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Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs regional dinner held at the Kentish Hare near Tunbridge Wells


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It was a double celebration for Kent chefs the Tanner brothers when beer maker Estrella Damm chose to host their Top 50 gastropubs regional dinner at their venue near Tunbridge Wells.

The pair, Chris and James, who own the Kentish Hare in Bidborough, and also the Barbican Kitchen in the Plymouth Gin Distillery, had been chosen to host the dinner as their Bidborough restaurant is among the coveted Top 50 list.

Chris and James Tanner with their short rib of beef dish for Estrella Damm
Chris and James Tanner with their short rib of beef dish for Estrella Damm

Hosting their fellow restaurateurs, high-profile Estrella Damm staff and fellow chef Jose Pizarro, the pair created a menu which, not only was paired with a selection of beers but also included some of the beer in the recipes.

Chris, who said the bespoke menu, which included short rib of beef and triple cooked cooked chips - "because we thought, 'what the hell? Why not?'" said: "This year is our 20th anniversary in business. It's been quite a rollercoaster."

The pair, who have had the Kentish Hare site for six years, said their menu included a selection of their regular dishes, showcasing what they do.

Chris at work in the kitchen with the team
Chris at work in the kitchen with the team

The menu consisted of canapes including confit duck and blue cheese choux balls, Estrella barbecue glazed chicken wings and squid ink tapioca crackers with smoked taramasalata and lemon, followed by a started of crab, pear, coriander and smoked almond, while their piece de resistance was a short rib of beer, Daura Damm Marzen, onion and turnip gratin and a sauce reform, paired with Daura Damm Marzen.

Spanish-born Jose Pizarro, who owns Pizarro restaurants in Bermondsey and Broadgate and the Swan Inn in Surrey, said he loved England, and had done from the moment he stepped off the plane almost 20 years ago.

The Kentish Hare is in good company in Kent at No.43 on the Top 50 gastropubs list. No.1 is the Sportsman in Whitstable, while No.22 is the Compasses Inn in Crundale and No.42 is the Fordwich Arms near Canterbury.

Trying the Estrella Damm beers Picture: Carl Sukonik
Trying the Estrella Damm beers Picture: Carl Sukonik

With the rise in gastronomy, Estrella Damm is committed to inspiring people to bring the flavours of the Mediterranean to their plates.

The next Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Award ceremony will be held in January.

To find out what’s going on in the county and for all the latest entertainment news click here.

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