Sunday, 22 March 2009


Which? Good Food Guide 2009
Spacious and comfortable with a laid back ambience, this solid country pub is well matched by a thoughtful blackboard menu that eschews culinary somersaults in favour of a bedrock of well-executed modern British ideas.

The kitchen relies on a network of local suppliers, but the repertoire is wider in scope, with prosciutto and artichokes rubbing shoulders with a never-off-the-menu crispy duck, smoked chilli salsa and sour cream. Descriptions are refreshingly to-the-point, producing on one dreary winter’s day hearty garlic and thyme-roasted mushrooms on tapenade toast, then braised pork belly with crackling and apple sauce. Fish may be handled quite robustly, too, as when a whole gilthead bream is stuffed with garlic and rosemary and served with purple sprouting broccoli and roast potatoes.

There’s also a good home-made foccacia and desserts such as a ‘perfect’ flourless chocolate cake. Drinkers have their own bar and there’s a blackboard wine list with reasonable choice. House wines start at £11.50. Related to the Sportsman at Seasalter, Whitstable.

My wife and I lunched at the Granville today on spec and had one of the best meals we've eaten since we moved to Kent two years ago. Ambience as already described is cheerful and knowledgeable service and excellent food.

Ah, the food - my wife had pea and mint soup to start, with the flavours clear and vibrant; I had Granville's own bresaola, the best I've ever eaten - perfectly prepared, robustly marinated, and served with shavings of parmesan: you'd better enjoy strong flavours. She had coq au vin as a main course; I had smoked haddock in a mustard grain sauce with crispy, floury potatoes, boiled and briefly deep fried? Both dishes came with cabbage strips, which were crunchy and tasty in their own right - both triumphs in their separate ways. We have some good Gaggia espresso afterwards, too. Oh, forgot to mention the onion bread and fried pumpkin seeds served as an amuse-bouche before the meal - both perfectly done.

It's a Shepherd Neame pub, which is no bad thing in my view, as they're the best brewers around - I had early bird hop ale and my wife a glass of Chilean merlot, which she thought was fully up to standard. The Granville has an open, airy and down-to-earth pub ambience with log fires, games for the kiddies and newspapers for the grown-ups, and on a Tuesday - they don't serve food on Mondays - the clientele was of a certain age, as indeed we are. It's in both the Good Food Guide and the AA Good Pub Guide, with comments on it not being that inexpensive. Quite correctly, the Granville doesn't aim at ‘fine dining’, but judging by the food, it's worth every penny. It’s highly recommended.
(Reviewed by John N L Morrison 10 March 2009)
AA Pub Guide
Named after the Tudor warship, the Granville is a handsome solid building firmly anchored in the ancient village of Lower Hardres, just a five-minute drive from Canterbury city centre. With ample parking, a patio and large beer garden at the rear where summer barbecues take place, this Shepherd Neame pub is an ideal family venue, and dogs too are made welcome.

Nevertheless this is not a place for pub grub. The short but lively menu is designed for sophisticated tastebuds, offering for starters the likes of rock oysters with shallot vinegar, smoked local wigeon (a small wild duck) with mustard fruits, and antipasti. Main courses always comprise three meat and three fish dishes: slow-roast Waterham Farm chicken with truffle cream sauce, and Dungeness brill fillet braised in Macvin and morels are two examples. There is no children's menu as such, but portions from the main menu can be served where appropriate.
rom the same people behind the Sportsman, this modern gastropub is one of the best eating & drinking options in the Canterbury area. There’s a pub bar dispensing Shepherd Neame ales, a leather sofa filled-snug & a main dining room with an open-to-view kitchen.

The blackboard menu is short & to the point, fervent in its dedication to local & seasonal raw materials – so expect the likes of smoked local goose breast & mustard fruits, tender Godmersham venison with chocolate sauce & a superb coq au vin. Nice touches include outstanding homemade focaccia & simple desserts such as poached pear with vanilla ice cream. There’s no doubting the quality of the raw materials & the skill & ambition in the kitchen & it’s all backed up by good, casual service & a decent wine list.
Gourmet Britain
Although still a proper ‘local’, this pub is run by the same team who have the Sportsman at Whitstable (q.v.) – and is worth a detour if wishing to eat in the area. You’ll find wooden farmhouse-style tables and their food offerings displayed on a blackboard; and while the cooking might be called ‘homely’ in presentation, not many people eat at home at quite this standard – even their excellent home-made breads are not to be missed.

Expect the likes of ‘Smoked Mackerel with Potato Salad and Horseradish’; ‘Locally Smoked Widgeon Breast with Herb Salad and Mustard Fruits’ and ‘A plate of Bresaola’ (thinly-sliced cured beef) to begin. Maybe ‘Crispy Duck with Sour Cream and Chili Sauce’; ‘Pork Belly with Crackling & Apple Sauce’ or ‘Gilt-Head Bream with Rosemary and Garlic’ or seasonal game for something more substantial. Desserts include ‘Crème Brulée’; ‘Tart Tatin’, home-made sorbets and the like.
A: Street End, Lower Hardres, Kent, England CT4 7AL 
Google Map 
T: (01227) 700402 


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