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Muddy reviews: The Chequers, Lamberhurst

Relaunched in lockdown, this characterful 15th century inn has new owners and benefitted from a full facelift. With a stylish, but low-key vibe, it's now one of our firm family favourites. Shall we?

THE LOCATION 

Found in the middle of Lamberhurst, this conveniently located picturesque pub sits near the border of Kent and Sussex, moments from the A21 and within easy reach of top day trip destinations, like Scotney Castle, Bewl Water and Bedgebury for starters.

THE LOWDOWN

With a gorgeous beer garden outside, for sunny days, and log fires and wooden beams inside, for cosy winter drinks and dining, there’s something for everyone – and for every season.

THE VIBE

With new owners, Tom & Pip Caddick, at the helm the pub was lovingly restored from top to bottom during lockdown, although they made it a priority to retain all of the traditional charm while adding in a fresh, modern and playful layer.

Think log fires, squishy chesterfields and eclectic wall art. You’ll feel at home whether you’re in for a relaxed pint, in the more informal bar area – or getting dressed up for dinner in the stylish restaurant space.

SCOFF & QUAFF

The food consists of simple dishes made of good ingredients from local suppliers where possible – like meat from Fullers Butchers in Tunbridge Wells and Bodiam Meat or fish from Sankeys in Tunbridge Wells and cheese from The Cheese Man, in Sussex.

Burrata Cheese, with Fresh Peaches, Roasted Hazelnuts, Basil Oil, Sherry & Honey Glaze & Sourdough Bread

The menu is divided into Sarnies (served 12-5pm), Graze, Bite (small plate and Starter size dishes) and Devour (Mains). So there’s plenty of options – particuarly for light bite lunches, which would be my preferred offering.

Courgette, Pea & Mint Fritters – lovely light & crisp fritters served with a zesty lemon mayo

On this ocassion we ate starters and mains (for research purposes obvs) but portion sizes for Mains were large, as I often find is the case with pub grub.

When I return I would be happy dining on a selection of Graze or Bite dishes, (pictured above) not just for portion size, but also because they were so delicious I’d like to go back and try any of those I missed.

For my Main (pictured above) I went for Fishermans’ Plate which features the ‘Catch of the day’, an ever changing dish which happened to be tuna.

My friend, Debbie, opted for the Huntman’s Plate – a dish based on what the chef hand-picks from the butcher’s locker, which in this case was lamb, (pictured below).

For pudding (what more, I hear you cry?!) we shared a Kentish Strawberry & Elderflower Mousse on a buttery shortbread base, with fresh strawberries and a straweberry jelly, (pictured below).

Um, you seem to be salivating, madam…

Dishes are simple, fresh and unfussy. No one’s seeking to reinvent the wheel but the aim is to breathe fresh life into classics and elevate them.

I have it on good authority, from my eating companion, Debbie, who lives in the villlage and has visited before with her family, (including her four kids), that the burgers and roasts are sound staples here too.

KID-FRIENDLY

Oh yes. It’s one of the strong points. The Kids Menu is a huge hit with families that I’ve spoken to locally – similar dishes to some of the adult faves, just smaller, simpler versions of them. Like Demi Burger & Fries, Fish and Chips, Sausage and Mash – all followed by Chocolate Brownie or local Ice Cream. I mean what’s not to love?

ANYTHING ELSE?

There’s even a large and pretty outside garden, making it a perfect sunshine dining destination.

OUT & ABOUT

Within easy reach of top day trip destinations, like Scotney Castle, Bewl Water and Bedgebury for starters.

THE MUDDY VERDICT 

GOOD FOR: It worked very well for a girls’ lunch but it would be a great option for the family at the weekend/during holidays especially with so many family-friendly destinations on the doorstep. Reallly tasty, bursting with flavour light bites – just the kind of food we love – and good for an evening drink too!

NOT FOR: Big-time foodies – this is well-done pub grub, with a great vibe and goregous beer garden.

THE DAMAGE

Graze and Bite dishes between £6 & £9. Kids mains £7 and puddings £4 so you can feed them two courses for just over a tenner.

 The Chequers, The Broadway, Lamberhurst, TN3 8DB. Tel: 01892 891 850. chequerslamberhurst.com

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