The must-visit outdoor restaurant in Kent

Of all the places reopening its doors on 12th April as part of the easing of lockdown measures, Tipis Restaurant was one I was immensely looking forward to visiting. Situated within wedding and events venue The Gardens in Yalding, Tipis reopened on a cold but bright spring day with a busy lunchtime scheduling. The team made an exception for the first week back, opening Monday to Sunday everyday from 12pm to 7pm; they’ll now be open every Thursday to Sunday, from 12 pm to 7 pm, until 13th June 2021 when it will temporarily close for weddings being held at The Gardens.

Tipis Restaurant serve seasonal and locally sourced British food from amazing open tipis with views across the venue’s exquisite English country gardens. Once described as “among the most inspirational garden acres anywhere,” The Gardens are divided into 16 areas which demonstrate planting styles through the ages, from Medieval to World War II and everything in between. If Kent is the garden of England, then this is surely the heart of it. Local wedding styling company Hire Love has decorated the outdoor dining area in a rustic style that pays homage to the beauty of the Kent countryside, allowing Tipis to live by their ethos: To bring the outstanding natural beauty of our gardens to your plate.

Photography: Fleur Challis Food & Commercial (

The first pint since lockdown measures eased was an Old Dairy Blue Top Ale. Hailing from Tenterden, Kent, this was an hugely satisfying beer with a great malty taste. Perfect choice to have while admiring the decor of the tipis interior and looking out at the lush green gardens.

The beer was soon followed by a South Coast sharing platter, which consisted of great little crab cakes, a superb potted brown shrimp which was fantastic when spread on the freshly cut loaves, and an oak smoked salmon bursting with flavour, which paired brilliantly with the garden herb creme fraiche.

Photography: Fleur Challis Food & Commercial (

The mains all look outrageously good, so guests are truly spoilt for choice; it took a while for me to finally make my decision. The decision was the pot roast chicken breast and I didn’t have a single regret. Every mouthful was sensational. Smoked bacon gave it a lovely warmth and elevated the flavour, broad beans, leeks and mushrooms gave the dish nice depth, while the garden herb potatoes and steamed greens were perfect sides.

My plus one ordered the Bethersden 30 day dry aged rib eye steak, which was enormous. The quality of the meat was really evident in the way it looked, which was down to how well it was cooked. Roasted beetroot seems like a bit of a bold choice, but it worked excellently. Asparagus, fondant potatoes and a thyme and red wine sauce completed the dish wonderfully.

Save some space for pudding because you won’t want to miss out on the garden apples and rhubarb oat crumble with a jug of custard. It’s British, it’s a classic, and it’s delicious. Definitely go for a walk post-meal because you’ll be able to see for yourself exactly where these ingredients grow.

Photography: Fleur Challis Food & Commercial (

Tipis Restaurant launched at The Gardens in October 2020 by Glow Events, which runs weddings and events from The Gardens, alongside two other leading Kent venues. With weddings unable to operate fully until 21 June 2021, Glow Events utilised its prestigious venue, professional chefs, and event planning expertise to bring a new dining experience to the local community. Tipis Restaurant is committed to keeping its carbon footprint low by sourcing seasonal ingredients from local food and drink producers.

Book a table via Bookings can be made for parties of up to six or two households (proof of address required).