The recently opened Alice and the Hatter is a wonderfully weird restaurant in Canterbury. The café, based on 29a/b St. Margaret’s Place, CT1 2TG, serves food and drink with a Carroll twist. The original in Herne Bay has branched out into the heart of Canterbury and is definitely worth a visit.
On entering the café, I was struck by the decoration. A lot of thought and effort has gone into making the space feel like you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and have truly entered Wonderland. With grass on some of the walls and the ceilings with pink and purple paint, the décor pleases both fans of the novel and the original Disney film. Each table has its own felt top hat which hides the sugar, a particular detail which I loved.
The selection of food was great. With options for sandwiches, sharing platters, and small bites there is a dish to satisfy every need. There are lots of drinks too, with a wide selection of teas and sodas. Going for a cherry flavoured cola, I eagerly awaited my choice of food. I opted for ‘The Walrus’, a sandwich with chicken, chorizo and mozzarella on focaccia bread. Served with vegetable crisps, the presentation of the sandwich was in the shape of a heart, a great subtle reference to the Queen of Hearts. Filling and tasty, I was really happy with my choice of themed lunch.
However, looking at the menu, I felt that there could have been more vegetarian and vegan options. Of the twelve sandwiches on the menu, only three were vegetarian. Online, the menu states that any sandwiches can be adapted into vegetarian or gluten-free options, but the choice seems very limited in the restaurant.
My favourite part of the experience was the choice of cakes and cupcakes. The broad selection included a mint-aero flavoured cupcake, death-by-chocolate cupcake, a gluten-free Victoria sandwich cake slice and a lemon-blueberry cake slice, amongst many others. They all looked beautifully tempting, and my cupcake was delicious, rounding off my lunch perfectly.
The service was great. The waitress was happy and cheerful and our drinks arrived almost instantly. However, our sandwiches came after a fairly long wait, considering the relatively empty tables (merely a result of how late we ate lunch). Despite this, we felt it was worth the wait.
Overall, I had a delightfully odd experience at Alice and the Hatter and will definitely be back. I can’t wait for my next mad tea party.