Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

What did the family think of Bill’s, Canterbury?

Feb 26, 2024 #Bill's #Canterbury #Kent
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Until last week, I’d not set foot in a branch of Bill’s for a long time. I think the last time I went was when we were back in Bristol and I was one of the judges in the Bristol Good Food Awards, and I honestly wasn’t that impressed.

That was probably eight or nine years ago, though. We were in Canterbury, Kent, for a family day out and one of our party eats here regularly. It was time to give it another go.

It’s a place that certainly looks attractive from the outside, with its beautiful light blue paintwork and pink flourishes – and that translates to the interior, too.

 

 

Downstairs there’s an attractive bar to sit and drink at, and a cosy dining room that had a real buzz. It’s a place that feels relaxed and happy, yet smart enough for a celebratory meal.

There’s a further, even more spacious, dining room upstairs too, along with the toilets (which were highly exciting to my son because of the framed pictures of retro ice lollies and biscuits on the walls)

 

 

 

I’d read on the Bill’s website that the “kids eat free” half-term offer was still running, despite it no longer being half-term for Kent schools. When I mentioned this to our server I was told it had ended the previous week – I had to show him the webpage to confirm the offer was still running. A minor niggle, but I was surprised that this hadn’t been communicated to the whole team in a big chain restaurant.

It was good news for my son, though, who got stuck into his kids’ activity sheet (the wordsearch was his favourite part) while he waited for his food to arrive. Normally priced at £6.95, the kids’ menu is great value for money. The meal deal includes a main, a side and dessert. With six mains, six sides and eight desserts to choose from, kids are spoilt for choice.

I’ve no idea why he ordered the burger as he always complains halfway through that they’re too messy to eat! It was delicious, though: a nice, firm bun, a well-seasoned and beautifully charred patty and a huge lettuce leaf. The skin-on fries were pretty moreish, too. He asked for ketchup, which arrived in a sizeable pot, meaning we could smear it liberally over the inside of the bun and still have plenty left for the chips.

 

 

I didn’t take a photo of his dessert but he demolished the vegan coconut ice cream. The menu had stated one scoop but his bowl had two, which was a bit of a win.

Across the table, the BBQ Bourbon Burger (£16.50) was just as big a hit. Along with the patty, it included pulled BBQ brisket, Cheddar and house pickles…and a little pipette filled with bourbon to inject directly into the burger. Gimmicky? Maybe. But when food puts a smile on the face of the person who ordered it, that’s no bad thing.

Me? I ordered from the “smaller plates and sharing starters” section of the menu. I’d spotted halloumi, which I always find hard to turn down…

The halloumi mezze plate (£13.95) is something I would absolutely order again. There was a mountain of soft, chewy flatbread slices, the exterior beautifully blistered. There were salty olives and sweet and fiery whole pickled chillies. There were gently vinegared pickles and smooth, creamy labneh topped with pine nuts and a herbed sauce.

The star of the show, though, was the halloumi. Cut into fries and drizzled with sweet and spicy chilli honey, the flavour and texture were incredible.

 

 

I’ve got to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve always shied away from visiting Bill’s after my not-so-positive experience many years ago. I’m happy to say, based on this lunch alone, that I may have been wrong. I’ll try out one of our local branches soon and see if we have a similar experience…

 

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