Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Warren Restaurant in Tunbridge Wells - a review by Bex

Nik and I took a couple of weeks off around Easter to have some time at home as a family as work and life has been crazy lately!  It worked out well with all the bank holidays so we booked a visit to Glasgow and planned to sort out the house a bit in the meantime as well as spending some time with the twins together.  On Wednesday, rather than paying our childminder when the kids aren't there, we kept them in and had a day to ourselves.  We spent the morning doing a bit of sorting and life admin and then headed out for a nice leisurely lunch just the two of us.  No need to rush, no whinging or crying, no stress, just us and some lovely food and surroundings were what we needed and luckily, exactly what we got!


I'd booked The Warren in Tunbridge Wells as I'd discovered their Instagram account a few months ago and have been salivating over the delicious looking food.  The entrance on the High Street is lovely with catkins and twigs hung around the doorway.  It was quiet upstairs with just one other table occupied which meant I wasn't shy about snapping away taking photos of the place and we were seated in the orangery so there was plenty of natural light from the beautiful large windows.  There is a very eclectic mix of both furniture and accessories around the place which I reckon would look even more impressive at night.  They have quite a few animals on display which I believe are all from their estate.  The Warren's produce mainly comes from their estate in Crowborough so it's all local, from farm to fork.  I love their use of local produce and the fact they care about the origins of the food.  You can tell they care about how it's presented too with a bit of flare added in plating up, desserts especially.  And of course, the food tastes scrumptious too!



We were given the option of their express menu for £9.95 plus £5 for any additional courses or the a la carte.  It was a tough decision as I liked the sound of everything but in the end we opted for the express as it was such good value.  It didn't disappoint either with decent portions and just as much effort put in as I'd seen on their social media.  We paid an extra £1 for homemade bread which was served in a canvas bag on a bed of hot cherry stones to keep it warm and a knob of homemade stinging nettle butter.  The butter was an intense green but had a mild flavour and was delicious on the soft fresh bread.


For starters we opted for wild garlic soup for me and venison scotch egg for Nik.  Both were delicious.  My soup was rich, very garlicky but in that mild, wild garlic way without being overpowering and had a nice depth of flavour with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  I could have easily eaten more and I want to go foraging for my own wild garlic now to have a damn good try at making my own soup although I'm sure it won't match up.


Nik's scotch egg was also nice with a lovely celeriac remoulade on the side and yet more luscious green (I'm not sure what his puree was).


Our main courses were equally delicious.  I wasn't sure how they'd make my choice of cottage pie fancy but it looked lovely served in a little copper pan with piped horseradish mash on top.  The meaty gravy was lovely and rich with good chunks of root vegetables just under the mash.  I was surprised just how filling that small pan was!


Nik had the South coast plaice with Monk's Beard and capers in a butter sauce.  We'd never heard of Monk's Beard, it looks a little like Samphire but is not salty, it comes from Italy so is obviously not local.


Mine came with peas and Nik's with crushed potatoes and we ordered an extra side of Hispi cabbage with bacon lardons.  It wasn't quite what we were expecting (we'd never had the Hispi variety before) but all the sides were lovely and well seasoned.


And of course, for just and extra £5 we had to have pudding!  I'd had my eye on the passionfruit cheesecake from the start and Nik swithered between the cheese plate and lemon meringue pie but in the end fancied something sweet.


I loved my deconstructed style cheesecake, the cheesy part was encased in a coating of white chocolate and had more passionfruit hidden in the centre.  The splash of passionfruit sauce on the plate was very sharp which contrasted nicely with the sweet blackberries, nutty granola and light, creamy cheesecake ball.

Nik's lemon meringue was also lovely (of course I tried some!) with a really nice biscuity pastry and very smooth raspberry sorbet.


We were tempted to stay for more and have some cheese as well but we fancied a wander round so we decided we'd just have to come back again another day, preferably in the evening next time.

Service was excellent with our attentive waitress, Magdalena, being friendly and courteous as well as helpful in making choices with both food and wine.  I was unsure which to choose out of two wines so she allowed me to taste both before choosing the Cote du Rhone Villages.  It was also delicious but I plan to check out the cocktail menu next time.


So as you can tell, overall we loved The Warren.  The food was delicious, the staff lovely and surroundings a good mix of quirky and fancy.  Check out those lion thrones above!  And Zeus the Rhea who was giving me a run for my money with his sparkly necklace!

Our bill came to £68.80 for 3 courses with bread, sparking water and a large glass of wine each.


Olive Dragonfly Rating - The Warren
Food & Drink - 9/10
Atmosphere - 7/10 (I think this would definitely be higher in the evening)
Service - 9/10
Value - 9/10
Overall - 9/10

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