Thursday, 18 March 2010

Boo in Kent - The Carpenter's Arms

Mother's Day lunch, the Kid was charged with finding the venue and selected The Carpenter's Arms a recently renovated hotel/gastropub in the very town from which I hail. I have eaten here on a number of occasions when visiting the family but have never felt the need to post about it owing to being disappointed by the food. I recall a particularly lousy Thai green curry with prawns.

This time however I was pleased to see that the quality of the food is much improved and everyone seemed pleased with their dishes. I ordered the garlic prawns which came rustically presented on a wooden board with salad and roasted vine tomatoes.

I liked how it looked and the prawns were meaty in texture and sweet in taste. There was none of the advertised garlic though. They tasted unmarinated and unseasoned. Could have done with a chilli kick. I was actually grateful for the blandness of it all really owing to a stonking hangover. I wasn't given a finger bowl so made an ungodly mess of things. The bread was a bit stale.

Various roast dinners were ordered around the table, beef and chicken, all of which seemed to go down well. I will note that I have now decided not to order roast dinners in pubs due to the constant disappointment I encounter when I do succumb. One day I will find a place that satisfies, I was rather taken with Lizzie's account of The Anchor and Hope which is a firm favourite of my best friend Nibs. Must go there. Also I really like the idea of this blog documenting Sunday roasts tried and tested in (mostly) north London, my neck of the woods. Must try the roast on offer at the Bull and Last (website still in progress....)

Anyhow, I thought the potatoes needed to be browner, I think it's unforgivable to serve anaemic roasties, they do this every Sunday and should know how long they need to be in the oven by now, no? No excuses.

Perhaps don't bother to look at their website which is littered with grammatical and spelling errors and annoyingly doesn't have the menu on it. Despite all this I think there is potential here, the service was fine, there are a lot of waiters and they all seem very attentive and eager to serve you well. It was very busy, usually a good sign and the place ticks all the boxes aesthetically, wooden floors and quirky furniture of varying shapes and sizes. There's a nice bar where there is also food served. I think with a few finishing touches the place can be a success. Tonbridge is otherwise a bit of a culinary wasteland.

The Carpenter's Arms
3 Elm Lane
Tonbridge, Kent


Chris said...

I'm probably lucky that the only place I visit to eat on a regular basis outside of London is Liverpool - there's a bit of choice there.

The sad fact is that 99% of anywhere outside the capital is just crap.

Boo said...

It's true Chris, such a shame though. I've enjoyed your Liverpool posts. Kent is pretty and there is the draw of the family but foodwise it's not so good, with the exception of Whitstable.

Kerri said...

My mum is in Maidstone and we have the same problem every time we go to visit, there are often places that people recommend but they always disappoint. There used to be quite a lot of good pubs nearby serving reasonable food but they all seem to be chains now.

I never order a roast dinner when I go out either although I hear the Harwood Arms is pretty good.

Boo said...

Ooh yeah, thanks Kerri, I must check out The Harwood Arms too. I feel like I should make more of an effort to seek out good places in Kent but when there's so much here in London it seems like too much effort!

roasted said...

unfortunate to hear about the spuds, a key ingredient in any sunday roast. Not really excuseable imo, given how easy they are to do.

The Bull and Last is definitely worth a crack if you can get in. Be sure to try the triple fried chips.

**Thanks for the linkage, we've now changed the name:)

Boo said...

Hi roasted, finally got round to changing the link to your blog, thanks for the comment. Had Sunday lunch at Bull and Last today but steered clear of the roast. I'm swearing off it for a while! Love your home cooked post btw.