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David Hancock talks to Jim Shave, head chef at the Granville, near Canterbury, about his belief in simple seasonal food Jim Shave could teach you a...

David Hancock talks to Jim Shave, head chef at the Granville, near Canterbury, about his belief in simple seasonal food

Jim Shave could teach you a thing or two about DIY. Not putting up shelves or plumbing but making your own ingredients. At the Granville everything from the bread to the chocolates and even the butter is home-made. Everything is freshly prepared from scratch — even potatoes are cooked fresh for every service.

The Granville at Lower Hardres, in Kent, is run by Phil and Gabrielle Harris, the family behind the Sportsman, in Seasalter, near Whitstable, which was awarded a Michelin star in January.

But the pub, which holds a Michelin Bib Gourmand and was named Pub Restaurant of the Year in the 2008 Shepherd Neame Pub Awards, is certainly no poor relation of the Sportsman, and has carved out an equally-

enviable reputation for excellent food.

The pub focuses on an honest, goodvalue menu with high-quality local ingredients. Jim says: "We cook them very simply to allow the flavours to shine through. Our diners can also relate to what we are doing — we don't alienate them with fancy, long-winded menu descriptions, and our chalkboard menu describes the dishes simply."

Jim says: "We use modern techniques, such as slow cooking, and we get a very good

end product — classic, well-cooked dishes that appeal to our customers. We don't scare them off with unusual-sounding ingredients and combinations.

"January was very busy here. When the Granville's sister pub, the Sportsman, was awarded its Michelin star, our trade certainly picked up — Steve Harris directed diners here when the Sportsman became booked up. Being located quite close to each other works well. But, essentially, our success is all down to being very honest with the food we source and how we cook it.

Our menu

The blackboard menu is short and chalked up daily. It revolves around the seasons, focusing on quality ingredients, sourced from small local suppliers.

Our fish comes from Griggs, in Hythe, and we use a guy with his own boat at Dungeness. He turns up in his van and if he has some great turbot, brill, gurnard or even underrated whiting on board, we take it, and put it on our menu the same day.

Game comes from shoots at Bishopsbourne — much of it is shot by my father. A man up the road supplies our free-range eggs; some of our vegetables are grown on my allotment and

others are supplied by a local guy, so we don't have to buy any other vegetables in summer. Even now, my allotment supplies the kitchen with parsnips, carrots, cabbage and purple sprouting broccoli.

In summer, instead of braised shin of beef

on the menu, you'll find something lighter —

perhaps a classic favourite done simply and well, such as a fantastic rib-eye steak with new potatoes and salad. This year I plan to grow Maris Piper potatoes, so I'll put steak and chips on the winter menu — it's hard to find decent steak and chips round here.

Best-selling dishes

The cauliflower soup with local Ashmore cheese on toast (£4.95) flies out the door at lunch, as it's more of a hearty meal. The cheese is only six months old but it's strong and goes well with the cauliflower. My braised pork belly with apple sauce (£14.95) is very popular. I serve it with lovely, freshly-cooked sautéed potatoes and vegetables from the garden, perhaps purple sprouting broccoli simply cooked in butter, lemon and black pepper, and super crackling. It's a winning dish.

Best investment

Apart from me in the kitchen, it must be the central fire in the Granville's main dining area — people just love it and it has created a great focal point for the pub.

When Shepherd Neame refurbished the pub it removed all the open fires and the place lost its soul. Log fires draw people into pubs — the tables close to it are the most popular here.

Recruitment and motivation

The atmosphere here is very relaxed and informal, and a number of our staff stay for a long time. We link well with the Sportsman, with chefs moving between the two pubs, and since we achieved our Michelin awards people want to work with us. We are also lucky to have Canterbury and Thanet colleges down the road — we get the pick of the promising chefs, as we know both colleges well.

Marketing and PR

Our success and popularity has been down to word of mouth. Our proximity to the Sportsman, which has never paid for any advertising, has helped to attract diners.

We let our food do the talking by focusing on producing some really good dishes, cooked extremely well. We've been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand and the Sportsman has its star now, too. The publicity machine works well — people hear about us through magazines and local papers.

Top tips

If you keep the food simple and honest and use quality local ingredients, people will respect and understand what you are doing. Try not to alienate people by being too adventurous with your menu, as there's no point in sourcing top-notch ingredients and masking the flavours by over- embellishing the dish.

On the menu


Chicken liver parfait £6.95

Mussels, white wine, garlic & thyme £7.95


Roast Monkshill Farm lamb & mint sauce £13.95

Whole roast gilt head bream,

garlic & rosemary £14.95

Crispy duck, smoked chilli salsa,

sour cream £13.95


Lemon tart, raspberry sauce £5.50

Flourless chocolate cake,

raspberry sorbet £5.50

Pub Facts

Owner: Shepherd Neame

Tenants: Phil & Gabrielle Harris

Number of staff: 10

GP food: 65%

GP drink: 65%

Covers a week: 300-400

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