Hotel du Vin, Tunbridge Wells
Using bookatable.co.uk has become a practical and hassle free way of choosing where to eat and how to book a table. In addition to the well known high street eateries bookatable.co.uk has recently added a range of Star Deals offering incredibly good value dining experiences at some of the best restaurants in the country. We decided to try out the Star Deal at our local Hotel du Vin in Tunbridge Wells which offers a fantastic deal of a Chateuabriand for two with a bottle of wine for just £50, a dining experience that would otherwise cost approximately £85.
The bookatable.co.uk website is simple to navigate and user friendly. There are clearly marked tabs guiding you to their range of Star Deal offers where you can browse a wide choice of great deals at high end restaurants. The main Star Deals page lists predominantly London based venues, but if you search your local towns you will find the odd Star Deal available as options which may not be listed on the main Star Deal page. I found it very straight forward to book our table online. I was given a choice of suitable time slots and sent both confirmation and a reminder at convenient times. It is worth noting that the majority of Star Deals are not available at peak dining times such as Friday or Saturday evenings.
Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells is a grand Georgian hotel set in it’s own ornamental gardens and tucked a short walk from the hustle of the High Street. The hotel offers a small amount of guest parking on it’s own driveway. We visited on a cold Thursday lunchtime in January. On arrival we were warmly welcomed by reception staff and, being 10 minutes too early for the start of lunch, guided into the bar area. We ordered a warm cappuccino in an attempt to thaw the chill that had set in on our journey. The bar has a classic vintage cigar bar, feel with leather sofas and dark wooden panelling….cosy and inviting on such a cold day.
Warm from the bar and our coffee we approach the dining area. The Bistro du Vin is a classic French styled restaurant. Again the feel is classic vintage with dark woods, heavy leather chairs and retro lamps. The dining area is smart, clean and laid up with sparkling cutlery and glassware. There are a handful of fellow diners. The atmosphere is relaxed and business like. As we have booked our table through bookatable.com the staff are already aware of our menu choice. After settling down we are presented with a bottle of Chateau Bauduc Merlot-Cabernet Bordeaux 2014, a great pairing with the meat and not overly heavy for a lunchtime tipple.
Having ordered carrots as our choice of side dish we are given the choice of 3 types of warm rustic breads. Knowing we are expecting a large main we bypass starters and decide to wait for the main course which arrives after about half an hour.
The Chataeubriand sharing platter is placed in the middle of the table with accompanying Peppercorn Sauce and Jus Roti. The steak perfectly browned on the outside but pink and slightly bloody on the inside ….and with 8 thick slices a generous portion even for two. Sides are individual baskets of French fries, chantenay carrots and a delicious onion loaf. We were particularly taken by the onion loaf, crisp exterior but slightly creamy once sliced into, delicious with a slither of steak and a splash of the Jus Roti. The meal was well presented, a perfect combination of flavours…and the meat was absolutely melt in your mouth delicious.
We ordered a cheese platter for dessert (£9.95), not part of the Star Deal but something flavoursome to finish a wonderful meal. The platter comes with a selection of biscuits and a good selection of both English and French cheeses…accompanied by the last few drops of our wine….the perfect wind down.
We were really pleased with our Star Deal (Chateaubriand and a bottle of wine £50). As I mentioned at the start of the review, the Chateaubriand and the wine in itself would otherwise have cost about £85…we paid £65 for our Star Deal including our dessert and a 10% service charge. What a great way to sample restaurant’s and menus that might otherwise be out of our price range…now where to visit next…?