Tudor Barn Bar & Brasserie

I’ve been meaning to get over to test out the new cafe at the Tudor Barn for a long time – and my failing to get into Blackheath Golf Club on Open Day (all down to v. narrow slot of entry which, of course, I missed – but I thought I’d chance my arm anyway by having lunch at the restaurant, which I’ll SWEAR used to be open to the public – I’m SURE I saw it advertised in one of the free mags, though I guess that was when I used to actually get free mags…) gave me the perfect excuse .

I’ve been looking forward to it – it’s a fantastic building and it just needs that little something to make it really special.

I’m delighted that the little balcony that overlooks the (rather duckweedy) moat has been reopened after the refurb, and we leaped at the opportunity to sit outside – a little cooler than I’d expected but still a lovely day.

Service is friendly and I was pleased that not too many things appear on the menu – trying to do too much often leads to nothing being much cop. The basic choices are filled baguettes, jacket potatoes and hand-made burgers. The bar is new, but apart from that, all I can really see is different from the old cafe are the chairs and tables. All good so far.

I thought the prices for the food were a little optimistic – an average of £5.50 for a sandwich, a fiver for the spuds and £8 for the burgers, but the alcohol seemed quite reasonable – £3.00 and under for a (bottled) beer and a rather staggeringly cheap £2.60 per glass for the wine (one choice each of red, white and rose.)The wine, I have to say, tasted like it cost £2.60, though, of course, bottled beer is bottled beer.

I have to say that despite the lovely setting, I found this meal disappointing. When I saw how much food was piled on my plate, I thought ‘oh, that’s what I’m paying for…’ But size really isn’t everything.

My jacket potato was the size of a large hamster – the biggest spud I’d ever-bloomin’-seen, but it was largely hard as nails inside, and although it had clearly been done in the oven rather than the microwave, the skin was light brown, rather than the crispy loveliness that’s my personal favourite.

I’ll give them there was plenty of filling – tuna mayo and sweetcorn (from a choice of eleven usual-suspect toppings), and the small salad that came with it was really rather tasty, but by the time I’d removed all the hard bits from the potato I had decided that I’d have rather had a regular sized one that was properly done.

My companion’s 100% “Tudor barn” Beef Burger, on first bite, seemed much better. It was even quite nice on the second. It was clearly home-made and again, it was a good size. But it was very fatty and the bun and accompanying (again, very good) salad just didn’t make up for the grease.

In a couple of weeks’ time, a new evening venue, 1568 @ Tudor Barn will be opened. Open between 6.00pm and 10.30pm, it will be ‘serving gastro food including a daily three course specials menu.’ I’ll be testing this out, of course, but IMHO the Tudor Barn is going to have to raise its game to become a destination restaurant…

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