Tunbridge Wells restaurant run by raved about Kent chef confirms opening date and launch menu

Chef Robin Read is opening a restaurant in Tunbridge Wells - in whit chef's top and a navy butchers' apron, he has a beard and shaved head
Chef Robin Read is opening a restaurant in Tunbridge Wells -Credit:Stuart Mack

The opening day of a new restaurant in Tunbridge Wells from a chef whose pop-up in a nearby village was raved about by customers has nearly arrived. The new restaurant from Robin Read will offer five, eight and 10 course tasting menus, costing £60, £95 and £125 respectively.

The Counter is in Calverley Road and diners can expect menus created from the chef's "love of classical cookery and a curious mind for new techniques". The opening launch menu will feature cured mackerel croustade with broccoli purée, Birchden asparagus and seaweed; Cavolo nero cavatelli, Old Winchester and sage; steamed brill, lobster mousse, caramelised cauliflower, and seaweed confit potatoes; and rosemary and fennel granita.

Robin and his wife Greta are opening The Counter on Thursday, May 2 in the tree-lined, red brick paved Calverley Road, which is a matter of steps from the main pedestrian precinct of Tunbridge Wells town centre.

The building will have the main restaurant with table and counter dining, a private dining room, small wine bar and courtyard garden, where some herbs, salad and vegetables will be grown for the kitchen.

Those having the 10 course menu can sit at the counter and watch Robin and his team cook. Suppliers at The Counter include Kentish fruit and vegetables from T H Brown and Son, fish from Chapmans in Sevenoaks, meat from Fullers Butchers in Eridge and charcuterie from Beal’s.

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There will be English and European wines alongside several English spirits, such as Hepple gin and vodka and Vault vermouth and botanical spirits.

The new restaurant opening in Tunbridge Wells - lovely wooden floors and tables, dark grey seating, and window at the end
The new restaurant opening in Tunbridge Wells -Credit:Stuart Mack

Robin's passion for cooking started at 16 and he first completed work experience with the Roux Brothers in their London patisserie. He launched The Counter at the popular Daily Bread in the High Street in Rusthall in October 2022. It was fine dining with a set tasting menu with produce sourced locally.

He has worked and trained alongside Nico Ladenis and Marco Pierre White, and being part of the teams retaining Michelin Stars for Chez Nico and Mirabelle Restaurants. He was executive chef of the Firmdale Hotel Group for 16 years. Reservations open on April 22.

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