Don’t worry I am not going to burst into song, but then again these are places I could well and truly sing about…
I have been visiting some of my favourite places locally to shop and eat over the Christmas period, talking to the Chefs and owners on my weekly podcasts. I have tried to stay away from the town centres, my list would be a lot longer if I went into all the great places for coffee say in Tunbridge Wells but trying to think a little more unusual, somewhere you may have not tried before. We are at the time of year where everything seems to go on a list. This is a combination of pubs, cafes, restaurants and farm shops. I thought I would make it easy for you and list my recommendations:
Heath Stores, Horsmonden
Kate Mills and her husband have the most delicious type of store in my ‘ideal Kent village’. Chosen ‘Kent Life Best Independent Food and Drink Retailer 2017’. A great selection of ingredients, a deli counter to die for and also lots of choice if you really have no time and need to grab an easy meal, or canapés from their ‘Cook’ selection. Visit their website.
The Kingdom cafe opened in November this year and is just beautifully located in the woods. It has a healthy menu, all day breakfast and is great at any time of day for coffee or a smoothie! I haven’t yet cycled here and this is on my ‘to do’ list in 2019…. I think I could tempt myself with a well earned snack after! Lots going on with a yoga studio and gym too. Visit their website.
Quality Tandoori, Edenbridge
Over the Christmas holidays there is always the need for an escape! A curry is always good and the Quality always provides an excellent meal and service. If its for a take-away, eating out with friends, or to escape the family and to sit down with for a quiet supper, highly recommend. Website.
The Kentish Hare
Came across this pub about four years ago and chatted to the owners, Chris and James Tanner. Since then I have met Chef Bobby Brown at various events and been several times this year with family and friends. They have a lovely garden and have sat on a summers evening with the dog and I have also enjoyed a delicious steak dinner with the family midweek and a roast at the weekend, always good. Visit their website.
The Little Bull Cafe and Bar, Brenchley
This time last year I hosted a Christmas entertaining evening and its such a lovely, relaxed venue. On the high street in Brenchley and used to be a pub. ‘New owners Marcus and Charlotte welcome you to their cafe and bar with delicious homemade brunches and lunches.’ They are open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays too for drinks and food. Need to pop along and say Hi to the new owners, great place for a coffee or a glass of wine!
The Small Holding, Kilndown
This is my favourite restaurant, a bit of a drive from Edenbridge, but so worth it! The Small Holding is exactly that a welcoming bar and restaurant on a piece of working land with poly-tunnels for herbs and vegetables, chickens and pigs. It really is a beautiful country hideaway on a summers drive and cosy in front of the fire dining on the ‘half’ or ‘full acre’ menu. Will Devlin, Kent Chef of the year, has a great team and its a real ‘food experience’. An incredible selection of tasty small plates, creative and flavoursome… I would highly recommend a visit, I know you won’t be disappointed. Their website.
The Green Rooms, Godstone
Open every day but Wednesday, this cafe has a warm and friendly atmosphere. The staff are always chatty and they normally have an unusual cake to sample, gluten free, vegan etc.. Ideal to meet up with friends for a late breakfast or lunch. Website.
The Deli, Oxted
This Christmas the Deli in Oxted High Street is looking great. With great bread, oils, sliced meats, cheeses and pies. Perfect to pick up some ingredients for dinner at home or to grab lunch on the go! Website.
Again, a favourite of mine to meet friends locally for lunch or for coffee. My family love Toast for a breakfast treat! Their salads are not only delicious but are also colourful and presented well with lots of garnish, seeds etc.. Just this week I have had their chocolate avocado cake, gluten free and very good, sometimes you need something sweet with your coffee! Website.
Tablehurst Farm, Forest Row
A great place for coffee, lunch, and to shop, what could be better? With their free range turkeys its a particularly busy time of year on the farm but they have a fantastic shop, freshly baked bread and pies (recommend the sausage rolls and the pasties). I had no problem filling my basket with the fresh vegetables (all grown on the farm) and fruit. If you haven’t ordered your turkey, speak to Tablehurst Farm. Here is their website a great place to visit with children and on the Forest Way walk and cycle route, worth a detour!