A former pub-restaurant of mediocre standing before the I’ll Be Mother group stepped in a few years back, The Beacon near Rusthall village has transformed into one of the most attractive dining-out venues in the Tunbridge Wells area.
Arguably, its biggest asset is the view. Choose the right table and you’ve got a vista of 16 acres – and beyond – of Kentish countryside. The pub-restaurant’s estate has three lakes, a kitchen garden where produce is grown for the menu, a large dining terrace, and plenty of open ground for summer drinking.
If you’re stuck inside, though, it’s no bad thing. The Beacon’s undergone extensive refurbishment since it changed management. Stained-glass windows, open fires, and period-inspired décor grace the interiors.
And we haven’t even got to the food yet – local talented chef Scott Goss helped found the project, and his strong ethos of seasonal, high-end but accessible food is evident on the menu. Think chicken and foie gras boudin, or lamb parmentier with truffle mash. As titillating as the starters and mains are, make sure you don’t skimp on dessert – The Beacon’s take on rice pudding is more than enough to banish many a bad memory of sloppy school dinners.
By Hugh Thomas, Kent editor