On October 14th, I was invited to a Bloggers afternoon tea at the Royal Hotel in Southend (very handy since I live 10 minutes away!). I'm not sure you're meant to admit this but it was my very first blogger's event - and what a way to start!
In my twenties (read: drinking days) I avoided the Royal Hotel, it was an unsavoury drinking hole that had a lousy reputation. I always thought it was such a shame as it's an iconic 200+-year-old Southend landmark.
The Beautiful Royal Hotel *Although no
longer a hotel*
Fast-forward to 2015, when brothers Matthew and David along with their father Terry renovated and saved the building from wreck and ruin, into a glorious restaurant and bar - something Southenders could be proud of.
Upon arrival, we were presented with a glass of non-alcoholic Prosecco called the Bee's Knees which was refreshing and tasty, perfect for baby showers and younger customers who want to feel grown up.
Director/Owner Matthew came to greet us and escorted me to the first-floor ballroom. Unfortunately, the venue isn't wheelchair accessible as it's a Grand II listed building, but all the staff were extremely helpful and supportive in getting myself and my chair around so that I didn't miss out.
The ballroom was exquisite, with the original 1791 floor, ornate coving and chandeliers. Standing in such a grand hall you can imagine how it was THE place to party and dine. Former guests of the Royal Hotel include Princess Caroline, wife of George IV and Lady Hamilton held a final ball for her lover Admiral Horatio Nelson in 1805, just a few months before the Battle of Trafalgar and now Lynsey Garrick lol!
|The Royal Ballroom|
Afternoon Tea was an absolute treat, we were lucky to sample the Royal Hotel Afternoon tea with delicate sandwiches, a selection of beautiful cakes, macaroons and scones with Tiptree jam. Plus we tried the Gentleman's Royal tea which featured chunky sandwiches, burgers, sausages, cheeses, olives and crackers.
The Royal Afternoon Tea and The Gentleman's Tea
Although both were delicious, I personally preferred the Gentleman's selection which you can also add a Dalimore Whisky tray, sampling various aged products. With both booking's you can have tea, coffee or for a special event, prosecco.
After tea, The Royal Hotel staff hand more treats in store for us. We were escorted by Matthew, whose background is in event organising for venues such as the Tower of London and the Natural History Museum, to meet his brother David a trained flare barman who was head Bar Trainer at the London Cocktail Club.
Dr Legba's Emporium and Menu
Tucked away in the venue basement, is the wonderful Dr Legba's Emporium, an Emerald Green tavern, carefully lit, with a reclaimed wooden bar, covered in 2p's (over £170 worth!), quirky lamps and artwork, in addition to intimate tables and seating nooks perfect for a date night or a small celebratory event.
David expertly made us a selection of Royal Hotel cocktails. The menus are regularly rotated and the team are continually testing and trialling new and exclusive recipes.
Every drink was completely out of this world, I could easily spend a whole day trying them all. Each cocktail was distinctive playing on the origin recipes. For example, in David's Espresso Martini he adds salted caramel syrup adding a warming twist to this classic.
I fell in love with the eccentric Absinth fountain, with its four funnels drip pouring the potent liquor into sugar cubes, for a heady aniseed cocktail. The piece de resistance of the afternoon was the "Pork and Apple" a blend of Sour apple liqueur, Absolut vodka, pressed apple juice, fresh lime all stirred with a slice of absinthe caramelised bacon, which is set alight - this cocktail was so scrumptious and the sweet, salty, smoky bacon was a distinctive little treat!
Absithe Fountain and The Pork and Apple cocktail
Matthew and David were wonderful hosts, the hotel staff were friendly and sweet, all the food and drinks were knowledgeably handpicked for an elite experience but without customers feeling out of place. The Royal Hotel is a special venue and I highly recommend it for lunches, nights out, afternoon teas or even a Sunday roast, it's a place where every meal feels like a luxurious treat.
View from The Royal Hotel