If you want a taste of first class international cuisine without having to travel far, then new restaurant One 60 is the perfect dining destination. Eileen Leahy spoke to its owner Roland Fernandes, who runs the Tonbridge eaterie with his chef brother Roy, about their globally inspired menu and why a great meal should never be rushed…
Goan curry, Kenyan sweet and spicy nuts, Greek halloumi mango salad and Japanese wasabi mash are not typical gastronomic delights you’d normally stumble across on Tonbridge High Street but thanks to brothers Roy and Roland Fernandes local foodies can now enjoy these, and all manner of other tempting bites, at their restaurant One 60.
Opened in August last year, the brothers knew right from the start that they wanted to offer discerning diners something different, so they took their cultural heritage as a culinary starting point.
Being part Kenyan and part Goan, Roy and Roland certainly have a good grounding when it comes to working with interesting flavours. But add to the mix the fact Roy has lived in New Zealand for the past decade where he picked up plenty of tips from Australasian and Asian cuisine, and Roland ran his own boutique resort in Africa, you have the perfect recipe for a restaurant that offers fantastically diverse food and excellent attention-to-detail service.
So what brought the globetrotting brothers to Tonbridge? “I owned a small boutique resort in Diani on the south coast of Kenya. It was entirely bespoke so you could wake up at whatever time you wanted and the chef would then meet you later on in the day to find out what you’d like for your dinner,” explains Roland.
“Once the tourism started to slow down I decided to do something else. I visited a friend here in Tonbridge and really liked the area. My brother Roy had just moved back to the UK after ten years in New Zealand and we decided to work together for the first time.”
Once they had found their ideal spot on Tonbridge High Street they got to work.
“We had to redo the whole thing,” says Roland. “The kitchen was in a total mess and we wanted to get rid of the dull paintwork and create something brighter.”
Once everything was shiny, new and up to scratch the brothers spearheaded the workload with Roy concentrating on the food and Roland looking after the front of house.
What were their initial aims when putting One 60 on the map?
“We wanted to bring something really unique to the town. All the dishes on our menu have been created by Roy and he always adds something which totally enhances the dish,” reveals Roland.
“Our lasagne, for example. It looks like a normal one but Roy puts something else in it – which has to remain as a trade secret I’m afraid – and that means that when you taste it you go ‘Mmmm, that’s different’. And that’s what we do with all our food. We call it classics with a global twist.”
The menu is ever evolving with Roy keen for his customers to try new and exciting flavours to perk up their palate.
“We update the menu regularly and if we put something on our specials board like chicken bombs with our signature sauce and it’s popular, then we add it to our main menu.”
Rather impressively, everything – apart from the brioche burger buns and ice cream – is made by Roy on the premises and the pair are big fans of sourcing goods on their doorstep.
“We support all local suppliers and we will only buy from them,” says Roland.
“We use Ian Chatfield Butchers for our meat and Chapman’s in Sevenoaks for our fish, which we have fresh on our menu every day. We also serve local wines too. We trade with Ellis who have been in business for over 200 years. They supply us with exclusive bottles which you won’t get on the High Street or in any other restaurant in Tonbridge.”
As well as great tasting food and wine the brothers are determined to give their customers a really great time too.
“We’re not into feeding a client then pushing them out of the door,” Roland continues. “It’s about having a relaxed time, sitting and chatting. If they want to stay for a few hours we don’t have a problem with that.”
Are there any One 60 delights that have become classics already? “Our Goan cheesecake is incredibly popular. It’s a recipe that was handed down from our grandmother and whatever Roland adds as his secret ingredient just makes people crave more!”
But Roy isn’t just slaving away in a hot kitchen all the time. He believes that a customer’s dining experience goes further than just good food.
“Roy makes a point of coming out after a customer has eaten and chatting with them. We try and communicate and get people’s feedback. What we like is looking after people and for them to enjoy good food.”
Roland says he hopes more people will come and discover the unique cuisine and service that One 60 is all about.
“Hopefully we will become one of the restaurants in Tonbridge because we have good quality food and great service. We want people to come in and discover that we’re an international restaurant with a focus on pleasing the locals.”
For more information visit www.one60.uk