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Padwell Arms, Seal

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user reviews of the Padwell Arms, Seal

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

We walked here on a sunny Sunday and found the place to be full of charm. The landlord was most accommodating, and definitely on top of his beers as two were changed whilst we were there, and one not deemed quite ready due to more settling required. I had the Tonbridge Traditional which was great. Nice cheap round. Saw a "small" portion of chips come out of the kitchen which was massive. As always, take previous 'foody' reviews with a pinch of salt. The Padwell Arms is a lovely characteristic pub, well worth the visit!
BiffoBeer - 15 Jan 2014 16:28
The food was mediocre at best, but it was the extra insult of the astonishing rip-off prices that really left a bad taste in our mouths. £36.00 for what should have cost a tenner.
I had the (find the fish) Fish Cakes, which were obviously home-made but not in a good way. I would have preferred the frozen ASDA version. 98% potato and salt. My partners meal was chicken in a white wine sauce with rice. Imagine a non-descript plate of pure white, half of it a gelatinous sauce complete with skin and plain rice.
My new potatoes would have been new 4 months ago.
Everything covered in dried parsley, at the height of summer some fresh herbs would have been not much of a stretch. AVOID AT ALL COSTS....have a packet of crisps and save your appetite for somewhere else.
karamia - 11 Jul 2013 13:30
Bit of a sparsely decorated pub, a bit like drinking in someone's front room! Having said that, there was a huge welcoming fire on a cold Sunday afternoon and the staff made us feel well at home. Five real ales on, I tried the Tonbridge & the Larkins, both in good condition. Food was excellent and came in huge portions, the Sunday roast defeated most people. A most enjoyable visit.
alan_From_SAWW - 10 Feb 2013 17:21
Thought Id give it one last chance.
Realised it has had too many last chances already

Awful, simply awful. Should be closed down , filthy disgrace to all those who try to run proper establishments.

Sessionmaster - 11 Oct 2012 08:59
After last coming to this pub back in January after a couple of years away it was great. Now after another return to the area what a shame the pub has gone back in time to the old days of D & J it now looks dirty the food if any very poor. Well after looking back at previous reports by the LOCALS seems than now have what they wanted their own personal drinking club where no outsiders will want to come too eat or drink, well they now have it and they are welcome to it, will not be returning for sometime or NEVER
caskraider - 15 Sep 2012 12:13
Indeed, terrible terrible news. I am in mourning, I would equate it to the loss of a child even. To all the regulars at the Padwell, I am so sorry for our collective loss, I feel completely lost and bemused. I may as well just end it all now. I think collective suicide might be the way forward now, the future is just a dark black tunnel and we are all heading into it at full throttle. :(
benton - 7 Aug 2012 11:24
What a shame.

Not been in since April with annual leave, jubilees and everything of late. The incomparable Maria has left. I heard that Jane had asked her to break the lease as the pub jane was running in Yorkshire was in receivership and that jane and partner ( it is not Doug now , that is a lucky escape) had nowhere to go.

From what I know Maria made the tough decision and the wrong one from the consumers perspective.

Gone are most of the real ales, gone is the great menu and gone are the clientele. This could and should have been one of the must do pubs / eateries. You cabinet even get in the restaurant now, its full of junk.

Sessionmaster - 19 Jun 2012 19:24
I cannot believe I am reading this last comment. After all these months and on the verge of revisiting this pub after some time, since Dougie and Jayne left and various others had tried to revive it, I am now hearing it's back to square one, again.
Never particularly enamoured by D and J but at least they tried but all the regulars I knew including that interesting character from the Knole estate, all left and we stopped going as well and moved on to pastures new.
This is such a shame. I often drive past the pub about 1-30pm but the once full car park is usually quite empty.
HHGTTG - 18 May 2012 09:29
Called back in here recently for the first time since October and what a disappointment it was. It seems the friendly & helpful people who had the pub back then have moved on - not sure why but don't get the impression they wanted to - to new pastures. Seems the 'new' people are previous tenants so all of the hard work done could so easily be undone as the pub used to be one to miss. The real ales still seem to be there, but when we ordered food we were given cheap A4 menu's with a handwritten front page! We ordered the food anyway only to be told by a very scruffy landlord they couldn't take a card payment because their phone line had been cut off when the previous tenants left....good planning this. We drank up and left and are unlikely to return anytime soon!
meland - 10 May 2012 12:54
After being away from the area for a couple of years decided to call back into the Padwell arms as i had heard it had new owners and what pleasant surprise,
the bar staff greeted me with a nice welcome and a smile. The decor looks brighter and cleaner than the last time i called in some two years ago. the new menu looked
very nice and the food i saw coming out of the kitchen looked and smelt very good indeed will be bringing my friends back to have a meal.
Had a couple of pints of bitter which tasted and looked very good also have lots of new guest beers on a regular basis, the new owners certainly seem to know what they are doing both food and beers in good order and you cannot say that about some pubs in the area.

caskraider - 19 Jan 2012 23:21
Why is the phrase "an axe to grind" so prevalent on this website? Are there any other worn out phrases from 1971 that I should know about in order to fit in guys? Christ, I already swig copious amounts of flowery 'real' ale to suit my rather narrow-minded palate and bleat on ad nauesum about it to any other bearded old sap who'll listen. I have that box ticked.. Any more?
benton - 2 Jan 2012 20:46
Mr Alegobbler,

I actually had a phone call from another regular to advise that you are persisting with this tirade.

As I am nearing retirement I have a lot of time for pub lunches. This just HAPPENS TO BE MY LOCAL.

I have no particular axe to grind, unlike your good self who only has time to pour scorn and vitriol on this fine establishment and yet not comment on any others. It strikes me that it is you that has the personal interest. When I have a complaint I tell the I did at the Kentish Rifleman.

If you don't like this place and you are entitled to your opinion I can suggest you try the (Golding ) Hop or the Old House , they are amongst my favorites and may be more to your liking. The Bell at Kemsing is also an excellent pub.The food at the George and Dragon Chipstead ( call it what you like) is excellent too. Try to find one you like rather than moan endlessly about those you do not, sorry the one pub that you do not.

Enjoy your Beer

Sessionmaster - 15 Dec 2011 16:32
dear oh dear
i have stirred a hornets nest havent i .
as i said before these forums are for honest opinions not advertising under an alias you are fooling no one

alegobbler - 15 Dec 2011 12:46
Mummers plays and a Hooden Horse, thats all too Gastro for me.

So is wassailing and winter beer festivals ( second weekend in january) , and they are even planning a traditional sports olympiad and St Georges Day, Diamond Jubilee celebration and so on. They even have a darts team that is winning matches. Oh dear.

Traditional country pursuits, folk music, resurrecting local customs, Im amazed that they are doing this, you get the same in every Gordon Ramsay outlet nationwide.

Definitely gone all gastro.

Sessionmaster - 15 Dec 2011 08:19
Haven't we had enough of this bickering now? It's the season of good will, after all.
I suggest you all get along there on 27 Dec. when the Tonbridge Mummers will be providing an hour or two of good- natured traditional arsing around in the evening, have a few beers and forget your differences.
Happy Christmas.
earlydrinker - 14 Dec 2011 21:35
heh - have to say that I'm intrigued by this whole "gastro" accusation that's been levelled at The Padwell, with its clearly negative connotations. Let's see, we have a very welcoming pub that serves a variety of well kept ales at very competitive prices, has put on some very enjoyable events and which is starting to find a real niche with its many folk-arts evenings. It's been smartened up, is doing its bit for local sports clubs, actively looks to bring other community groups in to the fold and makes much of its commitment to the use of local suppliers in every aspect of its business - all sounds fair enough, doesn't it ?

But no - hang on - of an evening, they serve something a bit more ambitious than jellied eels, chips and a sausage on a stick, so it must therefore be a "gastro pub" dolling out poncey food at exhorbitant prices, and all the other positives can be ignored. Having had a young lad in the kitchens when it opened who was happy enough to serve up simple - but very good - food, there's now someone there who has the flexibility to have added some more adventurous dishes to the menu (in addition to the basic fare, rather than instead of, it should be noted) presumably in an effort to offer a bit more choice and make a few more bob along the way - hardly the ultimate heresy in these straightened times when presenting as many options as possible to potential punters is a prerequisite of any business that aspires to endure for more than a fortnight or so.

Obviously, some shortsighted curmudgeons are happy to sit in a corner nursing a pint of gassy mild while chewing on a hard crust and a packet of pork scratchings, kicking dogs and moaning about noisy kids to anyone that's unfortunate enough to be in earshot under the pretence of being a "characterful if somewhat disenfranchised local" - there's a reason why so many "traditional" pubs are dying on their collective arses, you know !
Rookster - 13 Dec 2011 23:02
To Sessionmaster, if you are a local how did you manage to go to The Plough "by mistake"? Anyway its all very nice in The Padwell these days. Roaring log fires (well there's no other heating!) Despite the restaurant makeover not many evening diners when I've dropped in, nor any sign of simple evening bar snacks, so I can understand some of the gastro comments. There seem to be two chefs and assorted bar staff as well as a charming landlady and a jolly chap who apparently is the proprietor now who has clearly spent a lot of money doing the place up. So they seem well prepared for the Festive season. Beer wise I'd say six ales was a bit ambitious, and the couple I tried were a bit flat, but undeniably good value.
warmflatbitter - 8 Dec 2011 19:20
Thank you for your extended comments Mr Alegobler.

Im a regular at the Padwell now and have joined their friends scheme. I concur, maria is immensely popular with customers and she is doing an amazing job, bringing it back from the dead.

Just to be sure of my facts I have just driven down to the Padwell and obtained a menu for Lunch today and this evening. I will be glad to email them to you

Yes it does contain some fancy food. Venison Filets in rich wine gravy for example. But it also has, Steak and Ale pie, battered haddock, cheese ploughmans and other standards. I like the fact that sandwiches are on the lunch menu too. Also to be fair I note that each menu has todays date on. I was told by the Barmaid ( Louise ??) that the menu changes every day , so admittedly I have not seen all of them, only a few recently.

I quizzed Maria, and she says that lunches will always have some standards on the menu but in the evening there will be fewer as people are looking for a little more than shepherds pie. There is a "Trio of sausages with mustard mash" ( Thats bangers and mash to me) and "Braised steak and onions: on this evening in addition to "poached salmon with a white wine and dill sauce". So this holds up Maria's assertion that in the evening it is a little out of the ordinary but not so perverse as to require an A level in Domestic Science to understand it.

Anyway I have booked for four of us for dinner. I will report back.

I think it only fair to the Lady of the house that grievances are expressed to her directly rather than by anonymous postings on review sites. I complained about one aspect of the beers and it was changed, she did introduce a dark or black beer to keep many of us quiet and it sells well.

Im not going to be anything other than supportive, before she arrived it was a dump with no customers. Her efforts have to be admired. I remember when the Snail was a pub and the Plough was a pub, at least this still is a pub with a thriving dining room on the back instead of a blue/green fish tank.

If selling better quality food and different food daily is what it takes for the place to thrive again and to maintain it's very reasonable beer prices Im all in favour of that so long as the bar does not get swallowed up by a dining room extension......which Im assured will not be happening.

Putting food aside I had a half of the Cobnut bitter. Never seen it before, but rather good.

I live but 270 yards from the Padwell, an easy walk. I used to have to go to the Old House for a decent pint and to have the Village Pub back at the heart of the community is for us locals a wonderful thing. It has not been this good since Patsy and Bridey had it ten years ago, and they used to sell all manner of dishes, the game terrine that patsy did was legendary ( thats potted meat to me too !)

Im the wrong side of 60 now and I dare say that I will be retiring in the same village. I have seen this pub change so many times, ownership, style and so on. I remember it almost 40 years ago when the only food was cheese sandwiches or pickled eggs. We loved it back then. Beer sales have been declining for years and proprietors have had to provide better food where possible. The Pad when maria arrived already had the dining room built and with rates and everything else still to be paid I can only admire her efforts to fill it.

If you want a stolid traditional pub look no further than the Old House at Ightham or the Golding Hop. The former sells nothing but beer, great beer but more expensive than the Padwell now , but no food. The "Hop" has superb cider and great beer and super basket meals and my favourite ham eggs and the best chips in Britain. My only issue with either is that I cannot walk back along unlit lanes at night. Neither has a dining room attached.

PS I'm not in PR. I am a hospital administrator (non striking) and past my sell by date.

I would welcome the opportunity to buy you a pint at the Padwell some day. just ask for "Johnny "


Sessionmaster - 2 Dec 2011 18:16
Tu geste ?
please explain if i were in a "proper pub" i very much doubt if any one would unless on holiday would be speaking that way. hence gone all gastro

i also notice that you are a frequent poster "thank you herve" "well done maria"
"best ale selection" does your work by any chance involve PR.

i did not set out to offend any one i am merely airing my opinion which i am quite entitled to do i have had the pleasure of meeting maria the landlady who in my opinion does a sterling job a very warm welcome for everyone and you only have to be in the pub two minutes to see how popular she is with the customers.

it was during a chat with maria that i was told what to expect when the kitchen was up and running that there was to be no competing with other local restaurants just good honest traditional english grub as you are a regular visitor could you explain the change.

so sessionmaster please take the time to read a menu and maybe you will appreciate why i state that the padwell has gone all gastro its quite simple really i state that because the padwell is now a GASTRO pub.

Even more annoyed , Kent

alegobbler - 2 Dec 2011 14:31
Gone all gastro ? Tu geste.

If Ploughmans , steak and Ale Pie and Bubble and Squeak is gastro food , then Ill avoid "proper pubs".
Furthermore I went back in last night for a beer. They has Cobnut, Skrimshander, Hobgoblin, Larkins, Hogs Back, Chestnut stout on and if you looked up above the bar five different ales in the cellar ready to go on !

I admit the restaurant at the back , which has been there for many years, does look like a restaurant now but if the money that Maria generates from that means that I can have traditional pub lunch and a fantastic array of beers to choose from Ill keep on supporting it.

I met sixCAMRA members yesterday who raved about the changes that have been made.

Clearly Maria you cannot please everyone and personally I dont think you should bother. keep up the excellent work !

Sessionmaster - 1 Dec 2011 08:49
Another village pub lost whats going on does anyone know of a local pub that has not gone all gastro.

Annoyed Kent
alegobbler - 30 Nov 2011 14:09
Went to the Plough at Ivy hatch by mistake. Soon rectified.

Herve , thank you for a fantastic lunch , we all enjoyed it and it was excellent value for money.
Keep up the excellent work
Sessionmaster - 26 Nov 2011 17:31
I agree that it still looks a little tired in the bar area, but you should have seen it before ! The outside has been totally repainted for the first time in a decade, the restaurant is now plush. The front bar no longer has a sticky carpet but a polished old wooden floor. The fires are lit and I hear that the decoration of the front bar is scheduled for completion this month. It is a transformation !
Sessionmaster - 17 Oct 2011 21:01
After seeing reviews of the "new" Padwell arms we decided to visit on a sunny Saturday lunchtime. Yes, the pub is much better than before and yes the beer is excellent and resonably priced, and yes the food was good and well priced, but the place still looks a bit run down and will, I'm sure, be all the better once the redecorating is finished.
meland - 17 Oct 2011 12:15
made the trip back to The Padwell for the first time in a few weeks for Sunday lunch, and the progress is remarkable. Wider range of ales on offer, with another half dozen or so added to the list since last visit. Tried Incubus, Skrimshander and Devil's Dyke - all well kept, but the last seemed to go with lunch best, so had a couple of those (maybe three) ! Food - has to be said - was just excellent - and loads of it, too, which is a nice change. Roast Beef from a farm just down the road was particularly nice, and the cheeseboard to finish was a meal in its own right, so big lumps of cheese and fresh bread ferreted away for later in the day. Looks like the initial rush under the new owners is showing no signs of abating - all sorts of social things being planned by all accounts. This'll be worth a regular visit at this rate...
Rookster - 16 Oct 2011 20:51
Went back for the third time this month. It is going from strength to strength. I had Maple Mld from Brentwood brewery. Delicious pint and clear a a bell. The Larkins was acceptable, but again spaklingly clean in the new glasses. The Coppernob and Hogs Back were superb. I joined this friends scheme that are running. Great idea. The new chef has kicked in and they even have waitresssed tables !

I had the Ploughmans which at 8.00 I thought it had to be good for that price. It was , that and more. Four different cheeses, a huge crusty baton, served with three different chutneys made on the premises, pickles and salad. I struggled to finish it. Brilliant.

I spoke to the Landlady and they were just about to start work on the refurb of the front of house. I will go back in few weeks ot see how it looks. The restaurant at the back is stunning and I hope they do it to the same standard.
Sessionmaster - 6 Oct 2011 20:44
Dropped in recently for the first time in a year or more (more, probably). Favourably impressed. They've tidied up the outside drinking area, which with its orchard views is one of the pub's big attractions, but inside it seemed much as before (though the new landlord did point out some redecoration in the restaurant - I don't notice these things). What I did notice was a wide and interesting range of beers, several from local breweries. I drank several pints of Hogs Back bitter, which was in first-class condition. From memory, beers from Hopdaemon, Tonbridge, Larkins and others also featured, all reasonably priced at 2.90
The present management seem to have set themselves on the right course, and I hope the pub will thrive under their management.
earlydrinker - 1 Oct 2011 13:34
I will agree with my learned friend "earlydrinker" about the merits of the Old House and the Golding Hop. Im delighted too that The Padwell has rejoined the triumverate pubs serving quality beers at great prices.

The White Rock, The Bucks Head , The Rifleman, The Plough have much to learn from these institutions. They are only suitable for "Ladies who lunch on the old man's credit card" and should be avoided. Yesterday I returned to the Padwell and spoke with Maria. I believe her when she says that when the retsaurant opens it will not loose it's charm and become solely an eatery. I even signed up to become a "friend of the Padwell", fantastic idea.
Sessionmaster - 29 Aug 2011 08:06
Really pleased to hear The Padwell's in good hands and doing well; I'll make a point of looking in again in the near future,
But 'a wasteland of gastropubs'?! In a location hardly more than a mile from the classic Old House at Ightham Common, and not more than three from The Golding Hop near Plaxtol? Not taking anything away from the Padwell, which I've always liked, and have used for many years - but these certainly aren't 'gastropubs'. And personally I like Larkins Traditional, too.
earlydrinker - 27 Aug 2011 21:55
In the midst of a wasteland of gastro pubs. This is a gem. I have known this for none years and seen it decline and fall into disrepair and utter neglect. The Padwell has a new lease of life thanks to the lovely Maria, everything a landlady should be ! Bright, bubbly and welcoming.

Some very nice fillies behind the bar but the beers were better ! In one small session I had a dark mild, a golden ale, a classic best and an all time great. Tonbridge Ebony Moon, Brentwood Gold, Hopdaemon Incubus and a bottle of Fullers ESB. This was marred only by Larkins Traditional which is overrated IMHO. It was all only 2.60 per pint to boot !

I was alos delighted to be able to eat some real food. Three different bangers in rolls with onions , a portion of chips and salad for 5.50....

A slightly more extensive menu and allowing them to finish the renovation and this will without doubt be a 10 !

Keep up the good work. Seal needs a decent real pub !
Sessionmaster - 26 Aug 2011 20:48
Well - there seem to be big changes afoot at The Padwell, and all for the better so far (they've dropped the "Arms" from the name, too).

Was in there a couple of times over the last week in July 2011, and there are clearly new management in control; Doug and Jayne are out of the picture, and instead we have Maria and Ray - very personable, locally based and full of enthusiasm for what they hope to do with the place.

Can't comment on the food, or state of the kitchen, as the entire dining area and food prep area are being completely revamped with a view to being up and running shortly with a new chef on board and - by all accounts - what's going to be the "simple but bloody good" approach to things, which IMHO is what pub food should be all about

Well kept, serviceable ales on tap - all local stuff, plenty of cheerful folk in the bars and outside, and a really upbeat feel about the place, although they've clearly got a real job on their hands and it's still very much a work in progress.

Also delighted to say that they're repeating their Harvest Beer Festival in September - fantastic last year, with morris dancers, drummers and reduced prices on beer, which can't be a bad thing !

I can only give a 7/10 rating on what's there so far, but I'll be making a point of going back to see how they're getting on, and reckon that a much higher mark will be due then - very promising start
Rookster - 30 Jul 2011 17:28
A good range of beers from Cottage, Hoggs Back and Larkins breweries.
Sensible selection of meals around 7 - 10. Nicely cooked and tasty.
The young bar-girl - pleasant though she was, was either new at the job or was a bit slow on the uptake - if you know what I mean. Settling the bill was quite amusing, if nothing else. She totalled our four meals and five drinks at 104.
After picking myself up off the floor I asked her to add it up again. The new bill for 42 seemed reasonable - bless her.
fugglehops - 27 Jun 2011 20:13
We walked here at the weekend and found the place to be most welcoming. Had a lovely pint at the front bar in a charming pub.
What saddens me most about comments on this website is that the majority of views are from over-critical walkers. You know who you are.
Would definitely return.
BiffoBeer - 22 Feb 2011 10:47
We 'found' this pub today after landing a superb Xmas tree at Stonepitts farm (as usual). They have both Nordic and traditional varieties, all grown on site I believe - hugely popular with those in the know. In the summer this is the place for PYO fruit..

Anyway, back to the plot. Just a couple of minutes from the A25, the Padwell Arms is set amongst orchard farms within the beautiful undulating Kent landscape. To be honest, we had earlier tried calling a few places but no chance of a lunch booking on one of the busiest Sundays of the year. We are not really ones for battling to the bar anyway.
The tantalising smell of wood smoke outside the pub was duly rewarded by roaring fires inside one including next to our table. 6 or 7 real ales at the bar including 3 I'd not heard of before like Polar Express, which was very good. The Harveys was also well kept and excellent.
The menu range was spot on - a perfect variety of hearty meals and lighter bites. All the food was freshly made on the premises. I had Venison stew with dumplings (9), made with Venison from next door Chart farm and served with fresh veg. Awesome. I was thankful the place was quiet as I surreptitiously looked either way before supping the last of the gravy from the bowl. My wife is being good ahead of xmas so just had a pint of very good Norwegian prawns with fresh granary bread & marie rose sauce (4). Excellent. All the food is made on site. Unfortunately the scotch eggs (2) were already all gone as we were both up for more!
For pud we tried the mince pies which were sitting temptingly on a plate behind the bar looking like little upside down puddings. Oh my! I honestly didn't know a mince pie could taste like that. Served warm with cream, enormous, made with savoury pastry and heavily infused with orange and essence of yum.

I hope the 'pad' will keep this up. Apparently the chef who has re-engineered the menu is on loan from The Snail restaurant up the road. This is a real pub with great beer and, today, some of best honest, fresh and delicious local pub food we have had in many years. A dying breed. We'll be bringing our friends here very soon.
It inspired me to register with BITE as I'm hoping with some wider support this place might be around so our son can one day enjoy it as much as we did today.
robsterid - 12 Dec 2010 21:29
I don't understand the last poster's comments about the kitchen. Admittedly as once regulars before Dougie and Jane departed, the kitchen was revamped and was quite capable, with the requisite number of staff, to provide quite quick service to the bar and large restaurant extension (which never suited the original building). Parties of people were always booking tables for lunch when we were there, before the decline.
We have never dared to venture back there now that those good old days are past. When I go to a pub for lunch I like a nice, friendly atmosphere and plenty 'going on' which clearly, unless I'm wrong, isn't the case now, unfortunately.
HHGTTG - 13 Apr 2010 15:20
We showed up here with a group of 6 walkers and as soon as we walked in we were informed pretty brusquely that they were booked up - fair enough, although the place looked pretty empty. We asked if there might be a chance of a sandwich, and were told quite waspishly that the kitchen was too small to make us anything. We asked if we could at least sit down, and one bartender said no, the other yes...after a bit of tension we were finally permitted to sit down in a quiet corner. They clearly didn't want us there. They were reluctant even to sell us any peanuts! We saw some rather congealed looking lumps of food being served to other "luckier" clients and were kind of grateful.

So - no complaints about the beer, but advise booking in advance. Or better, don't bother at all.

By the way, the kitchen didn't look THAT small.
BinkyWilliams - 25 Mar 2010 18:59
Took a party of 9 walkers here other Saturday, on a snowy day. Glad it was open. Dont know who orginal staff/owners were, nice older couple in charge. Still good range of beers, Larkins and v nice crimbo beer ( forgot name..) Wood fire going well,and food was good at a fare price, nice pea n ham soup. considering we didnt advise them we were turning up, service was swift. Its not a polished place ,and thats why we enjoyed it.
Ramblingman - 1 Feb 2010 19:44
Went walking round Stone Street and visited this pub afterwards, on Monday lunch time last week. Not been in for a while, but it would seem that the previous Landlord from a couple of years ago is back running the pub. Had lunch, which was very good, the service prompt and I was also pleased to see 6 real ales on offer (particularly after all that walking, as I had quite a thirst). The beer, esp the Larkins, was spot on. This pub is in such a beautiful location, especially on a sunny day overlooking the orchards. It's good to see that the pub is back in the hands of the old Landlord.
PapaC - 13 Aug 2009 16:21
I remember the good times there in the 80s!
ceb396 - 20 Feb 2009 20:02
Over the years Id heard good things about this pub, and as we were walking at Oldbury Hillfort this morning, we thought wed go there for lunch.A cold February Saturday with snow on the ground is possibly not the best time to visit a strange pub: indeed the pub was very quiet, with only two chaps in the bar when we arrived, and the new landlord was managing bar and kitchen on his own;the tail end of a nightmare week.
On a positive note, the beer-Larkins Traditional was excellent:the more I drink this, the more I like it. For a session bitter with a comparatively low ABV, this is full of character. Also available were Harveys, and something to do with Whippets, which Id not seen before. Unfortunately the legendary Larkins Porter was no longer available: it would have hit the spot on a day like today!
All food appears to be homemade: my Cumberland sausage and mash was good and warming, and the baguettes were good, but the singlehanded barman/chef would be hard pushed on a busy session.
However, the pub seems sad, and would benefit from some TLC, difficult I know in the current climate.The setting, in orchards is idyllic, and the little front patio would be a sun trap in the summer: today, the Harveys umbrellas dripping snow were a forlorn sight.This is a comparatively wealthy corner of Kent, with much in the way of historic attractions;given a favourable wind, this pub should be able to play its part in life of the district.
Our dogs and us were made most welcome. 6/10

wittenden - 7 Feb 2009 23:11
Oh dear, if the last poster is correct then I was correct in some ways in predicting that this pub was going to be in dire straits.
There must be many of us sorry to see this pub deteriorate in the way it has, over the last eighteen months or so.
Personally speaking, I don't think Doug or Jayne help matters as it was never quite the same after they took it over as their hearts did not seem to be in the place, what with their poor efforts in keeping a half decent fire going and as a fairly regular visitor, I could see that the writing was on the wall, as the numbers fell off one by one.
HHGTTG - 30 Dec 2008 19:40
I recently had a beer in the Padwell Arms for the first time in ages and I'm sorry to say that I was very disappointed.

I absolutely loved this pub but it has changed beyond all recognition.

All of the small decorations that had helped to give the place its character have gone - I was told that they'd been stolen - and the place looked dark, dingy and rather down at heel.

There was little choice of beers (two of the working pumps were Larkins) and my beloved Badger wasn't available.

I understand that Doug & Jayne have got the place on the market at the moment.

I hope that it gets sold to someone who has more of an idea than the last few owners and managers since Nick decided to jack it in.
SirPercy - 23 Dec 2008 10:43
On the up again with a new man in charge for the last couple of months I believe. I have used this pub on occasions for many years but I had not been there for quite a while and was unaware of recent problems. Now however I enjoyed a few nice couple of pints from a good range of beers from far and wild, Nice not to see the normal resticted choice of guest beers that can often be found in places. A useful and informed discussion on the bers avaiable then ensued. Didn't eat as only out for a quick beer but everything seems to be positive. Try it and see.
wogerthewacer - 20 Nov 2008 15:45
Visited this pub on Sunday lunchtime , sunny ... fathers day ...... very quiet .

There was a good range beers on offer and my pint was in good condition . The service was good , as there was no one else at the bar .

The menu that used to read like war and peace is now down to a size the kitchen can cope with and would suggest a degree of freshness .

Almost no customers inside , outside a few tables occupied , however the tables are actually rotting and have bits of wood literally falling away .

On the opposite side of the road neighbours have grown some Leylandii which now obscures what used to be great views over the orchards .

This pub used to be really busy and had a great atmoshpere , it is now so quiet you can hear a pin drop . If this is fathers day in the sun , midwinter could see this place close down . A real shame as it should be one of the best pubs in the area .
ThirstyMing - 16 Jun 2008 12:56
This will be my last entry concerning this pub - need I say more? Well, yes, I feel I must.
Despite my partner not wishing to come here any more, I persuaded her to at least go for lunch and see whether it was now better and had managed to attract more clientele since our last visit about 6 weeks ago.
Well there were certainly quite a few cars in the car park (closely parked) and this indicated to me, that some walkers had parked and would return later for some lunch.
We arrived at midday and an hour or so later, only a total of five people, including ourselves, were present.

There now seems no longer to be a printed menu, at least when we were there, only some items listed on a blackboard and two of these were wiped off whilst we were there! Our Avocado and Prawn starter was quite acceptable, eaten in the main bar with no one else there, just some fairly loud 'pop' music.

A lady popped in and asked if she could see a sample menu as you wished to bring some friends for a Sunday lunch. She was told that roasts were available and that what other food there was, was on the board. A question about vegetarian dishes did not seem to elicit much of an answer (if my hearing was up to scratch). At about 1-15pm, the walkers started arriving and seemed quite pleased with what was on offer on the blackboard although I'm not quite sure how the kitchen would cope with their many orders.

In all honesty, I don't think that we'll be returning, as there is no atmosphere and none of the old regulars appear to turn up now. It really is such a shame to see this pub end up like this, although others who appreciate the beer on offer, may be perfectly happy with the status quo.
HHGTTG - 28 May 2008 16:56
Still operating happily enough last week, with a decent number of punters enjoying the early evening sun on the terrace outside, and, in my case at least, enjoying a particularly good drop of Larkin's.
earlydrinker - 26 May 2008 17:57
Easydrinker, you have got me wrong concerning this pub. Believe me, I have a fondness for this pub and hope that the present encumbents make a success of it. However, I remember better days here when Bridey was in charge and it was thriving with plenty of luchtime atmosphere and bon viveur and very warm to boot.
Since her departure it has never really been the same and has lost many regulars some of which, no doubt may be the result of the no smoking ban.
I still go there hopeful that each visit will see some improvement and a bit more life because lunchtimes, in recent times, have been pretty dead with practically no one using the restaurant.
HHGTTG - 28 Mar 2008 11:31
HHGTTG seems to have cornered the market as far as comments on this pub are concerned - 8 out of the last 10 reviews. It's hard to see why he/she keeps coming back, since the bulk of the comments seem to amount to a prolongued moan about the declining state of the place under sundry changes of management. If I am to interpret the last, rather arcane, prediction correctly, HH expects the pub to stop trading within 6 months.
With this in mind, I visited the other day, for the first time in about 3 years, with some misgivings. It was admittedly quiet at lunchtime, but the beer was good, the service friendly, they were serving what looked and smelt like appetising meals, the fire was burning brightly, and there was no music, loud or otherwise. On this basis, I see no reason why it shouldn't still be thriving for the foreseeable future.
earlydrinker - 27 Mar 2008 16:19
I have a feeling, in my bones, that this place, unless I'm very much mistaken (and I hope I am) will still be open as a pub, in say, 6 months time. I hope I am proved wrong and the present encumbents can somehow bring this place back to life again but so much needs to be done.
I wouldn't know where to start but I know that more staff are needed as mother and son alone cannot manage on their own with both the bar and kitchen demands if and when demands materialise.
HHGTTG - 21 Mar 2008 14:32
Under new management/ownership? again?

Went there today for lunch and observed that all the kitchin equipment had been turned out into the restaurant area.
Went into the bar at midday and saw a new bloke behind the counter. I asked whether food was being served, in view of what we'd just seen and were told that the kitchen was being fully cleaned and that the pub was under new management. We left and went elsewhere hoping to return when things have settled.

Such a shame to see, what was such a nice pub has deteriorated but here's hoping that things will get better in the not so distant future
HHGTTG - 14 Mar 2008 16:14
Oh dear oh dear. This pub, now just hasn't got the sort of atmosphere that I'd expect from a country pub in this area. The new manager is trying, I suppose and the food is good and cheaper but the atmosphere today was pretty dire, in my opinion.
The manager/landlord keeps caged birds in the bar area (in adjacent room) and they created a racket most of the time. That allied with the over loud music coming through the loudspeakers doesn't make for a relaxing lunchtime.
Last week, one of the regulars even asked for the 'music' to be attenuated to a reasonable level. Why, or why can't landlords realise that their musical taste (or rather lack of it) isn't to everyone elses taste?
HHGTTG - 13 Feb 2008 15:54
I think that the new manager is now getting improvements under way but it remains to be seen whether it can retrieve those lost souls who have gone elsewhere.
Today, the menu and food was much improved and cheaper than it used to be and the price of the coffee has been reduced by 50p a cup. We still need a better fire/s here as there is no central heating and sometimes the place feels very chilly.
The toilets need some attention especially the drying facilities.
HHGTTG - 16 Jan 2008 17:34
Oh dear! I don't know where this place is going. Today, it lacked a fire and atmosphere and the chef and menu had been changed but not necessarily for the good, perhaps. Prices of the food had come down but maybe at the expense of quality.
Will have to see how it goes during the next month or so and if it stays as it is, then I'll give it a miss in future.
HHGTTG - 28 Dec 2007 15:51
Went there today and learned that Dougie and Jayne are taking over another pub in Yorkshire but are apparently keeping the Padwell with a manager in charge!
Very busy today, also which is nice to see although, unusually the kitchen were having some difficulties coping with the orders for food. Otherwise nice but I wish someone would get that log fire roaring away as it used to.
HHGTTG - 7 Dec 2007 16:43
My goodness, in the 2 years that I have been coming here, the price of the grub hasn't half gone up - need to take out a mortgage to eat here now. Shame, really
anonymous - 12 Jul 2007 16:36
Goodness me! Doug has thrown away the all purpose coffee maker and is now serving Cona-type filter coffee at 2 per cup and with no cream (assuming you want a white coffee). Don't think I'll be having coffee there, again.
HHGTTG - 25 Mar 2007 11:37
One of my favourites for lunch.
Mike104 - 14 Mar 2007 14:21
I like this pub very much and the food is good although has become somewhat expensive since the present encumbents took over i.e. Jayne and Doug.

Also on a winter's day their efforts at maintaining a decent warming fire aren't a patch on their predecessors and this is exacerbated by the fact that there does not appear to be any form of central heating throghout the establishment - however, a favourite of mine.
HHGTTG - 5 Feb 2007 22:18
A good pub in the idylic, unspoilt setting of Stone Street near Seal. You could easily imagine yourself in Dorset or Devon!

Real ales include old favourites like Badger and Old Hookey with a few others that change regularly.

A full menu is available and this year, the owners, Doug and Jane have been experimenting with live music some evenings.

One of my favourites!
SirPercy - 31 Aug 2006 00:02
My experience was similar to MrBabble's. I was doing a walk from Borough Green to Sevenoaks via Plaxtol on a Sunday. Three or four real ales (I had Badger), seating outside, the pub was getting enough custom to stay open all afternoon.

clissold345 - 11 Jun 2006 23:29
A great pub to sit ouside on a warm evening -it's not bad inside, either. Usually a good selection of beers, inluding some unusual ones, in decent nick. Can get pretty crowded at times.
earlydrinker - 25 Apr 2006 19:35
Lovely pub in Kent countryside overlooking apple and pear orchards. Halfway between Godden Green and Ivy Hatch, east of Sevenoaks. Good stop for walks in the area.

I went on a Sunday afternoon and, although a sign says it shuts at 3pm, the landlord stayed open just for us.

Beer served included Badger, Fursty Ferret and London Pride.
MrBabble - 22 Mar 2006 13:32

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