The Bakehouse at 124
As far as interesting independent food businesses are concerned, Tonbridge High Street is a touch limited. The Bakehouse at 124 is a notable exception.
The Bakehouse is situated in the older, more architecturally alluring part of town in a timber-framed Grade II-listed bakery-cum-café. While you’ll want some real sourdough bread (you can see it being made from a ‘viewing bench’) and one or two pastries to take home, the presence of affable staff, a homely atmosphere, and the prospect of afternoon tea mean there’s more than enough reason to stay.
Food and ingredients are sourced as close to home as possible. Traceability is something owner Clare Barton and team are quite proud of, and evidently so – one of the first things you see when walking in is a blackboard indicating who makes the cheese they use, or which farm is currently supplying the pork for their sausage sarnies.
The Bakehouse also holds sporadic pizza evenings. A refreshing alternative to the restaurant chains down the road, the bakery opens up to customers past its usual closing time. And thank goodness it does – the pizza bases are made on site, and with help from their local suppliers (plus a little Bakehouse magic), Tonbridge has been given a valuable new eating out option. Local families and couples arrive in their droves. It’s little wonder why.
By Hugh Thomas, Kent editor