The Compasses Inn, Canterbury
+ Guinea fowl terrine with crispy sweetcorn and soused red onion
+ Pork belly with almandine potatoes
+ Roast chicory and almond milk sauce
+ Fresh ingredients
+ Gastropub Chef of the Year
Rob Taylor’s cooks with a quiet confidence, running the kitchen at the Compasses completely on his own.
His dishes have no bells and whistles: they are simply delicious. Fresh ingredients are cooked to perfection and the final product is always visually impressive without resorting to presentational peacocking.
Whilst he traffics in country gastropub-fayre, Taylor is unafraid to experiment with his menu, trialling dishes such as confit sea trout with white beans, which are often popular enough to win a longer run on the menu.
Describe your cooking style
RT: It’s simple in its delivery – I don’t overcomplicate food. I really just cook the food that I’d want to eat when I eat out. Unpretentious but delivered as well as I can possibly deliver it. Some of our dishes may only contain three or four components, but from the very sourcing of the ingredients to how I get them on the plate, I try and incorporate as much flavour as I humanly can. A few simple, clean flavours per plate that really pop out.
What was it that made you fall in love with cooking?
RT: I’ve wanted to cook since I was about nine. It came from watching cookery shows in the morning with my mum. And then further down the line, when I was about fourteen my parents opened up a restaurant so I spent weekends there with them – mostly getting in the way I imagine, but at the time I thought I was helping
What’s the best thing about having The Compasses?
RT: I love creating something that I enjoy and then seeing other people enjoy it is massive. To have people come up to you and tell you how good it is, when they’re genuinely surprised – it’s huge for me. It’s why I do it.
What makes a good chef?
RT: Passion. What I look for isn’t necessarily skills. If I’m looking for an employee, I’m looking for somebody that has a passion for good food and is willing to put the effort in. Pride in what you’re putting on the plate is the biggest thing.