When I find a location that I love for food and drink, it takes willpower to not frequent it as often as possible! This is the problem that I encounter with the Royal Hotel in Southend, if I could I would be enjoying lunch with a view of the sea and beyond every single day… and it’s easy to see why.
I previously visited the Royal Hotel for afternoon tea and was blown away by how luxe the surrounding of the former ballroom were, alongside the delicious range of food served on a cake stand for two to enjoy. This time I sampled courses from their lunch menu and fell a little bit more in love with the venue.
One thing I cannot rate highly enough at the Royal Hotel is the level of customer service and the quality of their staff. They cannot do enough for you and are always on hand to get you a new drink or answer any questions you may have. The gentleman that served us knew the menu inside out and offered his own personal recommendations for each course, all of which were absolutely delicious and very well enjoyed.
After being seated and served our drinks we surveyed the menu. This was difficult, but not in a bad way! With so many interesting choices available, and so many flavours throughout the options, I quite honestly wanted to try it all. We settled with some olives, feta and beetroot crisps to start which were a wonderful appetiser.
Next we moved on to our first course where I sampled the duck egg with sesame seed toasts – each component of this dish was fantastic and the presentation rivals that of some top London places I have been lucky enough to frequent. You wouldn’t necessarily expect this quality of food in Southend-on-Sea, but the Royal Hotel are banishing that stereotype and proving that it can be done… even by the seaside! We also sampled their scallops which were fresh, tasty and tender.
For our main course I selected the sautéed monkfish cheeks with a pea and mint gnocchi. Monkfish cheeks are not something I have ever tried before but I am quite a fish fan and they were recommended, so I thought I would give them a try. I am glad I did too – the serving was incredibly generous and the flavours fantastic. I really liked the crispy leek addition too.
Equally the pork belly was meaty, barely fatty and as tender as I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. Another 5* dish from this luxurious restaurant.
After these two courses we were rather satisfied, but naturally we managed to find room for a dessert or two. A twist on eton mess featured black forest fruits and chocolate meringue, alongside a homemade bakewell tart were selected and were once again a taste sensation. I love that the head chef takes a traditional dish and updates it, this is a really unique touch and certainly greatly improves the range of dishes on the menu.
After lunch we retired to the (fantastically refurbished and decorated) lounge/bar area for a few cocktails. The Royal Hotel cocktail list is like a small novel, in a perfectly wonderful way because it means there is always something new you can try and the range of glasses, cups and serving implements certainly adds a novelty to proceedings.
I really cannot recommend this venue enough for lunch, dinner, a special occasion or simply a drink or two after a long day of shopping. Do not miss out on such a delicious, creative and individual menu – if you have the opportunity reserve a table as soon as possible!1