Tunbridge Wells, Kent

This relaxed restaurant with confident cooking at its core has attracted a loyal following


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When husband and wife team Rob and Donna Taylor announced they were leaving their popular gastropub The Compasses Inn in Crundale after eight years to embark on their own project, Tallow, in Tunbridge Wells many Kent dwellers will have taken to Google Maps to see how their new gastronomic pilgrimage looked (in her review of The Compasses, Guardian critic Grace Dent said of the pair: ‘Wherever they go, I will follow’).

Having won The Compasses a Bib Gourmand and also a top 10 position in the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list, such a loyal following is understandable. Even more so now that they have opened Tallow and is it proving to be every bit as good as what came before.

The Taylor’s have kept things simple and hearty, with Tallow’s monthly-changing menu offering three starters, three main courses and three desserts, with a nine-course tasting menu available in the private dining room. It’s a meaty affair, with the likes of roast wood pigeon; treacle-cured beef; quail; crispy confit lamb; and roast loin of venison making appearances, paired with seasonal and local ingredients.

As a nice quirk that we’d like to see adopted by more restaurants, the bread course also gets an overhaul each month, with previous delights having included cheese scones with caramelised onion; a cheese and truffle toastie; and warm soda bread and malted buttermilk for dipping. That alone is reason to make Tallow a monthly dining occasion.

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