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Bistro Du Vin Tunbridge Wells

by Emily Healey-Lynham

When staying in Royal Tunbridge Wells’ top hotel – Hotel Du Vin it seems only fitting to dine in their delightful Bistro du Vin and enjoy the glorious dishes they have to offer using the finest local ingredients accompanied by the top sommelier in town: Victor Amaro’s wine choices.

The Bistro is beautifully classic in look with wooden floors and views over Calverly Grounds and the gardens of Hotel Du Vin.  The atmosphere at dinner time was lovely and serene and the decor using neutral earthy colours to good effect sets the scene.   The contemporary menu uses the very finest ingredients to produce attractive, mouth-watering dishes accompanied by a selection of the excellent wines which have made Hotel du Vin so successful. For luxurious dining and a wine list to die for you will not find better than this in Tunbridge Wells.

To start I had the cod and salmon fishcakes with sauce gribiche accompanied by Victor’s wine choice of Portugese wine – Dona Paterna – Alvarinho Vinho Verde, from the Minho region in the far north of the country, it is meant to be consumed within a year of bottling.  The wine was a perfect match for the divine  taste of the fishcakes which were a perfect way to start this beautiful meal in the Garden of England.  My co-diner, Charlotte, started with the Chicken Liver Terrine which was smooth and served with toasted bread for smearing the luxurious pâté over, to accompany this dish Victor decided on Pink Mosato from Australia as the wine pairing.  Sweet but fresh this wine worked perfectly with the rich taste of the pâté.  For the main dish I decided on the Roasted Chicken Breast with carrotts, dauphinoise and chasseur sauce, the wine choice was La Crema, Chardonnay from the USA.Sonoma Coast Chardonnay opens with an intriguing interplay of lively citrus and subtle toasted oak, laced with just a kiss of butterscotch. The palate is round and nutty, with flavors of yellow apple and orange adding lushness, while well-balanced acidity creates a lovely vibrancy.  It perfectly matched the moist chicken and chasseur sauce which was a rich accompaniment to the chicken.

Charlotte being a known steak lover went for the Ribeye with peppercorn sauce, swapping the chips for her favourite creamed potatoes to soak up the abundant peppercorn sauce. Victor choose a Mourvedre Yangrra Estate Australia to go with the steak, an extraordinary old bush vine Mourvedre bursting with lush, dark, brambly fruit flavours. This is a very rich and sensual wine with considerable length which paired with the meaty steak perfectly.  Dessert was a Lemon Posset with Ice wine Videl Peller from Canada for Charlotte and a Chocolate Tart for me with a Late Harvest Zinfandel to drink.  The Lemon Posset was light, with a fresh clean citrus taste that matched exquisite with the ice wine, Peller Estates Icewine is a rare bi-product from a cold Canadian winter. Picked at the coldest moment of a winter’s night, each frozen grape creates just one drop of Icewine. The result is a smooth rich, luxurious wine which is best served wintery cold.  The Chocolate Tart was sweet and bitter, rich, thick and rather a sinful end to a wonderful meal, the Zinfandal was a great pairing with it’s sweet taste lifting the bitter chocolate.

The food was excellent with discreet but attentive service, I would return to the Spa Town to further explore the town and the menu, especially now with my new found love of red wine thanks to Victor. A very welcoming, charming and entertaining evening at Hotel Du Vin.

Hotel du Vin & Bistro Tunbridge Wells
Crescent Road
Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN1 2LY
United Kingdom

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