Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hand and Sceptre, Southborough

21 London Road,
Southborough TN4 0QB

We were planning to go to the Italian deli in Southborough for a coffee and a bit for lunch, but when we got there it was shut with a "Gone Fishing" sign on the door. So we drove up the hill to the Hand and Sceptre pub to give it a try.

This is a place that I drive past twice a day on my way to and from Tunbridge Wells and never really considered visiting. Now I know what I've been missing, I can see it being a regular choice.

The setting of the pub is really nice, sitting as it does opposite the green so on sunny summer days (if we ever get any) you could sit on the terrace and watch the cricket. Inside it is well decorated with wooden floors, well spaced tables and a few "olde worlde" ovens and such-like to add some atmosphere.

We were only there for lunch, so we didn't eat a lot. I ordered a quatro formaggi pizza and my wife had fish and chips. The pizza was great. As well as the cheese, there were slices of pear on it which went really well with the gorgonzola which I thought was a great idea. My wife really enjoyed her fish and chips and I had a taste of the mushy peas that came with them and they tasted really sweet - not unlike a pea soup. It was the first time that I've ever seen my wife eat mushy peas, they are normally just pushed to the side of the plate, so I think that is a great recommendation.

The service was quick and very friendly and we couldn't fault it at all. The prices are a little higher that I would expect for a pub lunch (my pizza was £9) but it was all very good quality and very well presented. To be honest I'd rather pay that little bit more for the quality of food and service than save a couple of quid and have tasteless, unimaginative food and poor service, so I'll forgive them.

They also offer accommodation, so if the rooms and breakfast match up to the quality of the restaurant it would be a good place to stay if you're visiting the area.

All in all, we were both very pleased that the deli was shut and we'll be back at the Hand and Sceptre before too long.

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