Ex-Firmdale Hotels chef Robin Read to launch The Counter in Tunbridge Wells

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

©Stuart Mack
©Stuart Mack

Related tags Robin Read Firmdale Hotels The Counter Tunbridge Wells

The former executive chef of the Firmdale Hotels will launch an ambitious, tasting menu-only restaurant in Tunbridge Wells early next month.

Robin Read - who has a cooking CV that includes time with culinary legends the Roux Brothers, Nico Ladenis and Marco Pierre White - says that The Counter is his vision of a modern restaurant focusing on seasonal cooking, with few food miles and using every part of an ingredient.

Located in a Georgian building in the centre of the Kent town, The Counter will comprise a main restaurant with table and counter dining, private dining room, small wine bar and courtyard garden, with raised beds and pots growing herbs, salads, and brassicas.

A five, eight or ten-course menu will be available costing £60, £95 and £125 respectively. 

The ten-course menu is offered at the counter only and is intended to give diners an interactive experienceand will be more experimental, taste-testing dishes that are in development for the next month’s menus.

Largely based on local ingredients, dishes will include cured mackerel croustade with broccoli purée, Birchden asparagus and seaweed; cavolo nero cavatelli, Old Winchester and sage; Steamed brill, lobster mousse, caramelised cauliflower and seaweed confit potatoes; and rosemary and fennel granita. 

The wine programme is being headed up by Read’s wife Greta Boccia and is billed as a ‘curated edit’ of English and European wines alongside English spirits.

Read was executive chef of the Firmdale Hotel Group for 16 years, overseeing six new openings for the London-centric group. 

He began his cooking career at the age of 16 with work experience at the Roux Brothers’ London patisserie before going on to work for at Nico Ladenis’ three-star Chez Nico as a sous chef and as a head chef for Marco Pierre White at Mirabelle.

Read also spent time in the kitchens at Le Gavroche, The Square and Restaurant Paul Heathcote.

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