November is already running away with us and I’m NGL it’s making me nervous at how unprepared I am for Christmas this year! There’s one pay day left and no presents or tree purchased – hoping for a miracle!
Anyway aside from all the lovely cosy homely stuff that comes with Christmas, it’s also party season. A time to come together with friends, family, colleagues to eat drink and be merry. And guys… I have THE perfect place for you to go.
A couple of months ago now I was invited to attend a blogger event at the Royal Hotel in Southend. Despite its name this is no longer a hotel but a lovely bar and restaurant situated right by the sea front.. We arrived to the beautiful historic building and were ushered into an area in the bistro. Decorated to give you that home away from home vibe which I loved.
First up, prosecco reception (what’s a blogger event without it eh?!). They also introduced us to their non alcoholic prosecco called “The Bees Knees” which is just as delicious and way better than it’s competitor Schloer! It’s perfect for those who can’t/don’t drink at Christmas to feel a bit fancy too.
We were then taken upstairs to the ballroom, which still has a lot of the buildings original features including the wooden dance floor. One of the ladies attending told us that her grandparents used to dance there and it was so lovely to know that it had been on that exact floor. The room oozes history and it’s a great place to get together with family. I won’t give you all the historical secrets but let’s just say a certain sailor now commemorated in Trafalgar Square got up to no good here. (Yes it was Nelson and yes he was having a sordid affair).
We took our places around the long table, had our glasses filled with more prosecco and patiently awaited our food. We were there to try the afternoon tea and having recently gone vegan I was sceptical at what my options would be (I needn’t have been!) For starters I was given some warm soft pitta with THE MOST DELICIOUS HUMMUS I have EVER tried. I promise you this is no exaggeration… so garlicky and amazing, I’m still dreaming about it now.
Then came the afternoon tea itself. There were two versions on offer, the ladies and the gentleman’s. Where the ladies afternoon tea was more of the traditional sandwiches, scones and cakes, the gentlemens was bulked out with some meatier options; burgers and bacon galore as well as a cider jelly, tarts and cheese for dessert. This was created by the venue due to feedback from their customers – got to love a business that listens to the people.
My vegan option consisted of beetroot and humus sandwiches (I added more hummus because I seriously could not get enough), scones with vegan butter and a selection of cakes/biscuits. So yummy! I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by what was available for me.
I have to say though, the thing that stood out the most for me during our session was the customer service. Jonathan was our waiter and what a character he was. He really made the afternoon for us with his historical tales of cheeky goings on and ghoulish activity (he even let us go right to the top of the building to see if we could spot a spirit of our own.) Jonathan made everyone feel relaxed, was knowledgeable about the amended menu options and most importantly, kept our glasses filled!
Now if our visit had ended there we would have all gone home happy but alas, the best was yet to come. The secret basement bar was the cherry on the cake, perfect for those cold winter days when you want to escape the frost bitten fingers and emerge yourself into a dimly lit world of absinthe and dreams! We were served an array of different cocktails in the beautifully decorated basement and of course got to sample their delicacy… the absinthe!
I came out of there and immediately text my friends telling them that we need to go!
So if i’ve peaked your interest definitely go and check it out. Take the family for a Christmas meal, have an afternoon tea with the girls or a sexy date night in the basement – you won’t regret it!
Peace and love xoxo
N.B. I wrote this a couple of days ago and have now panic bought one Christmas present and a tree!