Estro occupies the former Strada restaurant site at the top of Mount Pleasant road in Tunbridge Wells. It’s the new venture of Ado Medjedovic, the restaurateur behind the very successful Firezza pizzeria on Mount Ephraim which he founded in 2001 and ran for 15 years. Ado says his passion has always been Italian so when the old Strada building came onto the market he was quick to put in an offer on what he describes as a ‘fantastic location’. Estro opened in February after seeing a gap in the market for offering foodies the best authentic Neapolitan pizzas and quality burgers in downtown TW. Its slogan is ‘Estro: pizza and more’ and Ado says he doesn’t want food to be categorised, just good quality.
Visiting early one Thursday evening we were surprised at how busy the place was. But one look around the bustling ground floor restaurant identified the majority of customers as young families having a dinner or commuters fresh off the train. The restaurant layout is similar to Strada’s, accommodating 40-plus covers, and the exposed kitchen area is still there. But the décor is funkier, airier and more considered with large pendant filament lighting, exposed brick walls and a large iron-style bike fashioned into the word ‘food’ hanging in pride of place. It feels very relaxed and immediately like somewhere you’d happily want to sit and chat for a few hours over some good food and booze. Upstairs caters for 66 covers but it’s mainly used for private parties.
Under starters orders
Despite being busy the staff were very friendly and attentive to us on arrival and swiftly handed us menus and requested our drinks order: heaven if you’ve just alighted from a busy train from London and are in need of instant liquid refreshment. Birrificio’s Angelo Poretti Bock Chiara 5 was
the waiter’s recommendation and so we ordered a couple. Perfectly chilled, golden in colour and refreshingly aromatic and hoppy, this craft beer was a perfect drink to check out the menu with. Starters are classic Italian fare: buffalo caprese (£6.80), rucola salad (£5.20) and calamari (£6.80) – apart from a token rogue offering of hot and spicy chicken wings (£5.80). We enjoyed the veggie homemade arancini deep fried rice balls stuffed with gooey cheese and served with caramelised onions and salad (£5.80). The portion proved to be very generous and could easily suffice as a lunchtime meal.
The main event
We’d been told that Estro’s culinary thrust was all about offering the best handmade pizzas this side of Naples with an additional selection of great burgers. So it’s no surprise to learn that the mains menu is pretty much split 50:50 between the two, with the odd traditional Italian classic thrown in. If you don’t fancy a traditional tomato based pizza then there’s the Bianca range, which contains no cheese or tomato. Or you can choose creamy gnocchi, linguine pomodoro or a rich ragu.
But it’s the choice of burgers here that’s pretty tempting. There’s everything from an 8oz offering (£12.80), which can be supercharged with Gorgonzola (£13.80), to a streaky bacon beefburger (£13.40) and a chicken pepperonata burger with goats’ cheese (£12.80). Each one comes served in a toasted brioche bun with homemade sauces and fries. After sampling the gorgeous Gorgonzola variety, any chance of continuing on to a serving of tiramisu (this is pretty much the extent of the dessert choice apart from a chocolate and raspberry vegan slice) was thwarted. We were stuffed!
Estro’s extra special USP
As well as experiencing Estro in its eponymous restaurant you can also have it delivered if you live in TN1 or TN2. Yes, they use nationwide apps like Deliveroo and Just Eat but they also have their own apps, Estro Pizza (iOS) or Estro Preoday (Google Play), which can be downloaded. That way you get the guys behind Estro cooking AND delivering your food. Quite a unique idea from a place that’s set to get even more popular once the cinema site opposite it has new life breathed into it. A shrewd move, but then you’d expect nothing less from Mr Medjedovic.