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Secret Drinker reviews the Rose Revived pub, Hadlow, near Tonbridge


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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.

You’ll find The Rose Revived just off Ashes Lane – don’t be fooled into thinking it’s an Indian restaurant
You’ll find The Rose Revived just off Ashes Lane – don’t be fooled into thinking it’s an Indian restaurant
The food was well presented and all very fresh
The food was well presented and all very fresh

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.

Plenty of low beams and old world charm – the front bar is the place to be
Plenty of low beams and old world charm – the front bar is the place to be
It’s a full and varied menu – don’t miss the puds, there’s plenty of choice and the one we shared was superb
It’s a full and varied menu – don’t miss the puds, there’s plenty of choice and the one we shared was superb

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.

Mrs SD was very taken with the tree decoration hung up in the ceiling – you already know my views on fairy lights
Mrs SD was very taken with the tree decoration hung up in the ceiling – you already know my views on fairy lights
A good deal of mirrors needed to be smashed off with a sledge hammer to reveal this lovely bar
A good deal of mirrors needed to be smashed off with a sledge hammer to reveal this lovely 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.

We had a pudding in the front bar and, for me, the chocolate and raspberry tart with sorbet, was the best part of the meal – fantastic
We had a pudding in the front bar and, for me, the chocolate and raspberry tart with sorbet, was the best part of the meal – fantastic
The dining area at the back of the pub was added a good deal later than the front bar, which dates back to 1550
The dining area at the back of the pub was added a good deal later than the front bar, which dates back to 1550

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.

It isn’t warm enough these days to be sat outside, unless you’re fagging it, but I’m sure this is a great spot in the summer
It isn’t warm enough these days to be sat outside, unless you’re fagging it, but I’m sure this is a great spot in the summer
This snug area at the front of the pub proved to be the perfect place for an after dinner drink
This snug area at the front of the pub proved to be the perfect place for an after dinner drink

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. ***

I meant to take a picture of my pint when it was full but just couldn’t resist
I meant to take a picture of my pint when it was full but just couldn’t resist

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I’m told the flu on this chimney needs relining – I hope they get it done soon as it’s the perfect place to enjoy a pint on a cold winter’s day
I’m told the flu on this chimney needs relining – I hope they get it done soon as it’s the perfect place to enjoy a pint on a cold winter’s day
This one was a project during lockdown and once the bricks were gone this stunning fireplace was revealed – apparently there’s a bread oven alongside too
This one was a project during lockdown and once the bricks were gone this stunning fireplace was revealed – apparently there’s a bread oven alongside too
This is the corridor on the other side of the pub – a strict one-way policy is in operation
This is the corridor on the other side of the pub – a strict one-way policy is in operation
Where tables are close a screen has been installed – The Rose Revived is taking all sensible precautions
Where tables are close a screen has been installed – The Rose Revived is taking all sensible precautions
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