A DECADE ON FROM SO TUNBRIDGE WELLS MAGAZINE’S FIRST REVIEW OF THE BREW HOUSE HOTEL IN APRIL 2008, FRED LATTY PAYS A VISIT TO THE SITE’S CURRENT INCARNATION, ONE WARWICK PARK, TO SAMPLE THE DELIGHTS ON OFFER IN ITS SEVENTEEN RESTAURANT
I love going to local hotels. Not only are the venues on offer in Tunbridge Wells lovely to look at and exquisite to stay
in, but they also provide a sneak peek at what a getaway would be like as a tourist in your own town, putting a different spin on where you live and making you view familiar sights from a whole new perspective.
It’s with this fresh-faced enthusiasm that I arrive at One Warwick Park’s Seventeen restaurant in Chapel Place. Recently rebranded from its previous mantle of L’Amore, the stylish space boasts a mouth-watering menu of British dishes, which are turned on their heads through ﬂavours and inﬂuences from around the world, using modern cooking techniques, seasonality and presentation.
A decade ago – when SO Tunbridge Wells magazine published its ﬁrst issue in April 2008 – it was The Brew House Hotel, and had the honour of being featured as our inaugural restaurant review. Now, as I step over the threshold 10 years later, I ﬁnd that the neon-pink interiors of its former life have been done away with, in favour of a far more contemporary look and feel.
As for the dining, Seventeen’s dishes are impeccably presented and full of ﬂavour, boasting such tantalising delicacies as slow-cooked lamb shank, roast butternut squash risotto and grilled seabream ﬁllet. But it’s the slow-cooked beef blade that catches my eye, which comes complete with creamed potato, spinach and a red wine jus (£18.25).
But ﬁrst, my starter of seared king scallops with pea purée, bacon jam and apple (£10.50) is expertly served and tastes even better, the tender meat positively melting in the mouth from the very ﬁrst bite. Across the table, my guest’s spiced lamb samosa with minted yoghurt (£7.25) looks equally appetising, the spiciness of the meat perfectly offset by the yoghurt’s cool, refreshing hit.
Die-hard wine drinkers both, we land on a bottle of Arthemis’ Fiano from Puglia (£27), an aromatic, ﬂoral option that’s packed with tangerine and lime ﬂavours, and a ripe and juicy ﬁnish that hits the spot beautifully. We’re even treated to a couple of cocktails on arrival – my go-to espresso martini gets a vanilla twist here, whereas my guest’s French martini (both £8.50) is Instagram gold in a glass.
Now, back to that beef – my main is deliciously juicy and wonderfully tender, the meat every bit as succulent as the scallops before. As for my guest, she’s busy tucking into her Scottish salmon darne with saffron potatoes, French-style peas and Hollandaise sauce (£17.25). I must admit, while I’d be reluctant to double up on ﬁsh, it certainly wouldn’t have been a bad move when it’s this good.
As we drink and chat in between courses, guests amble in and out of the restaurant, taking in late-night meals or sipping on nightcaps before heading to their rooms. There’s a comfortable ambience to the place; a cosy, home-from-home appeal that makes you feel as if you could easily take up an indeﬁnite residence, wandering from your suite only to join your fellow diners, before retreating back into a cocoon of comfort once more.
For our ﬁnal course, we satisfy our sweet teeth in suitably decadent style. My selection of white and dark chocolate fudge (£5.50) goes exceptionally well with a decaf Americano – just in case I hadn’t imbibed enough caffeine with my earlier cocktail choice already. Saying that, I feel a twinge of food envy at the sight of my guest’s crème brûlée (£6.50), which goes down a treat to ﬁ nish things off.
It’s safe to say that a lot has changed at 1 Warwick Park (the address, that is, as well as the hotel itself ). Over the last 10 years, it’s undergone a signiﬁcant revamp that’s only served to elevate it to the upper echelons of the Tunbridge Wells hospitality scene, where beautiful surroundings and culinary expertise are sure to extend the site’s legacy into the next decade and beyond.