CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Restaurant review: The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells

PUBLISHED: 12:27 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:14 01 February 2018

Ample seating at the very chic bar (photo: Paul Winch-Furness)

Ample seating at the very chic bar (photo: Paul Winch-Furness)

Photographer Paul Winch-Furness

A fabulous addition to the Tunbridge Wells dining scene, The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells offers all-day food and drink in a stylish, buzzing setting

It’s the sheer colour and exuberance that hits you when you walk into the new Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells. That and the buzz of happy chatter as nicely dressed couples, families and friends make themselves at home on the comfiest of banquettes packed with cushions and at intimate tables that look too close together but in fact are perfectly spaced for private conversations.

My Blonde Mate and I are in a corner looking out across the whole restaurant, loving the soft, warm lighting which makes us look extra-fabulous, the walls crammed with artworks and the generously sized bar where you can sit and just have a drink if that’s what you prefer.

The menu genuinely is an all-encompassing mix of British classics served from early until really quite late, including breakfast, elevenses, weekend brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, light snacks, dinner and cocktails.

In celebratory mood, we have a glass each of Ivy Collection Champagne (I’m going to try an English spritz next time) and, once we’ve navigated the all-day menu (basically, all the drinks are down one side, sandwiches, cakes and afternoon teas down the other), set about choosing dinner from the centre bit.

Art works adorn the walls at The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells (photo: Paul Winch-Furness)Art works adorn the walls at The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells (photo: Paul Winch-Furness)

There’s also a well-priced, much shorter lunch and early evening menu (three starters and puds, four mains plus sides) where you can pick two or three courses for £16.50 and £21 respectively.

Looking for something light and delicious to start, MBM opts for the yellowfin tuna carpaccio, dressed with pretty dots of avocado purée, while I tuck into a very pretty warm and crispy duck salad. While the duck is a tad too crunchy for me, the hit of ginger packs a lively punch and both dishes are a great precursor to our mains.

While I’m tempted by the celebrated Ivy shepherd’s pie (“even better than your mum’s”, we’re told), I can’t resist a favourite of mine: crab linguine. With a heady mix of courgette, Devon crab claws, chilli, smoked garlic, lemon and a generous heap of rocket on top it’s a total delight – especially with the nicely chilled Sauvignon Blanc we’re enjoying.

Blondie, still on her health kick, goes all Middle Eastern with a sweet potato dish served with spiced dukkah (a seed, nut and spice dip), deliciously smoky aubergine baba ganoush and Moroccan tomato sauce, on a bed of labneh (soft cream cheese made from strained yogurt) and kale served in gravity defying peaks.

Having been reasonably restrained by my usual standards, I go all out with dessert and gleefully demolish a melting chocolate bombe with a honeycomb centre served with vanilla ice cream and hot salted caramel sauce – which is as completely gorgeous as its sounds. Blondie has yoghurt sorbet on frozen mixed fruits; I despair of her.

We sit for ages over coffee, reluctant to leave this vibrant space for the dark and cold outside, but there’s no hint of rushing us out: service by the ridiculously beautiful, smartly clad young staff is friendly, fun, informed and articulate.

I can’t wait to return and the joy of this place is that you can do that throughout the day and night and be assured of great food and service in a fabulous setting.

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Sophisticated and friendly all-day dining

Where: The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells, 46-50 High Street, Tunbridge Wells TN1 1XF, 01892 240700

When: Mon-Sat 8am-00.30am, Sun and Bank Holidays 9am-11.30pm

How much: crab linguine £15.95, chicken Milanese £15.75, chocolate bombe £8.50

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Kent Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Kent Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Kent Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards 2016. Open for entries.

Latest Competitions & Offers

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search