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The Chaser Inn is set in a dominating position looking out over the expansive, gently sloping green in Shipbourne. Formerly a Greene King hostelry it is now (at the time of writing) a Whiting and Hammon establishment. Some of the details may have changed since our last visit, if you have some recent feedback we'd welcome your comments. We know the pub enjoys themed events throughout the year. For example during 2014 patrons will enjoy a number of beer festivals, a seafood fortnight, a celebration of World Vegan Day juxtaposed with Sauasage Week in November. Many other events too numerous to mention, see the website for more details.
There is a large garden to the right of the pub containing tables with parasols and bench seating, whilst on the opposite side of the building, adjacent to the accommodation, is a sheltered courtyard with further tables and overhead gas heaters. Follow these links if you need details of more Kent pubs, or the current Kent pub review.
The pub is housed in a substantial Georgian stone building with large rooms, high vaulted ceilings and well-worn flagstone floors. A jumble of bric-a-brac and local pictures take up most of the wall space, including interesting items like framed historic invoices from local companies. A large collection of Victorian glass bottles and antiquarian books fill bookshelves.
An interesting range of nibbles is available from the bar including olives and cashews, which you will probably need to keep you going as you agonise over the choices on the extensive menu. Most of the dishes are English with a few more cosmopolitan touches, some of which are still proving a success at The Hare, including Chinese Duck Spring Rolls and Thai Crab Cakes served on a Carrot, Cucumber and Spring Onion Salad with Sweet Chilli Jam.
With a total listing of 17 main courses and further daily specials on the blackboard there has to be a choice for all tastes and budgets. My partner chose the Poached Salmon and Prawn Salad served with Tartare Sauce and warm New Potatoes, which proved to be generous and attractively presented on a large white plate. I settled for Prawns in Marie Rose Sauce on Granary Bread, which was served with a dressed salad, home-made coleslaw and crisps. Both dishes were made from quality ingredients, which were difficult to fault. A wide selection of side orders can be requested separately if required. Innovatively and to adapt to individual customers' appetites Steaks are ordered 'by the ounce', at per ounce for sirloin and per ounce for fillet.
Desserts are all listed as home-made and will be difficult to ignore with such offerings as Orange Tart served with Ice Cream, Baileys and Chocolate Cheesecake served with Seasonal Berries and Ice Cream and Rhubarb and Ginger Fool served with a Honeycomb filled Brandy Snap.
The Chaser Inn has a long standing reputation for great beer and the tradition is being maintained with relish. A good selection of wines is available including a respectable house red and white. For the end of the meal there is also a range of ports, brandies and malts, as well as a couple of dessert wines.
Service was exceptionally quick and very friendly, with all staff motivated and happy to chat. To be fair though it must be pandemonium when the diners filling the garden and courtyard make a dash for indoors when subjected to one of our summer showers.
With the route of the Greensand Way pathway just to the north of the pub there is ample scope for exercise, although with the temptations on offer inside the pub just struggling back to your car might become the preferable option.
The Chaser Inn
" The Chaser really requires its own restaurant review rather than being a pub that serves food, your readers also might not know that the pub serves one of the best breakfasts available in the area, usually serving from 9 on Saturday and Sunday. Paul T"
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