A few weeks ago, Ben and I enjoyed one of the best ‘date days’ we’ve had for a while when we were invited along to sample the delights of the newly refurbished Royal Hotel Southend-on-Sea.
The Royal Hotel is a building I’m fairly familiar with having gone to college for 3-years in Southend and often walked past it’s door as myself and my friends ventured down to the seafront for a wander and a packet of chips. In fact, one for the fact fans here, Ben actually went to the same college as me and had his lectures in the same department as me at the same time, but we just never spoke to one another! Having been local he also knows the hotel well, attending a drum’n’bass night there when the building was in one of its previous states as a party venue.
Built in 1791 the hotel has a huge amount of history, being a regular haunt of royals and aristocracy, and even hosting a grand dinner party, ball and meal held in honour of Admiral Nelson by his mistress Lady Hamilton. I can’t lie, I did have a little moment whilst eating dinner when I looked around the incredible ballroom with its many original features and couldn’t quite believe I was in the same room as Nelson had a shindig!
Having been seated at our table, we spent quite a while trying to decide what to have from the menu. There was such a range of choice it took me a fair while to whittle it down, then we sat back and enjoyed the view whilst we sipped on our glasses of cold Sauvignon Blanc.
But let’s be honest, the main show of the day was the food, and my word was it good!
Every single course we had was incredible. I had the salmon starter with prosecco jelly caviar (treat yo’self) and it was so light and refreshing, I could quite happily eat it every single week, and the meat on our main courses (beef and pork) was so tender it fell apart as soon as you touched it with a fork. As for the dessert, well, the fact I ate my lemon posset before taking a photo gives you a hint as to how good it was!
Ben’s meal came with a sweet potato mash that he said was unlike any other he has ever tasted and the crispy bacon was a great addition as he’s not a huge fan of crackling, but it gave him a similar texture.
There was literally not a thing I could fault about this meal. Flavours were staggeringly good, presentation was beautiful, and the portion sizes were spot on – after all three courses I felt full, but not to the point of needing to take a lay down like is often the case when I gorge myself!
After dinner, we ventured downstairs into the cocktail bar to sample some of the delights they had to offer.
Would you look at that selection! Ben and I spent a fair old while looking around at the various bottles, picking out those we recognised and finding a few new ones that looked quite interesting. I can’t remember the last time I saw such a well-stocked and vast-ranging bar; I honestly think that no matter what you asked for, they’d be able to make it for you!
Whenever I go to a cocktail bar, I always rate them on how well they can make my favourite drink – an Old Fashioned. It’s quite a simple cocktail – sugar, bitters, whisky and orange rind – but to blend it perfectly is quite a skill. I’ve had some Old Fashioneds in my time that I’ve not even been able to drink. So, I asked the barman to mix it up a storm and…
Oh. My. Word.
He handed me my glass, I took a sip and it was one of the best I have ever had. In fact, I had three more after the first one, they were that good!
Both Ben and I had a fantastic time and, whilst we were still there, we were texting our friends saying we have to arrange to go there together some time. The service was spot on, the food was incredible and the cocktails were beyond tasty with a huge selection to choose from too!
Despite the fact this was a review given to us by the hotel, we actually paid for our drinks at the bar as we were so impressed with them that we didn’t feel we could accept them for free!
I cannot recommend the Royal Hotel Southend enough and we can’t wait to go back!
* In Association With Brand *