Monday, 11 November 2013

The Shakespeare

One of the benefits about taking a week off work to focus on a play is the chance to meet up with friends for lunch who are also involved in the play.  A midweek lunch out in town feels rather decadent and gave me the chance to have a good gossip and also try out The Shakespeare, the new kid on the block.  The original plan had been to go to Chapel Down in Tenterden but I had a vet's appointment in the afternoon and didn't want to risk being too far from Canterbury.
I've heard about The Shakespeare from a few people.  Rachel tweeted me to ask if I had been yet and reviewed it shortly afterwards on her blog.  At a games night a few friends were raving about the burgers and it seems to have a generally good reputation.  It's run by the same people who run The Parrot and Ye Olde Bev, two pubs I have also featured on the blog before.
It used to be the Irish bar in town, Casey's with a bit of a reputation as a student bar with live music but it has had a facelift and a complete menu overhaul and it is rather more grown up these days!  The pub is located on Butchery Lane, which apparently was called Golden Angel Lane until the angel was stolen in the C18.  It has long been a popular destination for wandering minstrels, and as an am-dram girl I was also intrigued to discover that the building, built in 1504, was originally a theatre and is one of the only surviving Tudor examples left after Cromwell had most of the theatres in England destroyed in his puritanical cleanse.
Claire and I popped in at around midday and I'm glad we got there quite early as 30 minutes later the place was packed.
I really like the vibe they have gone for - the courtyard has tried to capture the feel of a Victorian market and the interior feels like a cosy cow shed.   I'm a big fan of the old milk can bar stools!
It is clear that The Shakespeare prides itself on it's food offering; as you walk in the blackboard  proclaims all the local suppliers that provide the ingredients for the menu.  The food choices are extremely appetising, with huge sandwiches and sharing platters on offer alongside traditional British pub food (the seafood board and the butcher's platter were both tempting).  It's proper pub grub that has been given a gourmet twist and it reads extremely well.  The black pudding and smoked bacon croquettes with apple and pear chutney and the salt and vinegar chicken wings both caught my eye but after all the recommendations I had been given, I had to go for a burger.
I chose the classic beef burger in a toasted brioche bun with lettuce, mayo, onion, dill pickle, tomato, coleslaw and chunky chips and I added Sussex goat's cheese and bacon jam, a Shakespeare invention.  It came with tarragon ketchup and was beautifully cooked.  This was one of the best burgers I have ever eaten.
For those of you who like a burger challenge you could go for Shylock's Pound; a double beef steak burger with pulled pork, smoked cheddar, bacon, BBQ sauce and onion rings.  Better come in hungry!
My only criticism of this place is that it seems to be really hard to get food at dinner time.  I can't find any information about their serving hours but friends who tried to eat here said that they couldn't get food after 6pm, which for people who work 9-5  (on paper at least as lets face it, it's more likely to be 8-6.30) just isn't an option.  Hopefully this is just as they get themselves fully established as I know a lot of my friends would love to come here for an evening meal.
The pub is located just off the high street, by the Cathedral so if you are around and doing the tourist stuff in Canterbury you should consider checking it out for a meal.  I promise you won't be disappointed!


  1. This is not helping with my jealousy that you guys went to this place! Salivating. Lunch there to be arranged.

    1. I could have my arm twisted into returning for lunch soon!