18 Grove Hill Rd Royal Tunbridge Wells TN1 1RZ
Telephone: 01892 523030
Website: Click Here
Cost for a Sunday lunch – Roast Beef, Roast Pork Belly – £16.50
I was looking for a Sunday lunch in Tunbridge Wells, when a friend suggested I give The Black Pig a go. Booking was simple, a quick call and we were all ready.
We parked in a pay and display car park about 15 minutes walk away – when we actually arrived at the venue, I noticed a few spaces we could have parked in for free on Sundays and also a car park just for The Black Pig visitors (oh well, we’ll remember for next time).
The outside of the pub looked fun and quirky, painted black with white pigs dotted around. It was a bit awkward to get the pram through the front door, but we managed it. A bar was immediately in front of us, with a small sitting area to the right. I asked about our table and we were shown the way through. As we had John William in the pram, we were put on a table with the most space, at the back of the restaurant.
Looking around the venue, the quirkiness continued from outside. The tables were country-rustic, with painted white legs. The floor was dark wooden, walls a mix of cream and gunship grey. Wood carvings adorned some of the walls, as well as large framed posters explaining The Black Pig story (which was an interesting read – all the meat is organic and the rest of the food is locally sourced etc)
We ordered drinks – a soda water for Claire (free) and a blackcurrant and soda for me (£1.70). Looking over the menu, we once again had interesting choices for starters (as I remarked in our last review – Sunday lunch at The Lord Northbrook). We decided to share one starter, being the pork rillette. For main course, although I was extremely tempted by the pork belly, we both went for the roast beef – Claire asked to have it cooked medium well, I asked for how it comes (medium rare).
The starter came out quickly with great presentation. The pork crackling was placed on the rillett with some garnish on top. The piccalilli was in a little kilne jar in the middle of the board, and melba toast on the right (I’m going to call “toastettes” :-))
I had never had rillette before, so was quite eager to give it a go. To my untrained palate, it seemed like quite large pieces of pork in cream or fat; that may not be selling it for you, but I really enjoyed it – so much nicer than pate or terrine. The crackling was delightful and Claire thought the piccalilli was good (it’s not one for me).
Moving on to the main course. Again, a great presentation and very tempting – the slices of meat looked devine – along with 3 medium-sized roast potatoes, a yorkshire each, and vegetables. Obviously, gravy was over and around the dish.
My roast beef was cooked to my taste – slightly burnt on the edge giving it a wonderful flavour. Claire’s roast beef was to her request and liking. There were two very large slices on each plate which was more than enough. The roast potatoes were excellent, very crispy outside and fluffy inside.
The vegetable selection consisted of: green cabbage, red cabbage and mashed something or other. Claire remarked that the green cabbage tasted very “meaty” – it had been cooked with bacon! The red cabbage was excellent and for once, I really enjoyed the mashed veg. I believe it was carrot and parsnip – very fresh tasting and the best I have ever had. The yorkshire pudding was ok – again tasted fresh, perhaps slightly oily but enjoyable.
Lastly, the gravy – good tasting, thick and plentiful. So, overall a great Sunday lunch – Claire remarked that all the flavours worked well together.
After this, I just had to give the desserts a go. There was no contest, the Passionfruit Cheesecake (£6.50) was the clear winner. I also ordered a green tea (£2.30).
I’ll describe the tea first – boring and over priced. It came out in a clear glass mug on a plate, which was good, but it was a simple Tetley green tea bag. I thought a higher end brand would justify the price of £2.30 a cup, such as teapigs or even Jing Tea. But, simple Tetley meant I felt quite ripped off on this part of the meal.
Rant over – now on to the cheesecake. Presentation was excellent – a generous slice of cheesecake on one side, a mango sorbet under a sugar strand lattice. A passionfruit coulis was dribbled around the plate, and some salt / sugar mix was on the side. All in all, it looked amazing. And, the taste was superb. The mango sorbet was so fruity and the cheesecake was excellent.
So, on to a conclusion. The service here was good, the waitress was attentive without being intrusive. This was an amazing meal – inventive and fun. The starter was perfect between Claire and me. The thick slices of roast beef was cooked to our liking, as were the potatoes. The vegetables were flavoursome and interesting. The passionfruit cheesecake dessert was excellent too. The expensive and unimaginative green tea is something that needs to be improved on though. The venue was smart whilst not taking itself too seriously (the men’s urinals were actually metal buckets!). Oh, and the meat being organic really tops it off.
With all this in mind, I am going to award 5 plates for Sunday lunch at The Black Pig in Tunbridge Wells – just don’t order the green tea.