Returning to Tunbridge Wells a visit to the beautiful Pantiles is a must. There's a wealth of nice places to eat along the strip as well as cute boutiques and a fantastic Kitchen Shop, Trevor Mottram, a must see for any foodie in the area, I could easily while away an afternoon in this place!
I was keen to show off Tunbridge Wells to Thomas, who had not seen where I grew up before this visit and we chose to have lunch at Woods where I have eaten before and loved the food, including a fish pie topped with rosti and a bacon avocado and rocket sandwich. They do classic british dishes very well and have a large outdoor eating are and an upstairs bar area with piano, they regularly host jazz evenings and various events.
We arrived at around 3pm in need of lunch. I had a glass of Chapel Down Downland dry white wine, local wine from Tenterden to accompany my salad of Kent Lamb, Courgette and Halloumi with Rocket Pesto.
This was perhaps the best of the 3 dishes but it was slightly odd. The major elements were all warm, the courgette was nice, well cooked and retaining a bite. The lamb was tasty but a bit tough, not so well cooked, and the halloumi was fine, salty and satisfyingly squeaky as I chewed it yet this didn't really work together. The leaves were well dressed with the rocket pesto and I can't think of one thing that was wrong as such but unfotunately I didn't enjoy this very much.
Thomas tried the Smoked Mackerel with Roasted Beetroot and Horseradish Crème
Fraiche on Toasted Granary bread. This was virtually beetroot with a little bit of mackerel in it.
Thomas was not pleased at all, luckily he had ordered fries as a side, but for someone with a healthy appetite, this simply was not enough. It is from the starter section of the menu so they cannot be blamed for this, really but the purple mass on top of the bread tasted of little but beetroot, it would surely work better if this individual flavours were recognisable and served individually?
The chips were okay, Kid also had a portion of these. I was puzzled as to why they would serve it in such a large bowl, looking like half of them had already been eaten before they made their way to the table. Maybe I was being a grump but this seems silly to me.
Kid had the Woods 'Massive' bacon and egg sandwich, with locally cured bacon (no hint as to where). She was very happy with this, thick cut white bread, a fried egg and a fat slice of bacon, just the type of food Kid likes.
I'm sad that Woods is not how I remember it, I loved it a few years back but I was disappointed with the food on this visit, when I particularly wanted them to deliver because I'd been so complimentary about my previous meals.
I even turned into 'disgusted' of Tunbridge Wells when it began to rain and we made a hasty exit.