Published: 06:00, 30 October 2020
| Updated: 13:25, 03 November 2020
I’ve been past this pub that's just a short hop from Tonbridge a few times but never ventured in because I was convinced it was an Indian restaurant.
Well this week I was out with the trouble and strife and, for once, I managed to persuade her a curry on a Saturday night was a good idea.
But just a short way down Ashes Lane just outside Hadlow we discovered it is indeed a boozer, or to be more accurate a country pub and carvery called the Rose Revised.
The car park was just beyond the pub but beware - it’s not too well lit and there are a few potholes which could take you by surprise.
It’s following all the current Covid regulations so we were careful to select the in-door and stand back from the bar until we were approached by the landlord and told where we could sit.
A nice, attentive waitress took our order but popped off to the kitchen to answer any questions explaining the new menu had only been introduced three days previously.
Mrs SD went for the usual large SB and I took advantage of the time of year with a pint of Capel from Tonbridge Brewery. Made from green hops picked on the day of brewing, this 4.5% pale ale isn’t around for long but is a superbly fresh tasting ale with intense citrus flavours – a rare treat.
When it came to the food, although it was a varied menu, we decided against the main courses and each selected one starter with a selection of sides/tapas to go with them.
Shell-on king prawns, crispy coated deep-fried brie, garlic bread, spicy chicken wings and large onion rings.
The food was delivered in a timely fashion and was very tasty – despite the abuse I took across the table, I still maintain opting for a blue cheese sauce with the wings was the way to go. I was even allowed to share the onion rings, though in hindsight we might go for slightly less fried food next time.
I think it was at this point Mrs SD noticed the wall in the dining room is the same colour as the ‘feature’ wall in our bedroom – I concentrated on my prawns, which were really very good, and took her word for it that the place is painted teal.
After our meal we asked if we might take a seat in the front bar to enjoy one final drink and were joined briefly by the landlord, who was happy to share details of the pub’s history.
The current owner took this on four years ago and, proving I’m not quite as crazy as some folk think, it was an Indian restaurant previously. Our host explained there used to be ‘mirrors everywhere’ and he had literally smashed them off with a sledge hammer to reveal the beautiful main bar.
In normal times I can imagine a good number of folk perched on high stools around this imposing bar. Mind you, this one might be bucking the trend slightly at the moment as there were already 80 booked for the Sunday carvery and he said they served 190 the previous week.
It is one of seven pubs in the same chain - Revived Inns - owned by a fellow called David and each has the same menu, apart from one smaller village pub, in Plumpton, which is allowed to vary things a little.
The conversation then switched quickly between the fireplace (opened up during lockdown), the other large fireplace which needs repairing, a vineyard the owner had bought recently and the fact he planned to try and buy the freehold to this place on Tuesday.
There is a huge outside dining area, which was a little difficult to make out now we’ve got darker evenings, but I can imagine this doing a roaring trade in the summer and I wasn’t surprised to hear the owner also has an interest in a marquee company.
With many pubs struggling currently, and we did discuss one local chain which has just declared bankruptcy, it’s good to see a place which appears to be bucking the trend.
Long may the Rose Revived continue to do what its name claims.
The Rose Revived – Ashes Lane, Hadlow, near Tonbridge TN11 0AN
Decor: The front bar, with its centuries of history, is fantastic. Although it’s nicely decorated, I wasn’t quite as keen on the more modern dining area added at the back. ***
Drink: They do say timing is everything and when it comes to the Capel pale ale this is definitely true. I was lucky to visit while this green hopped beer was at its very best. ****
Price: My guest ale was exactly £4 and a large Sauvignon Blanc was £6.75. Our starters were £15.50 the pair and the tapas £4 each. ***
Food: I’ll have to try the mains next time – the prawns were excellent and I can highly recommend them, perhaps not quite so much the garlic bread. ***
Staff: By her own admission our waitress was fairly new and started during lockdown and, although she needed to check a few things, was charming and helpful. ***