28th August 2023
Each month, our restaurant reviewer Bibi Roy reviews a TN card partner to find out what members can expect when they visit. This time she visits Two Penny Blue in Silverdale Road, TN4, where members receive 10% off food and drink six days a week.
Take a 281 bus from Tunbridge Wells along Upper Grosvenor Road and right at the end, just before High Brooms Station, you will find this charming independent cafe on Silverdale Road. The site was converted a year ago by owner Dean and was originally a post office. He therefore decided to name it after a much sought after rare postage stamp, The Two Penny Blue.
The cafe is along a little parade of independent shops in the heart of the neighbourhood. On one side a row of Victorian villas stand proud and on the other it is as if time has stood still. There’s a fish and chip shop, a Chinese and Indian takeaway, a beauty salon, hairdressers, tattoo parlour, newsagents, old-school bakery, off-license and pharmacy. It reminds me of when I grew up on the outskirts of Portsmouth. Everything was on our doorstep and everybody knew each other, a true community hub with a school right next door. This is so similar I am pinching myself.
Open from 7.30am until 4pm Tuesday to Saturday and from 8am until 3pm on Sunday, the cafe is surrounded by a sweet terrace that allows them an extra twenty covers. Today it is basked in warm sunshine. I love that you can still see reminders of the previous establishment, like the little red post box on the dresser and large TPB plaque above the counter. There is a rustic feel, lots of exposed brick, stained pine and pops of peacock blue on the walls and chairs. It’s very inviting and the pretty flower displays and menu boards on the tables make it very cosy.
I am greeted by the marvellous Izzy, she is studying but loves working here and is full of beans. They have a small team and so keep the menu manageable. Miguel is head Chef, originally from Avero Portugal. He’s been in the UK for twenty years but never lost his roots. They use only the best locally sourced ingredients, coffee beans (80 Stone Coffee), and tea blends, (Bird and Blend), proudly displaying their suppliers on the wall.
There are all day breakfast, brunch, lunch and drinks menus, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, all cooked to order. The refrigerator has a multitude of soft drinks, including Owlet, Fentimans, Kingsdown and Frobishers. They also stock a small supply of alcohol with Kingscote, Meophams and Moretti featured. I start with a loose leaf Earl Grey, (tick), and Miguel recommends the Penny Blue Full Breakfast, which comes with breakfast tea or coffee. At £9.75 it’s a steal, coming highly recommended by all.
This one is a monster portion of two rashers of unsmoked back bacon, Lincolnshire sausage, both from Southborough Butchers, free range eggs, mushrooms, baked beans or plum tomatoes, a slice of white or wholemeal toast and a hash brown. Opt for the American Breakfast for £10.75 and there is much doubling up with the addition of homemade pancakes and maple syrup. Want extras, they are just £1.25 each, or create your own five item for £6.95. I notice little Smiths Bakery down the road and this is where they source their bread from, so as local as you can get.
As I sit, ABBA’s “Thank you for the music”, is playing, lots of people are coming in asking about their menu and different coffees, available, including iced versions displayed on cute blackboards. I am so impressed with the accommodations they allow. One man asks for a fried slice, another asks if he can substitute his toast with an extra hash brown and Izzy even offers to make me a few pancakes to try, made from scratch I might add, not that horrible pre-mixed powder stuff. She says they are often asked for pancake stacks for children in the afternoons and are happy to do this. Theirs are thick, American style and the maple syrup and butter are served on the side, great for me as I can’t have too much. Light and fluffy, they’re a hit. I feel a whole new menu coming on suggesting it to Miguel as they are so good.
As I munch, four beefy guys in high viz jackets turn up. There’s a lot of construction going on in the area, always helpful for footfall. They already know what they want and are rubbing their hands. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me, but mark my words, this ain’t no greasy spoon. It seems to me that whether one is on their way to the station wanting to grab a quick coffee and pastry, wanting a more leisurely breakfast or a quick lunch with a glass of wine, the team here can help.
If you’re prepared to venture just a little further out of Tunbridge Wells, pay a visit to Two Penny Blue. The service and food are of a very good standard. Your belly will be full and smile forthcoming. Just ask anyone - mums and children, commuters, adjoining business owners, residents, or construction workers, they all love the place and keep returning. Thank you Miguel and Izzy for a fantastic breakfast.
Words by Bibi Roy. Paid review exclusive to the TN card.
Member reward: Two Penny Blue thank members for supporting local with 10% discount on food and drink, to enjoy in or to take away. Find full details here.