Country Pub: The Vineyard
As summer approaches, The Vineyard gets ready for some joie de vivre.
Kent, also known as the garden of England, is a wealthy county in the Southeast of the country and it has a few very desirable towns in the commuter belt. One of them, Royal Tunbridge Wells is a pretty and affluent place with endless choices of excellent cafés and restaurants. Surrounding Tunbridge Wells are some quaint little villages with some sensational gastro pubs big on fresh and seasonal local produce.
One of them is The Vineyard a 17th century building in Lamberhurst, part of Elite Pubs, a chain that has other equally lovely eateries dotted around the county. One great advantage about this umbrella of pubs is that each of them keeps their own names, style and plenty of character. What they have in common is the quality of their food. Unsurprisingly, as Kent has an abundance of deliciously flavoursome produce all year round. The name, The Vineyard reflects a major increase on the wine industry in the region. Top quality wine has been produced in England, particularly Kent, and they have been delivering in every aspect expected.
We have been to The Vineyard a few times, mainly for a quick bite and a drink. Today we sat down for what would be properly considered lunch. I adore scallops, so my expectations were high. Unfortunately they were a little too undercooked for me, the texture was not particularly pleasant. But then, there was the venison. Stylishly plated, it was perfectly cooked, a little pink, not much, served with a buttery fondant potato, baby carrots, courgettes and a silky red wine jus. Glorious! The triumph of the main meal encouraged me to try the dessert menu. Some ice creams and chocolate assiette were our choices. White chocolate panacotta, chocolate mouse cake and the most delicious dark chocolate granita. No need for the berries, if you ask me. The trio of dessert did not need any extras on the presentation. They were already very pretty to look at. As for balancing the flavours, there were not enough berries to justify that. They did not hurt, but less would have been more. Absolutely glorious. If acidity is required, perhaps a raspberry sauce would be an interesting idea.
As the pub garden puts a brand new decking area for those long summer evenings, we will be back. There is a nice play area to keep the little ones busy and the 80's playlist is just the cherry on the cake.
Go on a sunny day, but explore the characterful interior. Certainly worth a long visit.