Tag Archives: Underground Restaurants

Mardens Ruin…

When I heard that drink “Mothers Ruin” or Gin was now being made in Marden I had to find out more…It was some two years ago that scientists Andy & Norman started their fabrication of Gin. (Some might have then said this was the downhill slide for Marden!)   Anno Distillers are the first distillers of this much loved drink in the county of Kent for over 200 years.

Well it was a friend who reminded me of them and so I set about introducing myself and I can now report we are excited to say our October dinner event on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th will be hosted by Andy and Norman at their Marden based distillery.

It is not a glamorous location on an industrial estate beside the Ashford to London rail line but what lies behind the steel shutters is a real Aladdin’s cave. The ex scientists have built their own still and after much testing and tinkering they launched their craft gin made with local botanicals and a few added ingredients one would not expect. Namely foraged samphire and local hops to give their gin its unique taste and style. Added to this they also make a Sloe Gin and a very drinkable flowery Elderflower & Vodka.

What could be more fitting than a dinner using all three of their labours in the dishes we create. So after some sampling and thought I have decided to attempt to cook and serve on site the following menu. No mean feat as they have no kitchen and so we have had to be clever in the way the menu has been constructed!

The dinner will be housed within the distillery on the first floor overlooking the very sexy looking copper and polished metal still – a single table in amongst boxes of gin and other packaging awaiting to be filled will be the back drop. Andy and Norman will be in attendance to guide guests through their story and how their gin is made. It will be a fascinating evening and one that will be very popular I am sure.

We are asking guests to arrive for 7:15pm so they can firstly sample a welcoming G&T along with some seasonal and possibly gin inspired nibbles. Norman or Andy (or both) will provide a guided tour of the process before guests will then sit down for the dinner.

We will kick off with a dish using their sloe gin – I have asked a friend to import from Switzerland (he is coming over for the September “Fowl Feast”) some Dörrbohnen (dried green beans – A Hari Covert Meal would be bereft without some green beans!) These beans are braised and will with the addition of some fresh blanched ones form the base of a salad with the addition of some pan fried wood pigeon breasts. Garnished with some local Toasted Cob Nuts All this will be dressed with the Anno Sloe Gin based vinaigrette… I am drooling just typing this…

We will then follow this with the main course – I had agonised what to do but because of the limited cooking facilities I have opted for a Pork Fillet with an Anno Gin, Juniper and Blueberry Sauce – we will be cooking the pork fillet wrapped in thin sliced cured ham in a large Paella pan – we plan to serve these with a Pommes Boulangere… we will poach thinly sliced potatoes and onions in a chicken stock that will then be crisped on the top using a blow torch.. we have to be resourceful when there is no oven! Finely shredded cabbage will be simply steamed with some butter and served as the vegetable.

Following the main we will serve dessert – a break from our normal format of cheese before pudding. We are using the Anno Elderflower & Vodka for a Jelly infused with local fresh raspberries and then some homemade shortbread biscuits will accompany this.

Finally the cheese will be the local Winterdale Shaw served simply with our Porridge Oat Biscuits and a dollop of our homemade banana Jam and a snifter of Sloe Gin to wash it all down… we think it will be the best way to complete the evening.

Coffee and some Gin and Lemon Fudge will be the final offering.


Welcome G&T with seasonal nibbles


Dörrbohnen & Green Bean Salad with Toasted Cob Nuts and Pan Fried Wood Pigeon with Anno Sloe Gin vinaigrette.


Cured Ham wrapped Pork Fillet with Gin, Juniper & Blueberry Sauce, Pommes Boulangere & Steamed Cabbage


Elderflower Vodka & Raspberry Jelly with Homemade Shortbread Biscuits


Winterdale Shaw,Banana Jam & Porridge Oat Biscuits with Sloe Gin Snifter


Coffee with Gin & Lemon Fudge

Menu Subject to Ingredient Availability & Market Purchases

Dates: Friday 16th & Saturday 17th October

Arrival:  7:15pm

Dinner: 8:00pm

Suggested Donation : £45.00 per person (service not included)

If you wish to be part of this very unique event then please book quickly as we are limited to just twelve spaces each night. Just complete the booking form below and we will contact you within 24 to 48 hours to confirm the booking.

Fowl Feast…our September menu

Well it has been a very hectic Summer for us… apologies for my tardiness in posting and getting our menus up to date. Will reveal a little more on what has been going on in a separate post.

So for our September menu on Friday 25th & Saturday 26th September we will be offering what we term a fowl feast… to kick the dinner off we will serve a smooth unctuous Chicken Liver Parfait that will have a homemade Onion Chutney with it. A classic combination. For the main course we will then serve a crispy Duck Leg Confit that will have a selection of roasted root vegetables and a tart redcurrant sauce with it – it is a rich dish to remind us that the Autumn chill is just around the corner!

We will then serve a selection of cheeses with our homemade porridge oat biscuits and Banana Jam

To complete the feast we plan to serve a glazed lemon curd tartlette with a compote of fresh blackberries and a dollop of clotted cream – fresh French pressed coffee as they say across the pond with some homemade peanut butter butter fudge should round it all off

If you wish to reserve your spaces then please just complete the booking form below and we will normally contact you within 24/48 hours to confirm your reservation with a credit card number

Arrival Time: 7:30pm – Welcome drink & Seasonal Nibbles

Dinner Served: 8:00pm

Suggested Donation: £35 per person (Service not included)


Smooth Chicken Liver Parfait served with

Homemade Onion Relish


Crispy Confit Duck Leg with Roasted Root Vegetables and a Redcurrant Sauce


Hari’s Assorted Cheese Selection with Porridge Oat Biscuits


Glazed Lemon Curd Tartlette with a

Blackberry Compote & Clotted Cream


Coffee & Fudge

Independence Day… Happy 4th July

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Well I cannot believe it has been two years since we last attempted a totally alfresco dinner… we will endeavour to  do so again this year (weather permitting) and what better day than to make a night of it on Saturday July 4th when we will serve up an American themed dinner in our garden terrace setting.

We will welcome guests with a drink and some simple nibbles (monkey nuts and freshly popped corn very likely!)

We will then serve up a couple of platters for dinners of loaded nachos and some spicy deep fried chicken pop corn that will be shared out on each table.

For the main courses we will then serve up either a Texan spiced pulled pork burger bun or freshly grilled Salmon Fillet bun with a dill sauce all served up with freshly dressed slaw and French Fries. The choice is yours…

To complete what we hope will be a fun night we will then serve you either a chocolate fudge brownie with vanilla ice cream and pecans or a Strawberry Shortcake with Strawberry Sauce. Simple fare that we hope will get the party started.

Finally we will then serve what across the pond they call French pressed coffee with home-made peanut butter fudge.

Arrival: 7:30pm Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner 8:00pm Prompt

Suggested Donation: £30.00 per person (Service not included)


Loaded Vegetarian Nachos

Popcorn Chicken with Hot Salsa


Texan Pulled Pork Burger, Slaw & String Fries


Grilled Salmon Sandwich with Dill Sauce, Slaw & String Fries


Home-made Strawberry Shortcake with Strawberry Sauce


Chocolate Fudge Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream

& Toasted Pecans


Coffee & Peanut Butter Fudge

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability

Please complete the Booking Form and we will confirm your spaces normally within 48 Hours

Thou shall hev a fishy on a little dishy….

Dance ti’ thy daddy, sing ti’ thy mammy,
Dance ti’ thy daddy, ti’ thy mammy sing;
Thou shall hev a fishy on a little dishy,
Thou shall hev a fishy when the boat comes in.

– From “When the Boat comes in”

Well, we are an island race and surrounded by water and this month’s menu will reflect the abundance of fish and shellfish that we have on offer.

I have also decided to use various cooking methods as well as culinary influences in the menu. The starter is  the new classic of South American origin – a Ceviche – citrus marinated raw fish. I will use salmon matched with avocado all served like a cocktail in a glass with crispy tortilla chips – a light fresh starter.

Next up will be the classic of a seared scallop that will be served with a lush green pea puree with its natural sweetness, salty crispy bacon and then a mint oil will add other flavour dimensions.

For the main course I will use a “Biblical” fish, John Dory. It is jd2reputed to be the fish St Peter plucked to feed the 5000 with its distinctive black thumb print on its side. A relative of the Haddock and is a fish that only yields 40% of  edible flesh – 60% is bone wastage!

jdI am using the fillets with a delicate beurre blanc sauce infused with spicy flavour of ginger and delicate flavour of onion with freshly chopped chives. Simply garnished with green beans and baby new potatoes… it will be all about the fishy!

Finally we will serve our ever favourite fresh strawberry parfait an “iced strawberry cream” served with a strawberry sauce and some fresh baked shortbread biscuits perfumed with cracked black pepper, perfect with the strawberries that are in full seasonal flush!

It will be a true feast and the boat will have truly come in!

Friday 12th & Saturday 13th June 2015


Salmon & Avocado Ceviche with Tortilla Chips


Seared Scallops with Pea Puree, Crispy Bacon & Mint Oil


Roasted Fillet of John Dory with Ginger Cream Sauce, Green Beans Baby New Potatoes


Kentish Iced Strawberry Parfait with Black Pepper Shortbread

Glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes


Coffee & Petit Fours

Menu subject to Market Purchases and Ingredient Availability

Welcome Drink on arrival. Glasses, Ice Buckets & Water provided

Suggest Donation: £40 per person

Arrival: 7:30pm

Dinner: 8:00pm

To book please complete the “Booking Form” – We will confirm your places within 48 Hours

A wild one…

Wild Garlic FlowersWhere is this year going… cannot believe we are already nearly a third of the year through it…

For me the end of winter is signalled by the arrival of a wild food in the form of Wild Garlic or as known by it’s “English” name Ransom. The broad green leaves that poke their heads up in wooded areas from about mid march onwards remind me that warmer weather is hopefully around the corner and we should also start seeing more abundant seasonal produce in our baskets.

Posset's on Parade!!!This months dinners will feature the foraged herb in the starter and main course (to a lesser extent) and then a true spring fruit fresh rhubarb married to a tart lemon posset!

To book this event then please complete the booking form below and we will contact you normally with 48 hours to confirm your places.

Arrival: 7:30pm Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm

Suggested Donation: £40 per person

Service not included

Assorted Seasonal Canapés with a welcome drink


Wild Garlic, Pea & Prawn Risotto


Herb Crusted Roasted Rump of Lamb

with minted crushed Jersey Royals

Haricot Vert & Roasted Cherry Tomatoes


Hari’s selection of assorted Cheeses

with Porridge Oat Biscuits & Banana Jam


Lemon & Rhubarb Posset served with a warm home-made shortbread

Served with a glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes 


Coffee & Petits Fours

Menu Subject to Ingredient Availability and Market Purchases

March onwards…

We love a good glass of beer and we thought what could be a great theme for our March dinner event would be to pair up once again with Yudhistra Moodley of Moodley’s Craft Beer & Wine Making (we last hosted a dinner with Moodleyshim in January 2012) and this time are offering something a bit different. We have always loved using his beer especially in our beer bread.

Yudhistra only brews his beers to  order now commercially but he is however now selling “The Simple Beer Kit” mostly through Farm Shops  and local farmers’ markets including Tunbridge Wells Town Hall, Tonbridge, Aylesford, Hildenborough, Lamberhurst, Shipbourne Horsmonden , West Malling & Robertsbridge and then his web site on the Internet. All so you can brew your own high quality home brew using brewing quality ingredients. You can follow him on twitter @moodleyslimited or on Facebook at Moodley’s Limited

We have teamed up with him for our dinners on Friday 13th & Saturday 14th March when we will be serving a simple beer themed supper to our guests. We will also for each pair of guests be providing a simple beer kit for you to take home and try brewing yourself. Yudhistra will also be on hand each night to answer any brewing questions you may have on how to make a successful brew.

musselsFollowing a welcome drink and beer themed nibble we will kick the evening off with a bowl of freshly cooked fresh mussels cooked in a home brew and served with our now somewhat infamous beer bread.

We will then go onto the main course dish a classic pork shoulder stew braised in beer with carrots and onions. We will serve this with a herby bulgur wheat and some purple sprouting broccoli – a good warming bit of comfort food

Decadent Chocolate TorteFinally we will then serve a classic chocolate cake made with a dark beer that will be served with a compote of blood oranges and some mascarpone cream.

Then with coffee and we will serve some petit fours.

We think it will be a fun night with the added benefit of a take home beer kit with full instructions on how to make your own home brew, what could be better?

Arrival: 7:30pm Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm

Suggested Donation: £40 per person including for each pair a Moodleys Simple Beer Kit (retails at £30)

Service not included


Poached Fresh Mussels in Beer with Hari’s Beer Bread


Beer Braised Pork with Carrots & Onion

Herbed Bulgur Wheat

Purple Sprouting  Broccoli


Chocolate & Porter Cake, Blood Oranges & Mascarpone


Coffee & Petit Fours

To reserve your places please complete the booking form below and we will contact you normally within 24 to 48 hours to confirm  your places with a credit card number.

Fondue Party… our February dinners


Well we thought we would set the year off with a bit of a party and what better way to kick start the year than with a “Swiss Cheese Fondue Party”!

We will be in central Tunbridge Wells at 8 Chapel Place (a vacant retail outlet) between the High Street & The Pantiles that we will take over for two nights (6th & 7th February) and be serving up a classic fondue menu.

It will be a little early for Swiss Faschnacht (Carnival/Mardi Gras) but what the hell let’s really get the party started with some good food and convivial conversation.

There will be three tables of six (so sharing is compulsory unless a whole table is booked) and we will welcome guests with some nibbles and glass of something!

The meal will kick of with a selection of assorted Charcuterie served with some rye bread (Veggie option available – please pre-order in the “any other info” section of the form below) and then we will serve each table with a classic Swiss Cheese Fondue. Melted Swiss cheese and wine is then served bubbling on a heater and you all dive in with your bread. We will have the addition of some wild mushrooms as well to add to the fondue if so desired!

Finally the meal will be completed with a platter of fresh fruit and fruit sorbet (Taywells) that we will serve with a small glass of schnapps.

We will then serve up coffee and some petit fours to round the evening off.

If you want to come in your best carnival outfit then feel free, (not compulsory though) we plan to have some Guggenmusik playing in the background ! The menu includes a welcome drink on arrival but you will need to bring your own drinks to have with the meal. (Water and Ice Buckets provided) Please note Red Wine with hot cheese is not a good idea as it tends to clot the cheese in your stomach.

So why not join us for a fun couple of nights re-live those nights on the ski slopes and let’s party!

Place: 8 Chapel Place, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1YQ

Time: 7:30pm Welcome Drink and Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm prompt

Suggested donation £35.00 per person (service not included)


Assorted Charcuterie served with pickles and Rye Bread

(Vegetarian option: Nussli Salat Mimosa mit Baumnussen)


Classic Swiss Cheese Fondue

Melted Swiss Emmenthal & Gruyere in white wine served with cubes of bread


Fresh Fruit Platter served with a Taywell Fruit Sorbet and a chilled schnapps


Coffee & Petit Fours

Happy New Year…

Well here at “Covert Towers” we have been enjoying the festive season in our warm and dry home… a bit different to last year when we evacuated on Christmas Eve and did not return until early July!

imagesIt was a challenging year in 2014 for a number of reasons and we are now looking forward to a what will be our 5th year of secret dining.

We cannot thank our supporters enough for sticking with us during such trying times. We cooked in new venues provided by generous hosts and then we returned to our refurbished home and new kitchen and have been cooking up some storming events since then.

Now as we start off in 2015 we have set dates right through to the end of the year. We have some exciting themes planned for the year and we will publish more details in due course but for the moment we have two dates on February 6th and 7th when the menu will be based around Fondues. We will publish full menus in due course.

On Thursday March 26th we will also be taking part in a charity dinner called “Take 5 Cooks” plus one (a late entry) This will be held 5at Redwood College in Essex and the profits from this dinner is to be shared between Home Start (Essex) and the Welcome Project (Ilford) two small local charities. We will share more details soon as we are just awaiting confirmation on booking details and price per head. Feel free to use our booking confirmation form to register your interest. We Promise it will be a real fun night!

We will publish more details on our other events as soon as we can just keep checking back. In the meantime we wish all our current and potential new customers a very Happy New Year.

Hari Covert

The final “O come all ye Faithful”….


Cancelled – sorry for any inconvenience

Our final supperclub event of 2014 is something a bit special for us… We have always wanted to do a “Pop Up” in central Tunbridge Wells and we can now announce we are coming to the town on Saturday December 20th.

We will be located in a space in Chapel Place (8a to be precise) where for one night only we will serve a special dinner. It will be a big challenge for us as we will have to transport a kitchen into the site and all the associated equipment.

We hope you will come along and support us and get yourselves intosanta1 the festive spirit…

We will kick the evening off with a welcome drink and some festive
nibbles then diners will sit down to a sumptuous four course dinner

Arrival:  7:30pm

Dinner:  Served 8:00pm Prompt

Suggested Donation £40.00 per person (service not included)

Bring your own Alcohol – we provided water and ice buckets


Homemade Pork, Apricot & Hazelnut Terrine

with a home-made Seasonal Relish


Crispy Confit Duck Leg served on a

mixed bean & Spicy Chorizo Stew


Hari’s Selection of Cheeses,

Porridge Oat Biscuits & Homemade Banana Jam


Christmas Pudding Iced Parfait with a Red Berry compote and holly tuile biscuit served with a glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes


Coffee or Hari’s Tea Blend with Festive Petit Fours

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability


Memories of China… a report


Well it was the third time we had invited Chef But to “Covert Towers” to prepare a sumptuous Chinese Banquet … It was well subscribed with two nights fully booked with new and returning guests.

I duly collected Mr B and his wife Sue from South Croydon after he had travelled down from his home in Wembley London and we headed off to nearby Wing Yip Chinese supermarket to purchase the more specialist ingredients we required for the dinners.

We sat down in the adjacent restaurant for a quick Dim Sum lunch before we went round the Supermarket picking out what we required… everything from a pile of Spring Green leaves and Chinese Bak Choy to tins of Yellow Bean Paste and jars of chilli sauces were piled high into the trolley.IMG_6593

As we paid up we headed back round the M25 to Kent and got stuck into the job of preparing food for the impending dinners… Legs of Lamb were butchered and prepared for poaching as they were to be used as the Mongolian Crispy Lamb, Beef Shin was chopped and poached off ready to be slowly cooked with a piquant sauce and water chestnuts. Dried Bean Curd was deep fried and then placed in a bucket of hot water to soften and then cut into bite sized pieces.

B then seemed to magic a pork and chicken minced meat mixture ready for stuffing into the dumplings and then within about one hour and twenty minutes he had made over one hundred dumplings. Blocks of Prawns were left to defrost… it was a late finish and then the next morning it was an early start as we prepared so much food for that evenings dinner. Prawns were made ready for the stir fry and then others were minced to be made into prawn toasts.

IMG_6592It was a long day as we prepared for the full house… we had a big menu. It was a full on service as we served everything from the Red Lotus Cocktail to the finale of some Taywell Sorbet and Ice Cream… and some rather yummy Silver Tipped Jasmine Tea supplied by Blends for Friends. Popular dishes seemed to be Sesame Prawn Toasts and then Slow Cooked Beef Shin with water chestnuts and dried bean curd. All dishes were quickly consumed and as last guests departed it was a quick clear up and off to our slumbers for another busy day the next day.

The Saturday night always seems a great deal easier… something to do with lessons learnt from the Friday I suspect. We still spent most the morning prepping and then after a quick visit to  a local cafe for some lunch we were back in the kitchen to finish off and get ready for another full house.

IMG_6651Mr But and his wife Sue had with the rest of the team worked so very hard to make it a very special couple of nights… Guests seemed to enjoy themselves and it was a lively couple of days … we hope you all enjoy the videos we have posted on our You Tube channel

We will have some photos to share with you all in due course and will create a gallery when we have.


Hari C