Graze, Tonbridge, Feb-Mar 2016

It's Friday night, the weekend is upon us.  If you're wondering where to dine in Tonbridge this weekend, here's one suggestion...Graze.

The Graze Kitchen & Bar is the old ‘The Castle’ pub – prime location on the big bridge, lovely views of the illuminated castle at night.

 
Graze - looks a bit shabby on the outside but lovely on the inside; big windows at street level - not the place for a secret rendez-vous

Graze - looks a bit shabby on the outside but lovely on the inside; big windows at street level - not the place for a secret rendez-vous

 

It had some bad press on opening regarding the quality of the food and service.  I think some of the bad press is justified but more of that later.

Graze by name, graze by nature: a tapas style menu, three dishes for £15, & there’s a really interesting variety of dishes spanning veggies, fish and meat.  This allows you to eat less formally with friends, dip your chips in their sauce, fab for a girls’ night out – the Graze cocktails are also good!

Graze also has a creative non-grazing menu, for want of a better term.  I love the ‘wild mushroom melt’: you think it’ll be snack-ish as it’s basically egg on toast with mushrooms but it’s so much more than that! 

 
Wild Mushroom Melt - delicious!

Wild Mushroom Melt - delicious!

 

The moules in Thai broth – plentiful & a great kick to them; braised beef cheeks - tender & full of flavour; banoffee pie is, I would say, slightly deconstructed (been watching too much Masterchef obviously), so feels modern but it's served in a retro Kilner jar, all in keeping with the décor.

The kids’ menu is really good & the Graze team is very hospitable to children.  The portions are large though despite being for little ones, so small children may feel overwhelmed.

Now onto that bad press – the service.  The staff is lovely: friendly & helpful but each time I’ve been, some aspect of the service has been slow.  I’ve had to wait ages for drink service, they have taken too long to bring kids’ puds (kids getting restless etc etc), they have laboured over bringing the bill.  I have given them feedback on a couple of occasions and they have reasons..... but it is a little frustrating. 

Having said that, I have grazed in Graze several times now despite the service.  But I do need to make sure I’m in a patient state of mind when I go... 

Experience Ingredients

I have been to Graze three times during February & March, with family and with girl friends.  All those experiences contributed to this review.  Some of the menus are in the Gallery or, you can find them on the Graze website.http://www.graze-kitchen.com/