Based on the corner of Church Road in Tunbridge Wells, Cote Brasserie is a warm and inviting restaurant where the décor evokes an air of French chic with its tiled floor and boasts a mix of table and booth seating as well as outdoor seating for when warmer weather makes an appearance. The restaurant is essentially a modern interpretation of classic French food that suits the British market; you can always find steak frites, a bowl of mussels or French onion soup at Cote for a reasonable price and you can guarantee it will be good.
The three course early evening set menu for £13.50. This changes monthly to reflect the seasons and for a set menu there’s a lot of variation and choice from but to start we had the salmon tartine on toasted sourdough bread with dill, capers and a créme fraiche dressing which was nice and light to get us going and left us anticipating the next course.
For the main event, we had the moules in a white wine, garlic, shallots, parsley and fresh cream sauce which was quite a heavy sauce for a set menu choice considering the large portion size. Served with a side of fries, it was great to be able to soak up some of the sauce with them but we wish we’d ordered some bread to get properly stuck in. Having bowls on the side to discard the mussel shells in and another bowl infused with lemon to clean fingers with was also a nice touch.
For the finale we went for the crumble aux pommes, or apple crumble to me and you, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream finished with a mint garnish. Although an incredibly simple dessert to execute the crumble was buttery and the apple compote was sweet with a hint of tartness which brought the whole dish together. An incredibly warming dish, we’d most certainly recommend.
To drink we went for a couple of bottles of Meteor, a beer brewed by one of the last independent, family-owned breweries in France. English pale ale in style, and a relatively low ABV the beer was light, refreshing and went well with all of our courses.
For early on a Tuesday evening, the restaurant was surprisingly busy but still had a relaxed atmosphere. The service from our waitress was attentive but not overbearing and weren’t made to feel rushed once we’d finished our meal. The food courses were served in a timely manner and we didn’t have to wait too long for our drinks either. Water for table was also regularly kept topped up. The experience of Cote Brasserie overall was what you would expect from a well-known high street restaurant chain – good and friendly service, classic food with non-offensive flavours, you’ll leave feeling satisfied that you’ve had a good meal which makes for a pleasant evening out.