Sunshine Dining

Sunshine Dining

It’s that time of year again when the sun comes out, the grills are fired up and the food moves outside for some alfresco fancies with friends and family. But if you feel like treating yourself to a meal out this summer, there’s no shortage of alternatives to cooking at home, as we’re blessed in our part of the world with a variety of pub gardens and restaurant terraces to choose from.

Whether you’re enjoying a refreshing cocktail, or tucking into a delectable three-course menu, you can do so surrounded by the luscious greenery that makes up much of Kent and Sussex. At venues throughout both counties, the warmer months provide the perfect opportunity to make the most of the weather and savour some seasonal delights, which are at their absolute best at this time of year.

From four and five-star hotels, to award-winning taverns and popular bistros, there’s something for everybody where we live. You might be relishing the multicultural flavours of The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells, or taking lunch on the lawn in the heart of the Wealden countryside – whatever your tastes, you won’t want to miss out on a visit to one of these fantastic outdoor eateries.

Read on to find out more about what’s cooking on your doorstep this season…

Alexander House


What can customers expect from a visit to Alexander House this summer?
Sophisticated alfresco elegance! Acres of beautifully manicured grounds provide a stunning environment for guests to delight in a delicious dining experience, with a selection of tempting treats from our specially crafted menus. Guests are sure to leave us full of not only fantastic food, but also wonderful memories.

Talk us through some of your standout dishes
Prepare to tantalise those taste buds as we take you through three courses from our hand-crafted menu. Start your gastronomic journey as you mean to go on with our dish of Tenderstem broccoli with local blue cheese, orange and
hazelnut salad. The exquisite flavours from your starter will leave you wanting more, and if you shut your eyes, you’ll believe you’re on the coast when you tuck into our catch of the day, fresh from the local Kent day boat. To finalise your feast, you won’t be left disappointed after indulging in our delicious seasonal crème brûlée, served with Viennese biscuits; a true taste of summer.

Alexander House 2

How about the drinks – any seasonal favourites to look forward to?
Each month, our talented mixologists put together an exquisite cocktail. During the summer months, fresh and fruity flavours are carefully crafted together to celebrate the season.

Will customers be able to sit outside and enjoy the weather while they dine?
Our Reflections Courtyard is a dreamy ‘suntrap’ that provides an elegantly relaxing and intimate setting for summer dining. Guests can also dine while soaking up the sun on our beautiful terrace, overlooking our stunning grounds.

Turners Hill, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH10 4QD
01342 714 914

Ashdown Park Hotel


What can customers expect from a visit to your restaurant this summer?
The Anderida Restaurant is simply stunning with high windows, framed by heavy drapes, looking out over the surrounding gardens of the 186 acre estate. It has a reputation for serving award winning dishes using local produce.

Talk us through some of the standout dishes that will be appearing on the menu
Chef Andrew Wilson and his brigade create a daily Table d’hôte menu making the most of seasonal flavours. Example dishes are Seared Tuna with Marinated Cheese, Quince Purée, Wasabi followed by Wild Sea Bass with Dried Tomatoes, New Potatoes & Chicory finished with Iced Strawberry & Vanilla Parfait with Pimm’s Syrup & Strawberry Compote.

How about the drinks – any seasonal favourites to look forward to?
Chilled Champagne cocktails, classic Pimm’s and refreshing Mojitos are certain to be in high demand this summer. The non-alcoholic Ginger in a Pear Tree (pear juice muddled with fresh ginger, lemon juice and maple syrup) comes highly recommended.

Will customers be able to sit outside and enjoy the weather while they dine?
Our Terraces are always busy in the summer and its not hard to see why; we offer a range of traditional, yet perfectly executed, dishes sourcing only the best local ingredients – whether it’s a classic Caesar Salad, a prime English Beef burger with all the toppings or simply a sandwich. Beautiful views accompany this rare treat with parklands, lakes and forests as far as the eye can see.

Wych Cross, Nr Forest Row, East Sussex RH18 5JR
01342 824 988

Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells


What makes summer special at your place?
“Imagine sitting in the south of France with a chilled glass of Pinot” – this is testament from one of our guests, expressing what it feels like to relax on our alfresco terrace.

Tell us about your approach to food
Famed for hearty, honest cooking with a British and French twist, Hotel du Vin’s alfresco menu is ideal for light summer evenings and lazy lunches. Each dish has been carefully chosen by Hotel du Vin’s talented chefs to evoke the taste of summer.

Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells 2

Any ‘must try’ dishes this season?
Experience our new Flavours menu, with a selection of small and large plates to nibble on or share with friends and colleagues perfect when catching up in the bar or when dining alfresco. £13.50 for three small plates.

How about a summer thirst-quencher?
Alongside Hotel du Vin’s extensive wine list, a new range of alfresco drinks is on offer – jugs of sangria, Pimm’s or Aperol Spritz, fruit beers and ciders on ice, or delicious cocktails are all designed with summer socialising in mind.

Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2LY
01892 512 044

Woods Restaurant


How does Woods stand out as a summer eatery?
Woods has a unique position on the historic Pantiles in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Our terrace can seat up to 80, overlooking the bandstand so our customers can either simply sit and watch the world go by, or enjoy the many musical events and markets that are hosted right on our doorstep.

Describe your approach to food
The restaurant has stuck to its principles of emphasising regional and seasonal ingredients, and using local
produce whenever possible. Almost all of our dishes are prepared on the premises.

Woods Restaurant 2

Which dishes should not be missed?
Our great salad bowls, which can also be shared by two people. Why not try the hot smoked salmon, cucumber, pea shoots, fennel, boiled egg and green beans with a lemon and dill dressing, or the pear, walnut, blue cheese and rocket salad with French dressing?

Can you recommend a great summer tipple?
A quintessentially English Pimm’s, or our homemade lemonade.

62 & 64 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 5TN
01892 614 411

The Dorset Arms


What makes your place so special for summer dining?
The Dorset Arms has a new garden room with a retractable roof, which can seat up to 30 diners outside during the summer months. We’ve included patio heaters so that people can still dine outside on those chilly nights. It’s available for private hire and makes a great party venue, and is also a great sun trap when the sun is shining.

Our garden is ready to welcome diners, and is located behind the pub, next to the new Old School House, which comprises of six en-suite bedrooms and bathrooms. There are benches and plenty of grass for all to enjoy, including a few secluded spots for those who are looking for a quiet drink. Located at the front of the pub are tables and chairs too.

Tell us about your approach to food
Chef Simon Brazier, who has been at the pub for three years, really enjoys creating new dishes and experimenting. Simon comments that he’s lucky to get a good variety of meats from the Buckhurst Park Estate, which allows him to produce new specials each week for the pub’s menu. With so much produce around the estate, Simon is spoiled for choice by the spring lamb, asparagus and game, allowing him to create some delicious new recipes.

The Dorset Arms 2

Do you have a must-try dish this summer?
Simon is looking forward to bringing back the lobster, mango and avocado salad in an olive oil and lime dressing. This is a dish that Chef created last year as a special, and it proved so popular with the diners that it will now appear as a permanent dish on the summer menu.

There’s also the pub classic, the Buckhurst Park sausage, which was created by Lord De La Warr and is named after his home. Produced using 100% British meat, this is a dish that can be served all year round, and in his mind is the perfect sausage.

Can you recommend a summer thirst-quencher?
Lord De La Warr, owner of The Dorset Arms, particularly favours the Chateau Saint Baillon Provence rosé wine, commenting that it’s the ideal summer tipple. The Bluebell Vineyard in Uckfield, located just down the road, supplies a Hindleap sparkling rosé brut, which is pale pink in colour with a hint of wild strawberries, and leaves a clean and refreshing taste on the palate, with a beautifully dry, fruity finish. The ultimate English cocktail would have to be Pimm’s served with Kentish strawberries, apples and fresh mint from the estate’s garden.

Buckhurst Park, Withyham, Hartfield, East Sussex TN7 4BD
01892 770 278

Monday to Saturday, noon to 11pm
Sunday, noon to 10.30pm

Monday to Friday,
noon to 2.30pm, 6pm to 9pm
Saturday, noon to 9pm
Sunday, noon to 4pm
Sunday supper, 4pm to 8pm

The Riverside Lamberhurst


How does The Riverside stand out as a summer eatery?
The 16th-century Riverside restaurant is located in the beautiful village of Lamberhurst. Our gardens and terrace are situated next to the River Tiese, which makes it a perfect location for that relaxing summer afternoon.

Describe your approach to food
The restaurant has stuck to its principles of emphasising local and seasonal produce whenever possible. All of our dishes are produced to order and prepared on the premises. We’ve worked very hard to produce a perfect summer menu to tickle your taste buds, with an emphasis on indulgence.

The Riverside Lamberhurst 2

What are some of your menu highlights this season?
This summer, you’ll see Rye Bay scallops and fresh Kentish asparagus, alongside fresh fish from Hastings and Sussex cross beef. Our ‘all the trimmings’ Sunday roast is the newest edition and is not to be missed.

And the perfect summer tipple?
Our local Kentish sparkling wine goes down a treat on a summer’s day by the river, or maybe a glass of fresh Pimm’s or an Aperol Spritz.

School Hill, Lamberhurst,
Nr Tunbridge Wells,
Kent TN3 8DQ
01892 890 277

The Kentish Hare


Why should we pay The Kentish Hare a visit this season?
In January, The Kentish Hare was awarded Best Newcomer 2016 in the Top 50 Gastro Pubs UK, and was ranked number 33. Last summer, we were number six in The Times Alfresco Britain – Best 50 Summer Pubs and gained two AA Rosettes. Our garden is delightful and fully stocked with a selection of spring/early summer plants.

What’s your approach to food?
We champion the very best of British food on offer to us, while supporting local producers and suppliers. All our food
is cooked to order, and our head chef favours the seasonal flavours of each time of year. Currently, his saddle of lamb with polenta chips and salsa verde is proving to be very popular.

Any other dishes you’d suggest this summer?
Confit salmon with teriyaki, pickled mouli, daikon cress, salmon roe and bok choi – delicious!

How about a drink to go with it?
We have a great selection of Kentish Hare cocktails, and our latest is the KH gin and cucumber sorbet cocktail – long, refreshing and cool, need we say more! Also, a local Jake’s Cider, brewed and made on the Hush Heath Estate in Staplehurst and chilled to perfection, goes down well with any dish, or simply being enjoyed while socialising in the Library Bar or garden with friends.

95 Bidborough Ridge, Bidborough Village, Kent TN3 0XB
01892 525 709