Paying homage to the hotel’s extensive history, The Abode restaurant takes its name from the original name established for the hotel in 1892. Situated within the heart of Canterbury, it is an easy location to get to for drinks after work to a fancy night stay after a trip to the theatre.
In order to give a customer a fantastic experience, the experience should start the moment the customer enters the restaurant. It’s really all about getting a myriad of things right, including attention to detail and sadly, the moment you walk in, you’re left to your own devices. Well, certainly on this occasion.
Once you enter you are faced with someone behind a front desk, a champagne bar to your right and a large lobby/hallway leading to another part of the restaurant. It’s not obvious where you need to go though and in order to get to where you require, you might need some help and guidance along the way. There is no menu outside to whet your appetite and you are forced to enter to enquire about a menu which is in the restaurant, and not in the lobby. If it’s not for you, nine times out of ten you’ll feel obliged to stay because you’re already in the restaurant and might feel too sheepish to walk away. The Abode is a fine-dining experience coupled with a good wine list, a pianist and waiters dressed in crisp white shirts and with this, you expect a fine welcome but yet the moment you walk in, it simply isn’t the experience you get. On this occasion.
We hadn’t booked a table, so expected that on a Sunday we might not be able to dine at such a popular place but after finding our way through to the main restaurant, we are eventually greeted with someone who showed us a menu, explained we’d have a fifteen minute wait and told us to come back. We were happy enough but surprised to not be shown a place to sit and have a drink, and instead wandered around a few shops before heading back to the restaurant.
Once sat down, we were given a wine list. I’m not a big wine drinker and neither is Mark so we had to wait until the waiter came back to take our order to ask to see a separate menu. Eventually, after around fifteen minutes, we received our drinks.
The decor is dated. The once shiny chocolate shaded chairs are now a dull shade of brown with marks clawed over them, the wood panels around the restaurant are marked and dust lingers all around and the cutlery has definitely seen better days. Overall though, the restaurant interior isn’t too bad. It just could do with a little TLC.
Whilst the interior is average, the food is not. It’s so lovely when you stumble upon a well-priced set menu that you know is going to come with a few whistling bells and it’s equally just as lovely when the kitchen delivers little unexpected goodies such as handmade baked bread with salted butter. Things start kicking off when the starters arrive. Beautiful Loch Duart cured Salmon discs with mooli, squid ink soil and a miso mayonnaise. Whilst utterly delicious and melt in the mouth, there could definitely have been more of the miso mayonnaise to compliment the size of the salmon.
A main of pan roasted cod served with samphire, a delicious Thai puree and a lemon grass foam. I ordered a delicious side of creamy truffle pomme puree which was definitely a good idea due to the portion size of the cod because without it, I think the main would’ve been fairly lacking in texture.
Then swiftly on to the standout pudding which is a chocolate and coffee delice with a cocoa nib briselet and a divine milk sorbet. The dish was simple, extremely pretty with a high attention to detail and a wonderful flavour of deep dark chocolate mixed with a hint of beautiful coffee. Couple this with the beautiful milk sorbet, you’re on to a total winner.
This is a restaurant designed for elongated lunches for friends and partners, a place where dishes are certainly indulgent and flavoursome and with lovely little touches along the way. There are certainly improvements to be made; the service is good but slow and the interior could do with a refresh but all in all, a good dining experience and for the cost of £25 for a 3 course meal, it’s definitely worth a visit.
30-33 High St, Canterbury CT1 2RX