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Sevenoaks’ cool new eatery

With its laid back vibe, top food and drink offering and a cool working space - Fego is the new place to be

What’s that you say? Sorry I can’t hear you, my ear is still totally to the ground….For yes, last week your intrepid guzzler sniffed the rumour, made the call and zipped on down to Fego, the brand new restaurant-cum-café-cum-bar that’s opened just off Sevenoaks’ high street in Blighs Meadow. This is the kind of sacrifice I like to make on your behalf *cough*, and what I found was a vibrant, buzzy space that was already making it’s mark just a couple of weeks after opening. What to find out more…?

THE LOCATION

You’ll find Fego – the name is based on the initials of the founders wife, a successful resturanteur in South Africa – right in the middle of Sevenoaks town. For those of you that know this neck-of-the-woods it’s in the spot near Blighs car park where the old Café Rouge used to sit. I think it’s fair to say this is a very welcome improvement…

THE VIBE

This new launch is the lastest addition to the Fego family (there are 7 other venues, including Gerrards Cross, Cobham and St. John’s Wood). Sevenoaks is the largest Fego yet and like each destination its working hard to maintain its individual identity and community feel, rather than coming close to anything like a chain. The interiors are all South African inspired, from the hand-painted wall tiles to the stunning ceramics.

It’s a funky, flexible space, bright, airy and spread across three floors. It would be the perfect place to come with family or friends for a big slap up meal but you could just as easily sit with a work colleague over a coffee or even just come on your own. Glancing round the room on my visit I see older people, younger people, Mums and kids and people in suits work-lunching. The whole of town seems right at home already!

SCOFF/QUAFF

I’m greeted by a blackboard sign advertising Clean Eating, which unsettled me at first (I like a side order of fries and bottle of wine as much as the next person) but I needn’t have worried. The food is fabulous. Just proper tasty wholesome stuff – loads of healthy options, but also cakes, coffee, pizza you name it – all also available. It’s basically all home-made that’s the difference – and while there’s a lot of there’s lots of healthy options there’s plenty of your traditional staples as well.

Coffee is top quality – featuring artisanal coffee from Climpsons. The essence of Fego is that the customer is really well looked after and totally at home. So people can order off any menu any time of the day and also very welcome to make specific requests about the food (gluten free? no problem, change the coffee recipe? no problem).

Puddings are divine – Fego have partnered with ‘Gelupo’, renowned Gelataria in London’s Soho to bringing a bit of London cool to Sevenoaks (literally).

I opted for a Superfood Salad (in the spirit of, if you can’t beat them join them) with seared yellow fin tuna (see below) and it was very yummy and virtuous. I ordered the larger size (£10.95) but would probably have been satisfied enough on the smaller version (£5.95) as I just couldn’t finish it. My friend, Rachel, tried out the Shakshuka which is a Middle East/North Africa dish (I think) made up of eggs poached in a peppery, tomato sauce. She said it was amazing, again it was a big portion size, so if you’re after a light lunch you could go for the smaller sizes – and of course that allows you to squeeeeze in a pudding (trust me you don’t want to miss out on these, see below). It’s great to have the choice of size.

The menus here are split into Breakfast/Lunch and Dinner but there’s no obligation to eat from certain ones at certain times – you can order what you want, when you like it. Anything goes.

Samples of Lemon posset; Peppermint crisp pudding, custard tart and Gelupo chocolate sorbet – amaaaaazing

KID-FRIENDLY?

I mean, let’s be very clear, my kids are into ‘Clean Eating’ about as much as I’m into grating my eyeballs, but there’s definitely no need to worry here. There’s a brilliant ‘Fego Young Diners’ Children’s Menu which includes pasta, toasties, burgers, fish fingers, hot dogs. If you’ve got older kids that like to order from the adult menu the Dinner Menu includes dishes such as Cheeseburger, Pizza, Fish and Chips and Spaghetti which ought to cover off even the most precious of tastebuds. So this is a great option for those times when you’re treating the mudlets to a meal out – I will definitely be coming here to feed my mudlets this summer *reserves a table every day of the week*. It’s good quality kid-friendly food – that they’ll love almost as much as you’ll love not cooking. (I spotted loads of highchairs stacked behind the bar so just ask if you need.)

OUT & ABOUT

If you don’t know Sevenoaks that well – it’s a small but perfectly formed town, with a decent selection of high street faves (Mint Velvet, Fat Face, Seasalt) as well as loads of cute independents – gift, interiors and clothing stores. Fego is positioned right in the middle of the best shopping bit down the little pedestrianised lanes. I can recommend The Clever Dresser women’s boutique or, for men, the brand new County Clothes store – both are less than 1 minute’s walk away on Bank Street. (Oh go on, blow the budget! You just ate a Superfood Salad for heaven’s sake!)

ANYTHING ELSE?

The owners want this place to be all things to all people – so during the day, you can soak up the sun at an outdoor table or become a member of ‘Life’ at Fego; the co-working space upstairs. While I was there a work meeting was taking place at the big table upstairs and then, through a divide at the back were smaller tables where people were sipping coffee and looking through emails on their laptops. Better still, from 6pm – 12am this space turns into a bar… It serves all the usuals – porn star martini? Don’t mind if I do (£7.50 glass; £21 jug) and is currently putting together its new signature cocktails, expanding their wine list (currently only SA focused) and bringing in some cool beers.

You can book the upstairs for your own private celebration too, which will soon be a popular party destination I’m sure.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Girlie lunches, family get-togethers, business-lunchers and work-from-homers alike. Bring your laptop, bring your buggy, bring a board game if you like. Eat your own body-weight in homemade delights or just have a coffee. No one will hassle you if you’d like to spend two hours over a Cappuccino. They’re created a relaxed comfortable space and are really going out of the way here to make you feel at home. Fego is clearly passionate about the food, coffee and atmosphere they create – but it’s not fancy or fussy – there’s a laid back vibe.

Not for: Er, hard to say who wouldn’t like this place – I guess not ideal for atmospheric, candle-lit romancers, this place is more trendy and buzzy. Also not for anyone after a rural ramble obviously, as it’s in the middle of town. Although having said that you’ve got Knole Park, Kent’s last medieval deer park, just 2 mins up the road – so you could probably even fit that in too.

The damage: It’s fairly priced for home cooking this good and portion sizes are generous. Smashed avocado & poached eggs £8.75; House Salad (small) £5.25; Fego club sandwich, £8.50. Cappucino £2.65, cocktails around £7.50. Kids menu great value £4.50 for Cheese Burger or Hot Dog and Ice Cream & hot Chocolate Sauce £1.95.

Fego, Blighs Meadow, Pembroke Rd, Sevenoaks TN13 1AS, Tel:  01732 464640hellofego.com

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