3rd December 2022
Each week our in-house food writer Bibi Roy reviews a TN partner to see what members can expect when they visit. This time she visits Chuck & Blade at 26-28 Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells.
Chuck & Blade is located in Camden Road on the old Vittle and Swig site. When I walked in on opening day, I was quite astonished as the restaurant had been completely stripped back. After several visits I have adjusted to the dark walls and furniture. The place has a gamey vibe with its hard wooden floors, “Dirty Smash”, orange fluorescent sign to keep the Instagramers happy and R&B, Hip Hop sounds playing loud, but not too loud in the background. I remember saying to Phil and Leyla that it has a kind of Shoreditch tattoo parlour look. It also reminds me of the Blacklock chop house there, not a bad comparison.
Chuck & Blade have two other restaurants, the original opened two years ago in Rochester and the second is in Canterbury, both owned by David and Alex. This is their first franchise branch and Phil was Alex’s thousandth customer, who told him, “If you ever want to franchise one of these, I’m interested” and so the Tunbridge Wells Branch came to be. Let’s be frank, everyone has been hearing about, “Burger Wars” in my hometown, but in my humble opinion, there is room for everyone. Chuck & Blade are smash burger specialists. Their website states they make, “The juiciest, filthiest, handmade burgers in Kent.
On my first visit Phil recommends the Big Charlie. It’s a nod to the Big Mac, infact it’s a seriously souped up version. Double smash patties, double American cheese with chef’s signature Dickens sauce, onions and in-house pickles. You can have a single patty if you want, but I don’t. The bun is delicious, from Brick Lane Bakery. It holds the burger really well without disintegrating. They use three cuts of meat from Brogdale Farm Butchers in Sittingbourne, so you get crispy bits and mixed textures. The sauce is awesome and also made in-house.
Beef not your thing, you can have a Halloumi Honey Monster, or a Chuck Norris, deep fried chicken thigh Korean barbeque sauce, garlic mayo, pickles, cheese, apple and honey coleslaw. There’s a Veggie Kray, a Moroccan spiced falafel burger topped with that secret Dickens sauce and rocket. The In and Out can be made 100% vegan and they also have limited editions each month, just click on the QR code. On my next visit I am trying their side bites with a Plain Jane single smash patty in a seeded demi brioche bun, as I want see what else they offer, portion sizes, variety and quality of produce. It’s a tough gig on this street and you have to stand out.
Before I get to the food, I would just like to mention the milkshakes because, well they are outstanding. This Oreo and Biscoff is thick and creamy, served in a metal vessel, topped with whipped cream and lashings of sauce. It reminds me of the ones I used to have at Ed’s in Hampstead, proper old school diner style. As well as the usual suspects, they also have boozy shakes, like the Jaffa Shake with chocolate syrup and a double shot of Cointreau, Cookies and Cream, with chocolate syrup, Baileys blend and crushed Oreo cookies. The Libre Lotus has Kahlua and 007, vodka, Kahlua and a double espresso shot.
Back to the food, here come Sticky Fingers. Chunky deep-fried Halloumi drizzled with pomegranate molasses and garlic mayo. Crispy, chewy, displayed like a Jenga block, I love them. Sweet, salty and sour. Next Poutine, Canadian street food. Crispy fries are loaded with squeaky cheese curds that make your teeth stand on edge and Chuck & Blade gravy almost overflows the bowl. Take my advice and add the beef brisket. This one is a winter winner, I want to dive in and eat the lot but my tots await. These Truffle and cheese loaded potato bites lathered with truffle
mayo, parmesan and candy bacon are my guilty pleasure. I’m finding myself dipping them in the gravy. It all works so well.
Finally the Plain Jane, smashed to perfection. The crispy edges are there and that bun holds it together so well. Yes, again I am finding myself dipping it into their famous gravy. The bun is so good, possibly the best I’ve had in town.If I were inclined, there is creme brûlée cheesecake and banoffee pie on offer and brownies and blondies courtesy of Garden Bakery, but the milkshake is so good I really don’t need any of them. I could drink these all day.
I love that Chuck & Blade do Limited Edition specials. October’s is the Speedy Gonzalez, Spanish inspired it has an aioli, Chuck & Blade chorizo salsa base with double smash patties and an American and spicy Mexicana cheese blend. Crunchy tortilla chips finish the burger
which comes with a side of Spanish olives.
Phil, Leyla, Jamie and the guys and gals are doing a great job. The Deliveroo bell is bing-bonging, but as always I advocate eating in and keeping Camden Road alive. There are many burger options in Tunbridge Wells. Each have their own style. This one has its place and is up there with the best. The milkshakes have been a real highlight from the beginning, the tots and Poutine are marvellous. As for the burgers, I’ll leave you to decide. I like ‘em. Thanks all, see you for Oreo and Biscoff tomorrow.
All Opinions are my own. Review exclusive to the TN card.
Member reward: 20% off your food bill on Mondays. Plus buy one get one free on milkshakes every day of the week. Find more details here.