27th March 2023
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 heads to Shuffle House on St John's Road, which provides a mid-week member reward.
Shuffle House is situated in the St Johns area of Tunbridge Wells. Here you will find a multitude of eclectic independent shops, bars and restaurants, amidst ever increasing new builds and the famous Skinners School. Not that I mind new builds, I guess I am just an old fashioned sash windows and high ceiling kind of girl. Okay there are plenty of characterful buildings here too, it was just an observation, please don’t pelt me with olives.
Sam kindly offers to show me around the whole building, which I have to say is absolutely vast. Check out my TikTok and Instagram stories to see just how vast. A plethora of indoor and outdoor zones, carefully planned to maximise every inch of square footage. Cue weddings, private events, birthdays and reunions, the list goes on. I am here to review one part of their business, the stone baked Neopolitan pizza side. This is actually a huge two floored South American Latin tapas restaurant and pizza restaurant. They have two kitchens and so depending on what you order your food may arrive at different times, but the atmosphere is such fun who minds, not me. If you would like to know the history of shuffle boards, pay a visit to their website where they have an extensive explanation. They have two fourteen foot tables upstairs that can be booked free of charge for one hour slots. They do become extremely busy as you can also order tapas and pizza upstairs and buy cocktails from a bar on the same floor. Begs a work do night out doesn’t it. Apparently it’s also very popular with the gym lads and football dads too.
Let’s not stop there. Walk to the end of their seriously funky garden and find the Escape Rooms. “Battle your way through multiple themed rooms, searching for cleverly disguised clues and test your mental dexterity in the most exciting and creative escape game”. I love this place.
Okay, okay, I'm here for pizzas and I am here to try just that, but at this juncture I thought I would let you know, St John’s Yard, (right next door), and TN partners The Beau Nash and Shuffle House are all part of the same group. How did I not know this? The owner is very hands on and I am assured of a great work ethic where the team have the ability to move between the businesses, enabling them to receive excellent training.
Shuffle House opened in 2019. During lockdown, tapas and pizza were available for collection at “twenty plenty” special prices. This really helped the local community. They also collaborated with a local firm to strip down old laptops to provide help to children who did not have them during this difficult time. There are more stories to tell but I need to get back to the pizza. Ah yes, here it comes.
Shuffle House have twelve hand-stretched, twelve inch stone-baked pizzas. Their dough is fermented for thirty-six hours and made fresh daily. They can be made with gluten free bases and non-dairy mozzarella. Of the patrons who pass through the door, 20% account for vegetarian and 5% are vegan and so they wish to cater for every dietary need, which from the menu I can see they do well. I love the idea of a pizza called, “Meat Sweats”, a feast of Spianata and Peperoni, atop tomato, mozzarella and parmesan. Good to see “Nduja Like It Hot”, on there with a smorgasbord of Nduja, fresh fennel sausage, Spianata, chillies, parmesan and roasted peppers. Don’t worry there is plenty of choice for
I opt for the Truffle Burrata. No surprise there. A white truffle base, fresh Italian sausage, burrata, mozzarella and basil. It is the most expensive pizza on the menu, but still not as pricey as some other establishments. I can taste the truffle, without artificial flavours, the burrata squishes as its cut, the sausage is not overpowering and the abundance of basil leaves brings it all together. The dough is near on perfect. A crisp thin base and charred crust that is so airy it puffs up around the sides, just as a Neopolitan pizza should be. They have nailed it. Nice to see Belazu infused chilli oil on the table too.
If any of you went to the food festival in Calverley Park last year, then you will remember the churros that were flying out of the Shuffle House kitchen. Yes of course I ordered those crispy, sugary, molten chocolate filled delights here and they were accompanied by a soothing fruit coulis and squirty cream. Well seriously with the turnover, who’s going to sit and whip it in those hot kitchens.
I have to say, I was extremely impressed with Shuffle House. The team are so welcoming, as is the atmosphere. Rod Gilbert apparently loved it on his trip and so do I. See you all again soon and hopefully at many festivals to come.
All opinions are my own. Paid review exclusively for the TN card.
Member reward: Complimentary dough balls when spending £20 or more on food. Valid all day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 12pm until 4pm on Fridays. Find out more here.