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AA rating

About this rating

Restaurants are awarded from 1 to 5 Rosettes for culinary excellence. One Rosette restaurants are highly recommended in a local area and five Rosettes have reached the pinnacle of culinary excellence at a world class level.

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Glossy modern European cooking at the novelist's home

AA Inspector

At a glance

Open all year
Vegetarian menu
Tasting menu
Private dining
Wines by the glass
Wheelchair access

The white-weatherboarded house facing the common dates from around 1660, and this stylish restaurant’s name pays due homage to the time when it was home to the eponymous Victorian author of Vanity Fair. There’s plenty of period charisma in the main dining room, where leafy designer wallpaper dovetails with smartly clothed tables and understated modern looks. Head chef Patrick Hill prides himself on sourcing top-quality raw materials from local counties and deploys them intelligently and imaginatively, mixing influences in true modern European style. Seriously appealing dishes might start with duck liver parfait and smoked duck breast, matched appropriately with Earl Grey-infused prunes, bergamot and orange-braised chicory. They may sound complex, but sound culinary judgement ensures all elements work together in main courses too, perhaps sea bass with open ravioli of squid ragù, roast and tempura cauliflower, fennel à la grecque and shellfish bisque. Meat-wise, the big guns might be deployed for a dish of roasted beef fillet and braised ox cheek with potato purée, veal sweetbread, chestnut mushrooms, baby onions and honey-glazed parsnip. Dishes make an impact on the eye as well as on the palate, whether it’s a reworked Black Forest theme involving Kirsch parfait, pistachio cake, chocolate bark and cherry sorbet, or a perfectly risen apple and cinnamon soufflé.

Opening hours

  • Open all year
  • Days closed: Monday
  • Closed for dinner: Sunday
  • Lunch served from: 12
  • Lunch served until: 2.30
  • Dinner served from: 6.30
  • Dinner served until: 10.30

Chef

  • Chef: Richard Phillips, Shane Hughes, Pat Hill

Food and drink

  • Cuisine style: Modern European
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Wines under £30: 17
  • Wines over £30: 140
  • Wines by the glass: 20

Price guide

  • 2-course lunch from18
  • 3-course lunch from20
  • 3-course dinner from55
  • Tasting menu from88
  • Service charge
  • Credit cards accepted

Accessibility

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Steps for wheelchair: 1
  • Assist dogs welcome

Facilities

  • Seats: 70
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 16
  • Off-site parking available: On street in evening, NCP

Additional information

  • Seats: 70
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 16

Getting here

A21/A26, towards Tunbridge Wells. On left 500 yards after the Kent and Sussex Hospital

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Nearest train station

Tunbridge Wells
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Three-course lunch from£20**Based on the minimum price for a 3-course lunch *Based on the minimum price for a 3-course lunch
*Based on the minimum price for a 3-course lunch
*Based on the minimum price for a 3-course lunch
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