Undercover Eater

Undercover Eater

Here’s where we send one of our resident foodies into a local eatery and they tell it like it is. This month Undercover Eater visits Saint John’s Yard in Tunbridge Wells

A popular gastro pub in Tunbridge Wells, Saint John’s Yard is a much-loved regular haunt for my friends and I. We’re here for a leisurely Sunday afternoon lunch and catch up in a cosy environment.

Situated in the north of Tunbridge Wells, Saint John’s Yard is on St John’s Road and a 10 minute walk from the town centre. The pub is one of a few in the area, much to its advantage and there are a couple of cafés close by. Unfortunately, parking is limited in the immediate premises, however, there is parking available on John Street nearby.

If a lull in conversation surfaces, the interior can certainly step in to prompt discussion. Such as the stag’s head above our table with light bulbs hanging from copper pipes as antlers or the literary display situated behind us. Amusement can also be found in the witty quotes displayed throughout the pub. Twinkling fairy lights are positioned throughout and highlight the exposed wooden beams. Towards the back is the vintage room, a particular favourite with retro memorabilia and board games and is available to hire. It is clear the management put ample effort into the interior of the pub, giving it a unique edge and atmosphere for guests.

With a burger-heavy menu on Sundays, we’re offered a limited choice of food. They do however offer a full Sunday lunch or any other day the pub serves 8oz sirloin steak, Cajun chicken skewers, chilli dog and various freshly prepared salads. After much deliberation, I opt for the New Orleans burger, one of the two vegetarian burgers on the menu. I am not a vegetarian myself, however the ingredients sell it to me, consisting of tempura aubergine slices, goats cheese, chilli and red pepper jam, rocket, sun-dried tomatoes and Cajun mayonnaise. To accompany, I order a bottle of Chegworth Valley apple and rhubarb juice (£2.80). My friends go for the chicken fillet burger and the saint burger (beef with blue cheese, pancetta and red onion marmalade) with a pints of Harvey’s Ale and glasses of lemonade.

One of the many reasons we’ve chosen to dine here is for the pub’s relaxing atmosphere although the price is certainly an incentive. On Sundays, gourmet burgers are only £6 each including chips, so we’ve certainly had our money’s worth. Otherwise, any other day the burgers range from the standard price of £8.50 to £10.95.

Ordering and paying for food at the bar is customary at Saint John’s Yard, allowing our interaction with the staff to be limited, although they are friendly and approachable. Therefore, dining is fairly self-service with cutlery, napkins and sauces served in a wooden basket, a tasteful rustic feature common among gastro pubs nowadays.

I enjoyed the mixture of flavours the burger provides, however, I’m rather envious of my friend’s sweet potato fries, an addition at only £1 extra. As is the difficulty with many gourmet burgers which are generously filled, eating can be a task. I find cutting the burger in half more manageable. Overall, the combination of the meal, friends and atmosphere generates a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

66 St. Johns Road,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 9PE 01892 619 376