Monday, May 12, 2008

Tunbridge Wells Bar and Grill, Tunbridge Wells

84 High Street,
Tunbridge Wells TN1 1YB Map

I've never been tempted to visit the Bar and Grill, always suspecting it to be a steak and burger joint that would give you "chips with everything".

When a colleague of mine recommended it, my wife and I decided to pop along one sunny Sunday evening.

From the moment we entered and were greeted by one of the waiters and shown to our table, I knew that my previous impression was completely wrong.

As it was a nice evening, we decided to sit in the courtyard at the back. The tables are nicely spaced to allow a good amount of privacy and the area is covered by shades making it an extremely pleasant place to eat.

There isn't an extensive menu for vegetarians, but compared to a lot of other places, it's not bad. There was a risotto, a lasagne and a Thai green curry. There are also a couple of suitable salads, and a selection on the starters menu.

We started by sharing a mezze selection that included falafels, hummus, tzatziki, pitta bread, baba ganoush, olives and filo samosas stuffed with spinach and cheese. The portion was a nice size for the two of us and it was extremely tasty, especially the samosas.

My wife had the fish and chips, with mushy peas for her main. It was all presented separately with the fish on the main plate and the chips and peas in side bowls, which gave me the chance to have a taste of them. The chips were great, although the peas were a little on the runny side for my liking.

For my main course, I chose the vegetable Thai Green Curry. It was pretty good, well presented, with sweet potato, peppers, mangetout and bok choi in a bright green, spicy sauce. It wasn't too spicy, although it did have a slight bitter taste to it and the vegetables were nice and crispy.

And so to dessert. The dessert menu had a vanilla creme brulee, however the specials menu was boasting a passionfruit version, so I had to try it.

Oh dear, oh dear... I'm not sure how they did it, but the whole dish appeared to be covered in a thin oily film and the caramelised topping was like a thin, sticky, rubber layer over the top of the custard. The custard itself tasted okay, but it was thick and gloopy rather than the nice firm custard that I like. So, I'm afraid that it only managed to scrape a two on the chart.

Apart from the creme brulee, it was great. The service was really good, from start to finish and I'm certain we'll go back. When we do, I'll try the brulee from the main dessert menu and see if they can redeem themselves.

If you decide to go, and I recommend you do, then I've been old to avoid the tables right at the back of the restaurant as they are quite dark, making it quite hard to see what you are eating.

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