Try this for starters – The Duke William, Ickam
I don’t get overly excited about pubs, probably my childhood haunting me. Beer bellies, cigarettes and sticky bar tables really never floated my boat. We all know how things have changed since then as pubs can now be pleasant places to hang out on a Sunday afternoon with the family without feeling the need to pour the local beer down your throat.
Ickham is a cute village nestling just on the edge of Canterbury. The Duke William probably looks like any other ordinary pub until you step inside. This lovely place is owned by the celebrity and Michelin-starred chef Mark Sargent.
Once inside I immediately noticed the lush walls covered in Farrow & Ball, fur throws thrown over the benches and a gorgeous roaring fire. This is more than enough to draw me inside. If anyone is lucky enough to get a glance of sunshine there is also a lovely beer garden. This will all do nicely. Every corner of the pub is has either a unique picture, candles or board games if you fancy the challenge of scrabble or Crayons with colouring books for the children, lovely. If the kids are happy then that makes us happy parents too.
I glance over the menu: potted Dungeness shrimps, Battered Walmestone courgette flower salad, lemon sole, sea trout, steak – all local and seasonal produce serviced with a few frills. Maybe this can be a challenge too far if you’re wedded to pie and mash, if not, then it’s paradise on a plate.
I felt several degrees warmer reading the menu. I ordered two starters (rude not to) shrimps and pâté – warm sour bread, yes this is heaven! I was tempted on the third but maybe my inner goddess will tempt me to put my cooking skills to test over the next few days.
I normally play it safe with the main course, usually a chicken breast, couldn’t possibly go wrong so I decided I’d be brave and try out the lamb neck curry. Could it be tasteless or possibly have the texture of a tin of cat food? Nope, the curry was gorgeous, a generous portion size which left me only guilty I’d already stuffed myself with the two starters! The rice was cooked to perfection. A little chutney and popadoms would have been the final touch.
The desserts followed the same philosophy as the main: simple, tasty with lots of local produce. Always lovely to see, Kentish this and Kentish that. Kent gooseberries and apple crumble is always a winner, this dish was clearly made with love! Did someone mention doughnuts? They’re a must!
I love the puddings in this establishment…
I can’t comment on the wines, I’m not a massive wine drinker. Instead I enjoyed a glass of champagne, just a small one as I was driving that day. However, if you do fancy indulging don’t forget to check at the Dukes very own rooms for the night.
Any flaws? I’d change their coffee machine, or am I just hooked on the Pret latte? Either way I didn’t enjoy the coffee – sorry guys. Ah yes one last thing, coffee should be served with a homemade biscuit or truffle. This just a adds to my gluttonous behaviour. Did someone mention the gym?
The Street, Ickham, Kent CT3 1QP
Telephone 01227 721308