For Camden Quarter in Tunbridge Wells, fresh ideas are just as important as fresh ingredients. As the Camden Road restaurant marks its second anniversary, General Manager Gerry Stevens reveals how the menu – and the business is evolving
How has the restaurant developed in the first two years?
The plan was always that Camden Quarter would be about big flavours, quality food and new ideas, using local ingredients wherever possible and being part of the local community.
There are a plethora of restaurants in Tunbridge Wells, and the independents need to fight more to compete with the many chain restaurants that are in the town. Camden Road is a great road full of independents and has a wonderful community spirit that support & help each other.
The restaurant has changed so much in the last two years; we now have the addition of our upstairs cocktail bar and private room with its own bar. The cocktail bar is open Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights, we like to think we make a mean cocktail, but we also have draft beer and a wide selection of wines.
We were well known for our breakfast’s at the weekends but being open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus the bar and private parties has been all-consuming. We have now taken what some may see as an unusual decision to not open for breakfast at the weekends, but we felt the need to focus our attention in our other growing areas and allow our chefs the space to be more creative & indulge in their passion for producing good food.
What inspires your food?
We work with seasonal produce as much as possible, for example, with venison in season, we have a venison burger, a carpaccio for starter with a venison lollipop. We started out originally as a modern European eclectic restaurant and we still are, but we take influences from all over the world. Again, the joy of being independent allows us, the freedom to explore food trends and incorporate them into our menus.
Are there any signature tipples we should try?
Our Camden Cosmo, made with Chase rhubarb vodka, is becoming quite well-known. We also make a mean espresso martini!
Do you have any other plans for 2016?
We would like to see the cocktail bar grow in popularity, we are exploring the idea of applying for a later licence on Friday and Saturday’s.
We are in discussions with people with regards to pop up’s in our upstairs room.
We will be organising some interesting nights with drink companies looking at food and drink paring.
“The across the street soul club” have now confirmed their Northern Soul nights running every other month starting in January. They always have a great turnout and it is a really good night.
We launched a comedy night on the last Thursday of the month back in September; so far we have sold out on each one, so this will definitely be a regular monthly event on the last Thursday of the month. The next one is January 28th 2016.
We are always looking for potential other sites to open something else and we are looking into the world of outdoor catering.
We have made some great friends and have some lovely customers who seem to like what we are doing. We have had great support from local suppliers such as Joe from Perk & Pearl tea and coffee, Lara, Darling & Wild who provides our flowers, Sankey’s for our fish & Turners Fine Foods who are not only our owners but supply most of our food. We are now stocking beer from Westerham brewery & Curious beer from Chapel down. We will continue to showcase & sell local artists work on the restaurant walls.
We are all looking forward to 2016, as after 2 years we can see the hard work that everyone has put in is paying off and we hope we will continue to go from strength to strength.
28 Camden Road Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN1 2PT