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Sunday afternoon in Tunbridge Wells – where to go for a lunchtime drink that’s both within walking distance of the town centre, yet comfortably removed from its urban hum and traffic drum?  Btw, that’s a stroll in nice shoes, not a heavy-booted hike up hill and down dale.

Dim memories of a bar set into a cave on the Common, somewhere over there… off we plodded, Dorothy and her cowardly lion.  Amid the winding paths, rolling lawns and bracken forests we were relieved to find the Mount Edgcumbe Hotel snuggled at the end of a short gravel drive.  Although it must have changed hands a-plenty over the years and the complimentary bar snacks of yore seem to have vanished, to my delight its gingerbread granny’s house-in-the-forest enchantment lives on.

Popular rather than heaving is just my kind of place, and an outdoor table in the sunshine the Maraschino in my Manhattan: not that I ordered one mind – it’s not that kind of a place.  No; my tipple was a glass of Chenin Blanc, a varietal I order with a ripple of anticipation but tend to drink with a shudder of disappointment.  I don’t want to give up on CB by the glass – Lord knows it’s more interesting than PG – but this South African’s spiteful skinniness reminded me of an encounter in M&S last Thursday (this is not just a checkout girl, this is a nasty bitch looking for a scrap):  more for masochists than oenophiles.  Ok, I exaggerate; the wine wasn’t that bad, even if the checkout girl was.  By contrast T lucked out by puckering up to a pleasingly passion-fruity Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.  I can’t be too judmental of the Mount Edgcumbe’s wine list anyway because here beer is the star – Harvey’s Best Sussex Bitter AND Peroni on tap, no less – but beer just ain’t my thing.

Ah well, although I wasn’t quite enjoying my wine the bowl of bar menu Nachos (homemade salsa with a nose-wrinkling drop-kick of cumin – isn’t salsa supposed to be refreshing?) helped wash it down and I passed the beautiful autumn afternoon enjoying my view of both the Common’s sandstone outcroppings and at closer range, the undulating human landscape …

 

Mount Edgcumbe Hotel

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