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“Started well.....ended poorly” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Poet

The Poet
Maidstone Road, Matfield, Royal Tunbridge Wells TN12 7JH, England
+44 1892 722416
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Ranked #3 of 6 Restaurants in Matfield
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $23 - $42
Cuisines: British, Pub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Description: Well-sourced ingredients is where any good food journey begins, so Charlie spencer, head chef and owner of The Poet,ensures we make the most of what the county of Kent and surrounding areas hasto offer. We are very fortunate to have such great quality British produce available to us and it is a pleasure to cook with it. Charlie works with bothmodern and classical methods of cooking, mostly taking influence from British and French cuisine, and to a lesser extent Italian and Spanish.Ultimately Charlie has a drive and passion for food that he wants to share. The Poet at Matfield pub and restaurant, which is situated in the heart of Kent near Tunbridge Wells, offersa warm and comfortable atmosphere to come and experience those efforts.
Level Contributor
79 reviews
69 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Started well.....ended poorly”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013 via mobile

When my other half and I arrived there were only 3 other tables at 1:30 on a Sunday lunch, but thought as its sunny people may have decided to go the beach instead of lunch. The crisp egg starter was fantastic bringing high hopes for the main however this was then followed by a disappointing wild garlic and Ox cheek risotto- I was really willing it to be good as two of my favourite ingredients but honestly it was just bland, no seasoning at all, not enough wild garlic to compete with the rich Ox cheek. The chocolate mousse dessert was very nice, particularly the coffee ice cream. A 12.5% service charge was added, as a restaurant manager and former chef myself this is a pet peeve of mine, if the food and service was good I'll leave a tip, but having it forced upon you- with mediocre service at best is salt in the wound. (The young dark curly haired girl who took our order was the best of the bunch, even the managers stood with the kitchen door open shouting to staff to come take the food.) we paid and left. Hmmm.... Maybe another chance but there's a lot of other options in the area.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stanthespen, Owner at The Poet, responded to this review, April 23, 2013
Many thanks for your review.

We're sorry that the food and service did not meet your expectations on this occasion. This particular risotto is a new dish on our light menu and our chefs will be keen to hear your feedback so that we might improve it moving forward. My regret is that we did not know that you were not satisfied at the time as we would have been delighted to prepare another dish for you or remove the item from the bill. I am pleased you enjoyed your other dishes.

We always like to stress on both the bill and our menu that the service charge is 100% discretionary and is merely added as a convenience. If we do not meet the expected standard of service then we would never expect this to be paid.

If you would like to contact me directly at the restaurant I would be more than happy to arrange a refund for both the dish you were not happy with and the service charge.

Many thanks
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189 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    107
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Sevenoaks, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
217 reviews
150 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
“First Class - Absolutey Delicious”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013

We visited on Saturday lunchtime. It was very quiet and we were one of only three couples....... the spring sunshine clearly inviting people outdoors to other pursuits!
The meal was, quite simply, delicious.
J and I shared the ''deli'' plate from the 'light options' blackboard menu. It was the perfect starter - a selection of really tasty bites. The spicy sausages were very good. For main, J took the lamb kofta from the blackboard and I chose the cod from the main lunch/dinner menu. Both dishes were beautifully presented and the quality and taste of the food was excellent.
The cod dish consisted of a small piece of loin served with a couple of prawns, straddling a bed of samphire, accompanied by a small round of potato and a delicate lobster bisque. Wonderful flavours, cod perfectly cooked. Not a huge helping so I was glad J let me have one of her lamb koftas - she was saving room for dessert, a rhubarb and custard cream dish with a raspberry sorbet and crunchy biscuit crumble. Not a cheap lunch but the meal was really good. By the way, the Red Top bitter they have on at the moment is very nice.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stanthespen, Owner at The Poet, responded to this review, April 21, 2013
Thank you very much for your review.

We look forward to welcoming you to The Poet again soon. Look out for more beers from the fantastic Old Dairy Brewery!
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Royal Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Four stars again”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

Wish I could give five, but was let down on dessert. After a long, long wait between courses was advised by staff that two of the four desserts we had ordered were not available. It was a further ten minute wait before the two remaining desserts arrived, so just over half an hour wait. The drinks ordered with the two unavailable desserts did not arrive. Ran out of time for babysitters so had to exit post haste, which was lucky really as the decaf coffee I ordered wasn't available either. Perfect bar the last few hiccups.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stanthespen, Owner at The Poet, responded to this review, April 21, 2013
Thank you very much for your review.

I'm sorry we let you down on your desserts on this occasion, our chefs produce all our desserts from scratch and try their best to predict demand so that all our customers have the full choice. Occasionally we do not get these quantities right and dishes can run out before the end of the night but we try our hardest to make this a very rare occurrence.

I apologise for the delay in getting the desserts out to you, we strive to get all dishes out in a reasonable amount of time without rushing our customers and we will review our staffing and procedures to ensure this delay is not repeated.

We have also now increased the par amount of decaf coffee that we hold in stock to ensure that it does not run out again.

We hope you will be returning to The Poet again soon and look forward to working hard to achieve a 5.

Many thanks
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Royal Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“love”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

had lovely food, bit over priced and some sounds a bit pretentious. Not sure about waitress wearing white gloves (that were a bit grubby really) to serve my food as i would rather she just have clean washed hands than greyish gloves. but this doesnt take away from the food. We went for the fixed menu on offer as we went on a wednesday eve, much better value, not sure i would want to pay the "full" prices as there other restraurants nearby that serve food just as good but cheaper. Did have to ask for more sauce but they were fine about this. We took drinks after dinner on the sofas and was a nice atmosphere, will go again, but not when cheaper fixed menu not available

  • Visited February 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stanthespen, Owner at The Poet, responded to this review, April 23, 2013
Many thanks for your review.

We are really pleased you enjoyed the quality of our food.

Our waiting staff wear gloves would carrying food from the kitchen as the plates are often very hot and the gloves prevent the plates burning their fingers. Following on from your feedback we have invested in some new gloves with a renewed whiteness.

We have now adopted a 'Light menu' to replace our set menu. This menu includes salads, sandwiches, fish and chips amongst other dishes all priced between £5 and £12. These dishes are still produced from the same quality ingredients that we have always used and prepared from scratch by our chefs.

Many thanks
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London
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Fine Dining comes to Matfield”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

Last visit showed a marked improvement on both food & quantity. Excellent.
Service was OK but to be honest a little amateur. Enthusiastic but slightly naive.
But dear oh dear, these prices just take the edge off what wasn't a bad night out.
The wine was excellent but way, way overpriced.
If you come here speak to your mortgage advisor first!

  • Visited December 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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