Monday, 16 June 2014

Tunbridge Wells: The Black Dog

The historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells has a wealth of independent tea and coffee shops as well as being a great shopping experience. On a recent day out with half an hour to kill whilst waiting for the other testers to arrive I made my way along Camden Street to The Black Dog.

Camden Street itself is a haven of independent retailers with The Black Dog amongst them, whose aim is to embrace the spirit and essence of cafes and bars in Australia. Having never been down under I cannot pass comment if this is an authentic interpretation but the laid back no-fuss atmosphere feels very Aussie. Entering this busy cafe I am met with a friendly welcome by the chap on the till as I study the coffee menu. 

Chalked up blackboards show the drinks menu with a specials board announcing delicious looking lunch options like Grilled Sardine Salad with Fennel and Chilli, yum.  Magazines and newspapers are available for customers to peruse, a nice touch for when on a solo coffee stop when you don't want to stare into space or at your phone.

The space feels welcoming and uncluttered even though the walls are hung with guitars, pictures and random vintage style dressings. Ordering my favourtite flat white at the counter for £2.20, the delicious looking bakes on display tempted me into trying out a Blondie - white chocolate shortbread thing.  

They take their coffee seriously here and my flat white was brilliant, on par with Brown's, Loaf and The Coffee Bike. Using coffee from the Monmouth Roasters in London in an Aurelia espresso machine, (the same machine as used in the Barista Championships) only one size cup is used with all coffee as standard served as a double shot. My Blondie bake was absolutely delicious. It had the texture of cookie dough, tasted of white chocolate and I savoured every mouth full.

As I sat at one of the bench tables along the wall waiting for my order, the stream of customers was constant. Obviously a very popular spot with all sorts of people - business meetings, family's, couples, friends and peeps on their own like moi. So busy in fact that I couldn't get many photos without anyone in them. The food on other peoples tables looked very good and is made in the open kitchen at the back of the shop. Breakfast is served until 12 pm when the lunch menu then takes over. 

 The Verdict?
Great coffee, tasty bakes, good looking menu choices and friendly staff. Attracts a cool crowd. The stairs to the loo are very steep so if your not hot on your pins I wouldn't attempt them. Overall a great spot to stop off for a great coffee. 

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