27th August 2022
Each week our in-house food writer Bibi Roy reviews one of our TN partners to see what members can expect when they visit. This time she turns her attention to Ruby's of London at 48-50 Monson Road, Tunbridge Wells.
Ruby’s new vegan bakery in Tunbridge Wells opened in July last year and is conveniently located on the corner of the busy Monson Road, opposite The Amelia Scott that houses our brilliant library. I remember walking in during launch week and saying to her, “Oh you’re the lovely lady from Greenwich Market”, which she opened in 2010. I recall Ruby not only from there, but from Harrods and Selfridges, I never forget a good cupcake or cookie. The fact that her artisan bakes are plant based makes them all the more remarkable.
From a young age Ruby had a dairy and egg intolerance. Despite her passion for good food she says. “I was often left with the uninspiring free from option, while looking longingly at the birthday girls glorious cakes. I believe that this is where the Ruby's story really began”. With the success of her vegan bakes at Greenwich Market and reputation for commitment to producing premium products, using the finest ingredients, Ruby was offered the opportunity to open a shop in Tunbridge Wells. She had started her business from home without any backing and was now living her dream. Awarded the Slow Food Bursary in 2010, Ruby’s is now a recommended supplier for BAFTA Members Club. She has won several accolades and appeared on the BBC Good Food Show. Perhaps we will see her on Bake Off : The Professionals one day, proudly relaying her core value, “Free from should never mean less than”.
The bakery stands out brightly on the corner of Monson Road. Gone are the dark fascias of Patisserie Valerie and in their place, double fronted windows with white washed wood and a soft lilac logo, befitting of a classy establishment, but without pretention. From the left one can gaze out on to the busy street and from the right, her glorious cupcakes, brownies, cookies and larger cakes are displayed proudly in the window, onlookers stopping to admire them, salivating all the while. Walk in and the white theme continues with retro chairs, round tables and a communal table that can be used for group bookings of six to ten people. An ideal opportunity for a celebration as a cake can be pre-ordered via the website to be ready for the day. They even specialise in cupcake, donut and dessert towers with a wide range of finishes, all items being freshly baked daily.
The first time I visited I was blown away by their raspberry, cheesecake stuffed cookie. It had a gorgeous chewy texture with the most divine topping and tart, dried raspberries scattered all over to balance the sweetness. They try to tempt you with their special three cookies offer, which I have to say works on me every time. There are out of this world pecan choc chip brownies and forest berry almond muffins that work well with a Monmouth Coffee, or Bird and Blend, loose leaf tea, (praise the lord, loose leaf). By the way what exactly does a “Dozy Girl” taste like? I must indulge next time. Luxury hot chocolates and milks of oat, almond, coconut and soy can be paired with a choice of syrups, not forgetting the latte selection of chai, turmeric, beetroot, matcha and ehem, dirty chai. First visits warrant a thick milkshake as I am sampling their superb caramel cake. Fresh banana, salted caramel, ice cream and cream give a sugar euphoria, I love it.
Several trips later I see more of their savoury menu. Ruby’s offer breakfast, (until 12 noon) and lunch, (from 10.30am). They serve a delightful breakfast sausage roll and avo smash on sourdough, who doesn’t enjoy those, but if you prefer a vbacon bagel with tomato and lettuce or homemade granola and coconut yogurt, (I love coconut yogurt), you can have it. I do like the look of the seasonal quiches which are colourful and served with two salads, they seem to be very popular along with their sunshine bowls. There is definitely lots of choice, gluten free options and as well as freshly pressed juices, I am pleased they stock Owlet, Water Kefir and Karma drinks in their fridge.
I cannot leave without trying their raspberry, lemon and elderflower cake. My test of a good cake is that the outside is as moist and delicious as the inside. If you’re going to sandwich and top it with vegan butter cream, you don’t need four inches of the stuff to mask the flavour or texture of the sponge. Ruby’s pass every time. I love the incorporated poppy seeds, candied lemon zest and dried raspberries on this one. The icing is delectable, not sickly sweet so the rush gives you a headache, it compliments this superb sponge and doesn’t overpower it. There is a layer of lemon curd inside which just makes it all come together.
Ruby’s has something for everyone. Their patrons change throughout the day, from office and retail workers, to families after school runs, retirees wanting a nice proper cup of leaf tea, with a slice of their finest cake and business people enjoying the calming atmosphere, whilst closing their latest deal. My mother who rarely accompanies me to any eating establishment loves this place, (I think the library being in close proximity helps, but she would come anyway with friends as the atmosphere and experience are so convivial). I am going to surprise her with a digital gift card so that she can visit whenever she likes and use it in store.
Thank you for opening in Tunbridge Wells Ruby. Save me the cookies, you know I can’t resist!
All opinions are my own. Review exclusive to the TN card.
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