Restaurant Review: Thackeray's Restaurant Tunbridge Wells
Perched at the top of London Road in Tunbridge Wells sits the Grade II-listed villa, once home to Vanity Fair novelist William Makepeace Thackeray. But since 2001, it has been home to Thackeray’s.
General Manager Gary Beach runs a tight (but very friendly) ship and the combination of starched white table linen, creative menu and attentive, knowledgeable service immediately set the tone for a special occasion.
The Friday evening we visited was no exception, with families, couples and groups settling in to enjoy exquisite dishes and fine wines.
I started with hand-picked Cornish crab, with a slight chilli kick to it, in a lemongrass shellfish bisque, confit salmon, soused cockles, sea herbs and artichoke, while my partner chose the salt and pepper squid with red wine braised octopus, yeasted cauliflower, fennel pollen, and tart pink grapefruit to cut through the salty slick of black olive tapenade.
A relaxing pause before the main courses arrived; a perfectly grilled fillet of Kentish dry aged beef, crisp brisket, roast young beetroots with rosemary, grelot onions, crisp potato and red wine jus. The addition of a bone marrow was an unexpected surprise – and not for the faint-hearted! I left my choice in Gary’s capable hands – the roast saddle of venison served with heritage squash, pickled pears, and a drizzle of rich, flavoursome cocoa nib jus. A lovely touch was the miniature shepherd’s pie, served in a separate ramekin.
Dessert was definitely worth finding room for: a chocolate pave, with poached plums, a creamy frangelico mousse, and cobnut ice cream – and a Kentish apple and tonka bean ‘pressing’ – cold and sweet, with a miniature cinnamon and custard doughnut, tangy green apple sorbet and macerated blackberries. The wine list is varied and extensive and, using the Coravin Wine System, many can be served by the glass without removing the cork.
• Daily lunch menus start from £18. To book, call 01892 511921 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: Mark Gray