5a High Street, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1UL
It’s always a treat to discover a gem like The Warren. The interior combines classical elegance with quirky, characterful charm, while the enchanting terrace is the perfect spot for al fresco dining in summer. The owner Martin Haymes, and Magdalena Szczerbova who runs the restaurant with her friendly, knowledgeable team, have achieved a winning combination here, making this an irresistible destination all year round. An extension of the nearby Crowborough Warren Estate, the restaurant receives daily deliveries of the estate’s home-grown and -reared produce. The result is a combination of fixed-price and à la carte menus that are guaranteed to excite and satisfy the palate. Our visit began with a selection of homemade bread and butter, and English truffles with black bean and cauliflower purée – an appetiser perfectly designed to whet the appetite. To start I selected a signature crispy goose egg – perfectly cooked, with a runny yolk – complemented by smooth pea purée, pancetta and wild garlic. My wife opted for a delicious Dorset crab tart in a rouille dressing with fennel allumettes. Fallow deer, Sussex cattle, wild boar and Boer goats are all amongst the fresh seasonal produce supplied by the Warren estate. For my main course I enjoyed perfectly cooked venison loin in Port jus, accompanied by potato terrine, flavoursome watercress purée, confit Roscoff onions and girolles. My wife’s tastebuds were delighted by 12-hour-braised shoulder of lamb, with tortellini, spinach and wild garlic pesto and carrot purée. To accompany our meal we selected a bottle of elegant, fruity Clos de Gat syrah. We were very impressed by the attention to detail, with every beautifully presented dish as appealing to the eye as it was to the palate. For dessert I opted for rich treacle tart with brown bread ice cream – the perfect combination of quirky and conventional. My wife preferred the savoury option of three local cheeses – Brighton Blue, soft and creamy Burwash Rose and flavoursome Winterdale Shaw, with crackers and homemade apple chutney. We concluded with coffee and elegant petits fours – a delicious end to a magnificent meal. There are good restaurants and there are great restaurants; the team at The Warren strives for greatness every time, and we can’t wait to return.