Modern European·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Thackeray's

Silver Award

Once home to Victorian writer and satirist William Makepeace Thackeray, this “Tunbridge Wells institution” makes an immediate impact on arrival with its all-white, New England exterior that makes it feel like a fairy tale cottage.

Inside, it’s beautifully maintained with glowing lamps, muted colours and exuberantly furnished private rooms – a smart backdrop for some meticulously crafted modern French cooking – a skill the kitchen team has been honing in during nearly 20 years of operation.

There’s plenty of creativity on show here, although it never goes over the top – witness a tantalising starter of cured monkfish with heritage tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, braised octopus, sorrel, and fennel pollen. The rabbit loin with crisp pancetta, apricot, spring vegetables, cashew and a confit leg ‘club sandwich’ has also received much praise.

After that, you might go for dry-aged beef sirloin, roast loin of pork or aged Goudhurst lamb with roast best end, cos lettuce with peas, slow-cooked glazed belly and parmesan. To finish, try the Kentish cherry mousse with sour cherry, frosted pistachio and cherry sorbet. The cheese board, with artisan biscuits and apple chutney is another winner.

It’s all wonderful. One fan goes as far as to call it “faultless” with its “great food and charming professional service”. Real skill, attention to detail and panache is demonstrated in the cooking here, which is headed up by head chef Patrick Hill. Yet, the overall impression is unpretentious and laid-back, without losing its sophisticated identity.  

There’s a “particularly good-value” lunch, one fan announces and the tasting menu is “an adventure into the unknown (in a good way)”. The sommelier “deserves a pat on the back” says another fan, for his astute wine pairings, and there’s a gorgeous Japanese terrace garden for fine days – no wonder readers say it’s “well worth the trip out of London”.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Modern European
Food Hygiene Rating


85 London Road, Tunbridge Wells, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 1EA

01892 511921


Opening Times

Tues-Sat 12N-2.30pm 6.30-10.30pm Sun 12N-2.30pm


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5 Reviews 


13 July 2021  
Food & Drink 2
Service 1
Atmosphere 3
Value 2
Appalling Attitude

Very disappointing lunch which although started ok soon went downhill and was ruined, for me, by the attitude of the General Manager, Gary. After choosing a wine which I felt would go well with our main course (I am WSET level 3 qualified but did not make that known) I was told by Gary that it was entry level and not very good quality but he had to keep his voice down as the table next to us had ordered it and proceeded to upsell a wine that was double the price. I I realise this happens in restaurants but I would expect that any wine on Thackerays menu is good quality regardless of price otherwise it surely they would not sell it. It didn’t stop there - when asked if we were ready to order dessert, I was still finishing the red wine so said not until I had finished to which Gary said “it’s not all about you“. When the time came, I asked him to recommend a wine that would pair well with my chosen dessert, which he did. I commented that it was quite smoky and very different (I actually didn’t think it was a great match) but when he said “I like it” and walked off I was stunned. As a guest, I did not want to make a fuss or embarrass my host on the day. However, I was very upset and offended by his attitude and was appalled by the whole experience. It is a local restaurant to my business and one which I have, in the past, taken guests. I did write to the restaurant and asked them to whom I should direct a complaint but have received no response and expect it is Gary. I always make a point of writing reviews when I have had a good experience anywhere but I feel so strongly that this was such a negative experience that I simply had to write a review that is far from positive.


John C

01 April 2019  
Excellent food, drink and service. Lunch particularly good value.

Andy S

29 March 2019  
Great food, charming professional service. Faultless!

28 January 2014  
Food & Drink 1
Service 3
Atmosphere 3
Value 3
After what appeared to be a pretty good meal, everything looking fabulous and tasted good too, our entire party of 4 ended up with food poisoning over the weekend. We were aware of friends in laws dining on the same date but at very different times (we dined at 12.30 and left shortly after the others arrived around 2pm) and when we contacted them, we found 10 diners out of 10 had been ill, some severely, over the weekend. Environmental Health noted the only common factor between us all was the amuse bouche (goose ballotine), yet with no hard evidence (illness occurring over the weekend doesn't allow for samples going to the GP!), the final comments were that other than the common risk factor of eating at Thackerays, they could find no other link (surely that says it all?). The worst part?? We have been treated shabbily since this event and have not once received an apology from the restaurant. Even worse, the owner has lied to newspapers that we all dined together in a confined space – oh dear me! Will never be returning there and extremely glad that I had not purchased their Groupon offer for a 7 course tasting menu as that would have been wasted money!

Robin H

26 July 2012  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
Great food and service and they even had a very good jazz band playing, sunday. Good choices on the menu. Not easy to find with the sat nav, but it was only a few mins away. Will be back again.
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