One Pound Lane
With a unique offering combining the largest surviving city gate in the country, a museum and tower viewpoint, a plethora of original restored features, a well conceived and deliciously executed tapas menu, some rather tasty and cleverly named cocktails and offering more history than you can wave a truncheon at, the insideKENT team were eager to find out just what was on offer at One Pound Lane. But first we had to Escape in the Towers – wish us luck! by Samantha Ready
In a city immersed in an abundance of history and culture it seems only right that one of its latest drinking and dining establishments has arisen within the walls of the former city jail and police station, complete with its own Grade 1 listed Westgate Towers.
A sympathetic yet thoroughly contemporary two-year refurbishment project has resulted in a sleek, welcoming gastropub – albeit one with private dining in former cells and the station parade room no less, and of course that offers its own immersive escape room experience from within the original jail cells of the tower.
And it was here, with the promise of the aforementioned tapas and cocktails, that half of the iK team found themselves full of nervous excitement as the door clinked shut, the timer commenced and the words “you have one hour” echoed from the darkness!
Now, I can’t tell you too much as we wouldn’t want to spoil the experience for the next team of budding escapees; but to elaborate, for those of you unfamiliar with the escape room ethos, it’s pretty simple: you and your team, with its designated captain, are “locked” into your room or in some cases a series of rooms where you must solve puzzles and clues, crack codes and collect passwords and keys to allow you to escape, all within a designated time limit. Escape in the Towers has masterly designed their own escape story based on the history of the jail and its original cell features.
And it is simply brilliant!
Buoyed with confidence and the promise of a celebratory (on nearly not) cocktail or two, the team embarked on their mission and promptly made the most typical of escape room mistakes: a) it’s not quite that simple and b) we relied on assumption, and almost failed dismally!
Fortunately with some great teamwork, constant communication (read as shouting at each other in increasingly desperate voices) and some rather fast thinking, we proudly made it out with minutes to spare!
Buzzing from our success and by the lure of One Pound Lane’s renowned lunchtime tapas menu, the team headed straight for a tour of the former jail and police station. Downstairs there are a series of cosy tables and bar stools as well as private dining spaces in former cells, whilst upstairs is the parade room, a unique dining space featuring photos of former constables and officers, with custom made furniture and original features. We finally took a table on the Riverside Terrace, to soak up the afternoon sunshine as the kayaks passed by the river below, and to toast our freedom with a Pornstar Martini, a Convict Colada, a Prison Rose and a Doing Thyme – clever!
And then came the tapas! Still full of team spirit, and having built up an appetite from our hour of mental exercise, we hungrily divvied up crispy portions of hand-cut chips with cheese and spice; delicately charred baby gem with parmesan and anchovy dressing; pressed confit chicken with burnt apple purée; divine ground chilli beef sliders with just the right balance of heat and flavour; beer battered cod cheeks and a combination of their infamous Bao Buns; crispy lamb shoulder with lemon and dill; confit chicken leg with soy, coriander and lime; and halloumi and sage pesto buns. Each and every dish was delightfully admired and promptly devoured with the immediate request for more!
We have our fingers crossed that the Escape in the Towers team are able to come up with another escape room story soon to allow us to return, but until then you’ll find us eating the tapas…
One Pound Lane & Escape in The Towers
1 Pound Lane