Muddy eats: The Terrace, One Warwick Park
I’ve been keen to have a nosey around the much anticipated One Warwick Park Hotel in Tunbridge Wells since it opened in June. Sadly the launch party, which I was lucky enough to have been invited to, clashed with the Muddy Awards drinks (the highlight of my calendar, obvs!) so I couldn’t go. But actually to get a true measure of any place you can’t just see it at a launch night – no, you have to arrive screeching through the door 10 mins late because your dental appointment over-ran, followed by a long work call you couldn’t cut short and then total ineptitude about parking your car. You know, the stuff of real life. This is how we all arrive for lunch meetings isn’t it? (Come on, it can’t be just me?!)
This building has seen many reincarnations over the years, one of the more recent being the Brew House Hotel of which I have very vague memories of a pink walled bar and six too many Margaritas. This latest incarnation – One Warwick Park, or OWP – combines three separate buildings, one of which was the former Brew House Hotel but also now the Old School House across the road and a new-build complex have all been incorporated into one hotel. Yes, you read that right, one of the buildings swallowed up into OWP is across the road – it’s joined rather cleverly by a tunnel under the road that doubles as an art gallery.
The hotel is located on a quiet corner of Tunbridge Wells’ pretty Pantiles and only a few minutes walk from the train station. The more formal restaurant, L’Amore, specialises in Italian food, and is accessed through the Chapel Place entrance. Walk around the corner towards Warwick Park and you’ll come across the entrance to The Terrace, the more relaxed day time dining option (or you can just walk through the hotel from the L’Amore entrance and have a gander at the impressive atrium on your way through).
Inside everything is spankingly new – lots of shiny marble surfaces and sumptuous grey modern interiors. Sometimes I like to lunch in a bustling cafe, full of atmosphere, where I can’t get to the loo for squeezing between the tables and tripping over the stack of bags from someone else’s successful shopping trip. But what The Terrace offers is an oasis of calm and clean lines, which I much appreciated after a hectic morning.
And if it’s a light bite you’re after, that’s simple and tasty, then this is the menu for you. My friend, Sarah, ate Crushed Avocado on Granary Toast with soft poached eggs and pea shoots (£7) and I polished my halo while chowing down on Grilled Aubergine Caponata & Mozzarella Sandwich with fresh basil, rocket and fried zucchini (£7) – see above.
The thing is it didn’t taste healthy, just delicious – the Zucchini (or courgette, to you and me) tasted like delicate little fries. I wasn’t hungry again for hours afterwards (most unusual). The staff were wonderfully polite and the food excellent value for money.
Oh, and just a quick word on parking – the lower end of Warwick Park is free for two hours between 8am and 6pm and is unlimited outside of these hours. Otherwise there’s lots of other car park options in town that are only five mins walk away.
OWP is all about modernity and minimalism, which suits its central town location. And let’s be honest, Tunbridge Wells already has its fair share of traditional hotels, so this offers something different. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of old school rural charm and period character – but for that I’m already spoilt for choice if I just head into the Kentish countryside.
After all it’s useful to have a variety of different ‘eat out’ options in your arsenal and the beauty of The Terrace is that it’s a bang up-to-date destination, right in the heart of a town that doesn’t have much else like this on offer. I’ll be back!
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Small group girlfriend get-togethers, when you want to take your Mum somewhere a bit swanky and business/ work lunches.
Not for: If you’re after a more cosy, rustic environment, you’ll be better suited in one of the many out-of-town pubs! It’s not romantic in a roaring fire and snuggly sofa kind of way, but rather fun and functional.
££: Beer battered fillet of hake £10.50 and Chargrilled 6oz fillet steak £18.00 are the bigger meal options, but the lighter bite salads and sandwiches, (around £7 mark), make an excellent and affordable treat in town or a working lunch alternative for when you want to break away from the sandwich shop chains.
One Warwick Park Hotel, 1 Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TA, Tel: 01892 520587, onewarwickpark.co.uk