I have to say, Bill’s restaurant is one of my favourite places to eat. I’ve been there countless times, various branches and at all times of the year. I’ve had Christmas lunches, birthday dinners, breakfast with friends as well as nibbles and cocktails with colleagues. The atmosphere is relaxed, with a friendly café style vibe and great food.
Bill’s started as a small grocery shop in Lewes. After suffering a flood in 2000 it was re-invented as a small café with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients. From there its grown and expanded into the restaurant chain it is today. Needless to say when I found out there was one opening in Canterbury I was very happy! Actually, I remember the first thing I ever ate at Bill’s – it was the fish pie, recommended by my friend Harriet, and its still the best fish pie I have ever had.
The cafe vibe is still very much there with cutlery in tins on the tables and the cutest mini salt and pepper pots. Each restaurant is decorated differently and you can find all kinds of things to look at. Ropes of dried garlic and chilis, fantastic chandeliers and wall lights, paintings and prints. There are shelves of Bill’s jams, marmalades and chutneys if you want to buy something and take a taste of Bill’s home with you. I even love that there are odd chairs and tables. It just makes it feel very homely and welcoming.
The staff are always friendly, knowledgable about the menu and happy to recommend if you have difficulty choosing. When I come to Bill’s, I always know I’m going to have a delicious, tasty meal and a lovely time. There is something to suit everyone’s tastes from a spicy Thai green curry to a classic burger, marinated chicken skewers to a cooked how-you-like-it steak, and a homely fish pie to a summery red pepper tart. They also have a kid’s menu for your little ones at a great price and it even includes a glass of juice!
Sam and I sat at our table, a booth in a secluded corner. There was just so much to look at! Chandeliers, artwork hung up on the walls and it was a great table to do a spot of people-watching and just take in the buzzing vibe of the restaurant. Our waitress Mimi introduced herself and gave us our menus. I chose a Peach Bellini and Sam chose a bottle of Camden beer which was served with an ice cold glass! An absolute God-send in the warm weather. The staff really look after you at Bill’s – without you having to ask.
Starters: Crispy Calamari with Garlic & Lemon Mayo
We decided to share a portion of crispy calamari served with garlic and lemon mayo. It arrived about ten minutes or so after ordering and my first impression was that it looked amazing! The calamari rings were served stacked in a metal tin surrounded by Bill’s signature greaseproof paper, with a wedge of lemon and the garlic and lemon mayo dip served in a little pot. We couldn’t wait to dig in! I absolutely LOVE calamari but it can be hit or miss. The calamari at Bill’s is an absolute hit! It was crispy without being greasy, the squid was succulent and tender to the bite. We squeezed our lemon wedge over the calamari and then tucked in. Honestly, it was just perfection.
Mimi our waitress, recommended the Mojo Chicken Skewers so I decided to have those and Sam chose steak and chips with béarnaise sauce (he loves steak). My mojo chicken skewers were delicious – everything I love about summer food on a plate. A peppery and herby salad, refreshing cucumber, cool yoghurt, succulent chicken and warm bread. The only thing I’d wish for would be more Tzatziki but thats because I absolutely love the stuff. I did sneak a bite of Sam’s steak too, it was good! Steak is on my radar for next time 😉
I kinda fancied another cocktail at this point and my chosen drink this time was the Amaretto sour. I think this would be a great place to come with your friends if you wanted a relaxed but fun night drinking cocktails and eating yummy food. Every cocktail on this menu sounds delicious! I quite like the idea of the Bramble Mojito and the Raspberry Collins (I’m a bit obsessed with raspberries!) for a late summer afternoon, Espresso Martini would be my evening pick me up and a Bloody Mary at lunch! 😉
I always wait till after my main before I order pudding. Does anyone else do this? Bill’s pudding menu has a bit of everything on it – citrus, chocolate, creamy, fruity, crunchy as well as warm and cold desserts. I opted for the lemon meringue cheesecake pie and Sam chose the warm mini cinnamon doughnuts.
The lemon meringue cheesecake pie was incredible! Its got an amazing lemony tang, the meringue is fluffy and chewy like marshmallow, the frozen yoghurt is refreshing, the lemon curd is creamy and the cheesecake base provides a great crunch. Its delicious! I also tried one of Sam’s doughnuts dipped in the chocolate sauce and I can tell you, it was GOOD. I’m not usually a fan of doughnuts but when they are warm, mini and covered in cinnamon then that is one of those times when I am a huge fan.
It was a great way to spend a Bank Holiday Monday and now all I can do is think about when I am next visiting a Bill’s! Their new summer menu is out soon and I can’t wait to see and try the new items they have on there. Have you been to Bill’s? Let me know what your favourite dish was! x
Meal was complimentary from Bill’s restaurant. All words, opinions and photography is my own.