It was also spectacularly flavoured, being buttery and well-seasoned.  The filling was wonderful. Great big bits of chicken (you can see them in the photo!) in a herby sauce that was creamy but light. Again well-seasoned – just a fabulous pie. Although the portion looked a little stingy for the (ouch!) £7 each it was deceptively huge, and there were definite “I’m full” groans from both of us afterwards.

 photo IMAG1028_zps9iycwcfp.jpgI’m planning on going back to the Goods Shed very soon to try out the Jonny Sandwich stall (pork belly, onion and caramelised pear sounds good to me!) so please let me know if you want a dedicated post. And if you do visit there at any point, I recommend the pie!

Restaurant Review: Wined and Dined at ABode Canterbury

Now, this post is going to be slightly odd seeing as it’s on a student blog. Decent food (and I mean amazingly good food!) is wayyyy out of my budget, but for my birthday my lovely boyfriend treated me to an rather posh meal at quite an exclusive restaurant; certainly one of the best I’ve eaten in.

Before I start gushing about the food, a little complaint about my age. Nineteen sounds so old! I’m 20 next year, and in just 13 days I’ll have to say “I’m 21 next year” if asked that question. Just as long as, with the help of Loreal, my hair remains blonde, I’m happy.

Right, food.

I was lucky enough to be taken to ABode in Canterbury, a Michelin accredited restaurant in the city centre run by Michael Caines (the chef, not the actor). It is definitely up there with some of the best meals I have eaten; only one other strikes me as being memorable throughout my lifetime. Unfortunately due to restaurant rules I was unable to take photographs of the food, so I’ll just do my best to describe it.

We were warmly, if rather oddly welcomed. It was assumed when we arrived that we weren’t diners, despite our smart dress. I guess they don’t see many of their clientele being students! There was also a confusion with the booking, and as a result the menu we requested was unavailable.

We were seated quickly, and presented with a basket of fresh bread and butter. There were three types of bread; a white with sea salt; a brown with honey; and a sun-dried tomato. I tried the white and the brown, being unable to try the third (although apparently it was good). As this was the first bread I’d had in a good couple of months, I wasn’t in a fit state to take any of it in. It was very, very nice bread.. We made our food choice over the bread, choosing from the set lunch menu.

For me, my starter was probably the highlight of my meal, despite the eyelash it came adorned with. It was a pan-fried fillet of mackerel, served with potato salad and salsa verde. The mackerel was fried to perfection, beautiful crispy skin (no soggy bits at all!) beautifully flavoured, wonderfully salty and almost sweet flesh, and nearly all of the bones removed. I was cautious about the potato salad, but this was nothing like the pot you buy in Waitrose in the summer. This was a three tier tower of tiny diced potatoes, very al dente, with pickled vegetables. I enjoyed the pickled ‘something’ – a flat and very thin disk, which was crispy and well flavoured. I enjoyed the onions, and even the tiny mini-florets of pickled cauliflower. But despite my enjoyment of radishes in other dishes, I really disliked these. Maybe that was me. The entire dish was perfectly balanced, and I really enjoyed it.

My boyfriend’s starter was also very well received. He ordered cauliflower soup nervously; neither of us enjoys that particular vegetable. He was even more nervous when presented with a bowl of, admittedly quite nice looking, cauliflower florets. No soup to be seen. Disaster was averted when it was poured in via a jug at the table. This soup was some of the best soup I’ve eaten. I actually enjoy the taste of cauliflower, it’s the texture that spooks me. Soup is clearly the remedy for that, and I may consider buying it and making some soup next term. The cauliflower ‘croutons’ aside, I’d have happily eaten this.

 

The mains came perhaps a little too swiftly after the starters. But again, I’m being demanding and picky.

My boyfriend fell in love with his dish; pork fillet, with various vegetables, apple sauce, and some kind of jus. It certainly looked pretty, but I personally wasn’t a fan. However, I really dislike fruit in my main course; cranberry sauce with my turkey (and I don’t eat turkey more often that every five or so years) is my limit. For me, this dish was too sweet, but everyone else I witnessed eating it seemed to think differently to me.

My dish was very very close to the standard of my starter, and I really enjoyed it. I had ordered Wild Mushroom Risotto, with a Nutmeg and Parmesan Foam. The risotto was perfectly seasoned, both creamy and light, and the rice was cooked nicely. I would have perhaps liked more mushrooms, or perhaps more mushroom flavour, but I make my own risotto very strongly flavoured, so this is more personal taste. I had always thoughts foams a bit pointless; surely its just a bit air-like, and surely it would get cold quickly. I was wrong. This added a perfect strong flavour, and sort of melted into the risotto, making it even more creamy and luxurious. I would definitely order this dish again! However, one thing let it down; the garnish of cress felt like something a pub-restaurant would add, and for me its bitter flavour spoilt what was otherwise my dream dish.

 

We were left alone for a considerable time before ordering desert, for which I was grateful. We ordered two deserts, with an agreement to halve each. The first was a lemon tart, with raspberry coulis, lemon peel and various other adornments. For me this was a little cloying, but I had fallen in love with our other desert. The second was a white chocolate mousse on hazelnut biscuit with more raspberry coulis. I found this more delicately flavoured, with enough texture to keep it interesting.

 

Having read though my post, it actually doesn’t sound like I am praising the restaurant much – which is not the impression I want to give! In fact, it was by far ahead of many meals I have previously eaten, and definitely on my list to visit again. It was an amazing birthday treat for which I am extremely thankful, and I enjoyed the food immensely. Cress and eyelash aside. And hopefully, I’ll be taken back there again, or to other amazing restaurants (hint hint!)

Square Meal