I suspect there a great deal more of these little gems dotted around Kent and I will happily make my way through visiting all of them. I don’t even recall how I came to hear of The Goods Shed. I suspect that my love-hate relationship with social media may be to thank for the discovery of this particular little wonder. A farmers market – come food court – come restaurant, The Goods Shed presents an assault on the senses. A cacophony of smells, a feast for the eyes, this place is not huge but there are plenty of gems to be discovered.
Located right next to Canterbury West train station, it has charm in abundance. The solid wood structure and open beams in the shed are warm and inviting. While the huge windows throw light over the the twinkling gems inside and bring an open, rustic feel to place.
The Farmers Market
What I love about Farmers Markets is that – done right – it is an opportunity to discover something new and cook in season. It’s also a brilliant way of teaching our kids more about food. The array of colours keep them interested and they can get close enough to see and sometimes feel a variety of textures. My little boy loves prawns and squid and the first stall on entry of The Goods Shed was the fishmonger. Straight away he clocked the raw king prawns. He’s not fazed by the look of them. He knows that they are grey until they are cooked and then we have to take the head and shell off to eat them. Although I haven’t managed to get him to do that yet (I’m the family “peeler”), I am happy that he understands what they look like in the water and how they arrive on his plate. Another big highlight of our visit to The Goods Shed yesterday, was the butchery counter. He was really intrigued by it all and although we got a “eeewww” in response to the pigs ears, he quite proudly relayed to Daddy that he had seen rabbits, pigs ears and tongues. He also had questions about kidneys which was trickier (on the spot anatomy questions are not my forté), but I’m pleased he asks. From my perspective the meat counter was one of the highlights for me too, as there were cuts and poultry that are not always easy to come by fresh, such beef skirt, beef shin and whole rabbits. In terms of fruit and veg, it makes sense that if you want the best, arrive early, as stocks were slightly depleted by the time we got to browse. However there were interesting options available, including the ultra trendy Kale in both regular green and also white.
The Food Hall
It was busy. Most seats were taken, but from what I could see there were some excellent options for light bites and refreshments available. Freshly made sausage rolls, pastries, fresh brownies, sandwiches, a barista and an impressive wine bar ensured an option for everyone. Next visit I’ll definitely partake of these options more.
Given it was a Sunday lunchtime, I think we were lucky to get a table with no reservation. Although there were more tables than I first thought, as the restaurant takes a mezzanine effect above, with outlook across the rest of the “Shed”. The huge windows over look the train station which was a massive hit with my son. The menu was varied but you won’t find your standard roast dinner here. You’ll find better. Namely lamb shoulder with pearl barley and salsa verde, or guinea fowl with wild mushrooms. Both like a big hug on a plate – perfect winter food. I actually went for halibut with mussels and although we had a small issue with the first plate (these things happen), they were very quick to apologise and fix me another, which was delicious. There is no separate kids menu, they simply offer kids sized portion of all their dishes, which is actually really refreshing (if a little tricky). They also offered a kids sausage and dauphinoise potato, which we went for in the end. Although my boys’ favourite thing of the whole meal was the quails eggs we ordered as an appetiser. And what was lovely was we were able to go and buy some fresh quails eggs straight after dinner, for him to take home. I also loved the “feature letter” that was available to read with lunch, the perfect combination of a short story and foodie facts. Perfect with a glass of cold house white wine!
All in all a great little find. A fabulous change to a Sunday roast and perfect for losing a couple of hours on a rainy day.