Published: 06:00, 18 June 2021
Lucky for us it was a Thursday so the landlord’s wife was out spending all his money on shopping and we benefited from his superior skills (his words!) in the kitchen.
Wonderfully tranquil and relaxing, I didn’t need to be asked twice if I wanted to pop into the Three Horseshoes in Staple Street for a bite of lunch and a couple of pints.
We found ourselves in this delightful hamlet a few miles from Faversham and fortunately had some moments to kill at the perfect time of day.
Now, I’m not sure our Glaswegian landlord would have joked about his wife’s culinary skills quite so confidently had she been present, but he certainly backed up his boast with some great pub grub.
This being a Shepherd Neame establishment I decided to check if this Kentish Scot could keep and look after a decent pint of Master Brew. To be fair he passed this first test with flying colours.
As traditional as it’s possible to be, this weather-boarded old boozer operates as exactly the sort of central hub a tiny hamlet community like this needs. (NB. Every day is a school day – I didn’t know the difference between a hamlet and a village until our host explained).
Even oozing character as it does, the weather was far too good to sit inside and we selected a table in the picturesque side garden.
The first thing I noticed was the most brilliant climbing tree, sadly, the second thing I noticed was the notice asking me very politely to resist any such urge. Unfortunately Mrs SD backed up the sign and insisted it wasn’t just H&S nonsense but a perfectly reasonable request.
At this point we were joined in the garden by three guys who must be working at the construction site across the road – what lucky builders they are to be able to enjoy a lunchtime drink in such a wonderful boozer.
And that’s the important thing about this place, it’s not some affected, over-priced, olive green establishment only interested in serving well-heeled folk with trendy food. It’s a proper pub that prides itself on serving decent beer and providing locals with real value.
Rumour has it the previous landlord was keen to go all upmarket and foody. Thank goodness the current man with his hands on the reins believes a pub should be a pub. The fact that he’s not particularly politically correct either just pushed him higher in my estimation.
He took over two-and-a-half years ago and says the place is so full of character, and so bloomin’ tiny, they had to take a window out upstairs and lift all his furniture in through it.
The gents too is tiny, but like everything else here, it is beautifully formed, excellently maintained and a pleasure to visit.
All main courses on the menu are £10.95 and there’s a good selection, but we chose a few starters – the halloumi fries at £6.95 and the garlic bread for £2.95 before a chicken and avocado salad. Although I couldn’t see them on the menu I just fancied a sandwich and was presented with a lovely, fresh tuna mayo on brown, as requested.
The pub is particularly proud to host live music every Saturday night and the next few acts to grace an impromptu stage were chalked up on a board just inside the bar.
I spotted a darts board but other than this there’s nothing else cluttering up the place and it’s clearly a pub designed for locals to enjoy a decent pint and catch up on the latest chat.
There weren’t too many others in when we were and, despite the fact he’d been left to man the ship alone, the landlord was more than happy to spend a few moments chatting.
He shared several interesting local details and we even found time to put the world to rights before his wife arrived back from shopping, laden with bags (and they weren’t of the grocery variety).
We took this as our cue to leave and reluctantly headed back to civilisation and reality.
Oh, and before I sign off, it’s a hamlet because a village has to have a church.
Three Horseshoes, Staple Street, Hernhill, Faversham ME13 9UA
Decor: You won’t find many more traditional Kent pubs than this one. From the low ceilings, to the wooden floors and the hops hung round the bar. *****
Drink: I’ve said before that Shep’s bitter wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice but both the Master Brew and Spitfire lager are clearly well kept and these were some of the better examples I’ve tried. ***
Food: Proper, no-nonsense pub grub – despite what our host says I’m sure everything on the menu is just as good when others are in the kitchen. ****
Price: All the food, a couple of large Sauvignon Blancs, a pint of bitter and a pint of Spitfire lager for £38, not bad at all in my book. ****
Staff: You can take the fella out of Glasgow… and it seems he settles into Kent pretty well. This genial landlord is a great example of the type of person you need running a pub. *****