We might have left Europe but … Coco Retro, Tunbridge Wells, 29 February 2020

We really are spoilt around here – there are so many places to eat out and so many that I haven’t tried yet!  Anyway, I knocked one off the list last Saturday when I went to Coco Retro in Tunbridge Wells for a friend’s birthday.  Would I go here again? 

Coco Retro is a French restaurant, very near Tunbridge Wells station, near Sankey’s fishmonger and the High Street.  It’s a very narrow frontage but there is a petit, retro French chef outside showing you that you’re at the right place. 


Photo courtesy of Coco Retro

Photo courtesy of Coco Retro


We were the first of our party of sixteen to arrive and I was immediately impressed with the bar area. It seemed very modern and different to anything I’ve seen elsewhere.  We ordered our cocktails (Negroni for me, very good) and waited for friends to arrive. Other diners were coming in and I have to admit that the bar area became a little tight on space, especially as more and more of our group turned up.  We decided to move to our private dining room downstairs to spare other diners our excited, raucous greetings and repeated “Happy Birthdays” to the birthday boy.  As we passed the dining tables in the bistro, it did appear rather ‘intimate’.  You could call it cramped but I think it’s just the French way, to make you lean in a little closer and cosy up to your dining partner.

The private dining room was a revelation!   La Cave as it’s called is a very modern wine cellar: wine bottles that you could just peek behind lattice facades and sensitive lighting helped to create a warm, inviting atmosphere. 


Photo courtesy of Coco Retro

Photo courtesy of Coco Retro


We had all paid £25 per person for food.  We each chose a main course but the starters and desserts were served on sharing boards. For starter we had lots of crostini with different toppings (smoked salmon and dill, brie and cranberry for example), heaving charcuterie boards and plentiful sea food platters (calamari, white bait) all accompanied by baskets of baguette.   For dessert, there were lots of mini puds which looked very delectable, varying bite-size chocolate delights (I didn’t try as I’ve given up sweets for Lent but they looked beautiful and my friends were oohing and aahing as they tried them). 

My main course was crevettes Provence – prawns in a white wine, herb de Provence, chili and garlic sauce – with frites.  They were delicious and I’m pretty sure I mopped up the sauce with my chips – how very un-French.   

Throughout the evening we had our own serving staff who were really attentive and helpful.  They didn’t
disappear for ages just when you needed something, they kept the wine flowing (yes, yes I get why they do that) and were generally helpful, but yet they weren’t obtrusive.

This blog doesn’t have many of my photos (I sense the collective sigh of relief) as I didn’t think I was going to blog about it (plus some people really hate people taking photos of food) but I was so impressed by the evening that I felt I had to spread the word.

Ambience – great

Service – great

Food – delicious

Value for money – I thought it was good value for money.  My main course alone is £17.25 according to
the menu.

Location – good near TW train station which is great but you do risk life and limb crossing that road!

To answer my own question, would I go here again?  Yes I would!

Experience ingredients:

In the group: 16 but here’s what I paid

Consumption & cost: 1 x £25 menu, Negroni, glass of fizz, several glasses of white wine = £57.50 including service charge

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  1. I’ve been wanting to go for ages! My only concern is if it’s child friendly (don’t get a meal off atm) – it looks a little too tiny/intimate to take kids?

    1. I think you should check but I don’t think it’s overly child friendly. It’s quite a small venue so if children want to get up there isn’t far to wander (good in some ways) but they might get frustrated with that too. Do check and let me know though!

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