I love cake, me. Never turn down an opportunity to tuck into a slice of battenberg or lemon drizzle. This weekend, Beyond The Grounds provided me the perfect excuse to do so.
The coffee house has been open in Tonbridge since before Christmas, but I didn't properly emerge from festive cheese/Pringles coma until this week, so only got round to visiting yesterday, in the company of the lovely Emma.
Its setting, down the path down by the river opposite the castle is a blessing, for the customer at least. Not many people seem to have twigged its existence yet, so at 2.45pm on a Saturday afternoon, it was blissfully peaceful (the three of you reading this - don't all storm down there at once and ruin it, thanks). Very calming it was, to look out at the cloudless blue sky backdrop to the castle and river.
The building it's in used to be the Citizens Advice Bureau, a Tudor-esque building, from the outside at least (see photo above), yet inside, it's unexpectedly light and airy. The decor may not be for everyone, with striking shades of lime green and purple dominating, but by 'eck, the seats are so comfy you won't notice.
There are only around 10 tables inside, and a bar at the window, so it's cosy - but in a pleasant, winter warming way.
The menu is simple but offers something for most people. I flicked straight for the cake section, while Emma lingered over the 'proper' food. (I'd had a hearty portion of cheese before heading out, so couldn't do justice to the full works). Breakfast items are served all day, while the lunch offerings are available until 3pm, and I have to say, the Full English Tartlet looked DIVINE.
Cake was very much on my brain, so I plumped for the chocolate Oreo layer cake. Worth noting that although the layer cakes were on display under glass jars, the brownies and the likes were on display next to the till, with nothing covering them and in prime position for the world and his missus to sneeze on. This being one of my pet hates about food places, I hedged my bets and ended up with this slice of loveliness.
Y'know how your parents always told you not to play with your food? The Hot Chocolate Mountain practically forces you to do so. It's served on its own little wooden tray, the cream-topped drink in a glass and the marshmallows and Flake served in a side ramekin for you to get creative with.
Long story short, I'll be heading back to Beyond The Grounds to get my teeth into one of those breakfast tartlets at the earliest opportunity.