Name that tune and artist!
Awards really help to boost a business – it’s recognition from patrons and peers; it spreads the word which helps to generate revenue for, not only the winner, but other local businesses too; and it’s just a good old fashioned pat on the back, a gold star for everyone involved in making those doors open every day.
That’s why it’s important to nominate your favourite eating or drinking establishments in the Kent Life Food and Drink Awards. It takes about 5 minutes and you’ll feel all warm and happy afterwards for metaphorically patting a business on the back. Just for the record, I’m not paid by Kent Life for supporting their awards; there are lots of awards out there & I just chose these ones.
Let’s start with cafes as we have lots to choose from up and down Tonbridge High Street and around. There is the ‘Independent Cafe / Tea Room of the Year’ award but your preferred place to consume a cappuccino may also have staff who demonstrate ‘Outstanding Customer Service’; or they may have opened in the last 18 months and so qualify for ‘Best Newcomer’.
Some of you will have seen my Facebook Live posts with Hildenborough’s Teal, social enterprise, Beyond the Grounds and Tonbridge Old Fire Station’s 65mm Coffee where Kate, Jenny and David are telling you why you should nominate them!* But in the interests of fairness there are others!
What about Nancy’s Tea Rooms where owner Katie adds to the local cafe culture by offering themed tea parties? We’ve had tea parties inspired by ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ which are a lovely way to treat a child to the decadence of this quintessentially British pastime. There’s Basil and across the road, last year’s winner of the ‘Cafe of the Year’ award, Finch House. Finch House has been around for about four and a half years and this cafe was really the start of the Tonbridge regeneration. They have expanded into Orpington and on Monday 3 July, Finch House is opening in Maidstone too.
Further up the High Street there is, Jenny’s and Jel’s and then The Bakehouse at 124 which was a finalist last year at these awards! That was such an achievement in its first year and since then Clare has gone on to offer bread making classes, pop-up chef nights, pizzas and cheese and wine evenings.
Closing the loop, we’re back in Hildenborough with Cafe 1809, my very first blog. I was actually in there today at an event upstairs and the cafe was so busy and bustling – it was great to see.
It’s hard to list them all – just remembered the fabulous cafe in Haysden! – so I’m sorry if I’ve missed your tea break treat spot but either way, please nominate! Your High Street needs you!
* I just happened to be meeting people in each of these cafes when the Facebook Live fancy took me! Not showing any bias I promise. Look out for more!
Castle photo copyright Kerry Barton