Review: Deakin’s, Canterbury
An eatery in Canterbury that is both pub and dining room, perfect for private party hire and ideal to take the kiddies - napkins at the ready!
When a new restaurant comes to town, we long-suffering folk at Muddy really like to take one for the team by testing them out for you. Deakin’s opened its doors in Canterbury in December at the end of last year so we knew that we absolutely could not let you down and rather nobly, we endured a delicious slap-up meal on your behalf and here is the lowdown:
Deakin’s is centrally located in the Cathedral Quarter of the city at the corner of Palace, Guildhall, & Sun Streets just steps from the historic Canterbury Cathedraland at the start of the King’s Mile so a thriving place to be in terms of new and fantastic independent businesses that have recently set up shop in the area such as Fabrics in Canterbury, Whirlygig Toys and mutts’ paradise, Dog Store.
Street side tables line both sides of the restaurant meaning it is the place to be for people watching particularly come 9pm when the steady stream of scantily clad university girls parade their flesh past you on their way OUT OUT. Nothing smacks more of being middle-aged than muttering at your husband, as you sip your spiced butternut squash soup with toasted pumpkin seeds, about the state of the youth of today’s attire. Note to self: less is more (apparently).
Formerly a draper’s shop, Deakin’s is a very welcoming spot and is not only a pub and dining room but also houses a bakery and coffee house. They make all their own bread on site and rumour has it that their homemade peach and amaretto cake sells out on a regular basis. I shall be making my way to the front of that line.
Deakin’s ticks a lot of boxes on the vibe front – think pine-scrubbed tables, industrial lighting and pretty posies in glass jars on the table. It’s the kind of place where you could go with a large group of friends or enjoy a cozy night out with your other half if you are not too busy gawping at the local wildlife parading past and regretting your sensible shoe option.
The upstairs roof terrace overlooking Guildhall Street is an absolute winner. Of course, we had booked our meal for the really rainy night post the big April sunshine spell but we still had to try it out for an early evening cocktail pre-dins and it did not disappoint. In fact, the entire top floor is a great spot for private hire (up to 80 people) so one to note for future events.
SCOFF & QUAFF
Onto the main event – for pre-dinner drinks, I can wholeheartedly recommend The Hugo (gin, elderflower, mint, cucumber and soda) which is a best-seller at Deakin’s while my husband opted for Little Bird gin with slice of grapefruit and tonic. Like any good drinking establishment these days, the bar has a nicely stocked gin bar with all the brands paired with different garnishes. Carounn gin with recommended match of red apple has been noted for my next visit.
One of the particularly good things about Deakin’s menu is that it is small. I am hopeless with food decisions when presented with an extensive list of options often resulting in a panic decision of a cheese omelette when the waiter comes around. You also know with a small menu that they are (hopefully) going to do it well since the kitchen will be well-rehearsed in all the dishes.
Afore-mentioned soup was my starter and was a spicy and warming accompaniment to the rainy night outside. Had it been sunnier, buffalo mozzarella, red quinoa, marinated tomato, chilli, lemon and rocket would have got my vote. My husband (as I predicted) went for Chicken Liver parfait with onion marmalade and homemade brioche and was perfectly executed.
For mains, my husband selected Old spot pork belly, buttered kale, crushed swede and caramelized apple pureé and I following my head (be healthy be healthy) chose Whole grilled plaice, cockles, samphire, new potatoes, parsley & lemon but I really should have just let my stomach dictate proceedings and gone with the Truffle mac & cheese, wild mushrooms with brioche crumb. Husband was delighted with the pork but while my fish was nicely cooked, too much sauce had been added to the plate so it did appear as if it was going for a little swim. Lesson learnt: choose lard over lean in the future. However green beans with toasted almonds and gem lettuce, radish, shallot and mint salad were nutritiously delicious so I filled my boots on them.
We HAD to go with puddings of course in the name of research and as the Canterbury tart was off the menu, I put my face (again on your behalf) into a hot chocolate pudding with salted caramel ice cream instead while my husband finished his night with a platter of farmhouse and artisan cheese, chutney and biscuits. Nothing wow factor here but all very tasty and slipped down the gullet very nicely indeed. Probably helped by a bottle of Chablis that we had ordered earlier.
OUT & ABOUT
As previously mentioned, there is plenty of attractive outdoor seating on the pavements outside and on a sunny day, I bet Deakin’s is the one of the best spots in Canterbury to while away an afternoon with a coffee and slice of cake or something a little racier up on the roof terrace.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: large groups of people due to enormous dining space especially family gatherings as there is a very good kiddie menu and lots of high chairs on tap, drinks on the roof terrace on a sunny day is a must, people watching from one of the tables in the restaurant window plus of course the private hire option upstairs for big events.
Not for: high-end gastro experience – although we enjoyed our meal, the vibe leant towards down-to-earth fayre rather than haute cuisine. But who wants food served on a silver platter?
The damage: Starters are pretty much in line with other gastro-pub/restaurant fayre at approx. £6 a dish but I was little surprised at the cost of the mains particularly as we needed to order side dishes. Pork Belly was £16 and Whole Plaice was £15.50 with side dishes at £3.50 a pop. Puddings were around the £6 mark.