The Royal Hotel

Last weekend, I headed off to Southend to take Mumbly out for some shopping, and Sunday lunch* at the Royal Hotel.  We had a mooch along the shops and the seafront before making our way to the top of the High Street.

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Having been closed for over a year whilst it was completely refurbed, the Royal has been completely reincarnated, with the Ballroom serving as the main dining room, and new cocktail lounge downstairs. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea, and has a special menu on a Sunday, with vegetarian and fish options that change each week. We went upstairs for lunch, where – at 3pm – the Ballroom was pretty full. It’s a really beautiful room, with great big windows and chandeliers.

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For starters, I went for the tomato, spinach and hazelnut arancini, which was delicious, and mum had devilled whitebait which, I am told, tasted “really fresh.” The little fishes were HUGE, despite the fact I’d somehow convinced myself that whitebait and scampi were the same thing (they are definitely not). I am pleading vegetarian ignorance.

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Mum opted for roast lamb for her main, which came with all the trimmings (and romanesco! And cauliflower cheese!) which I happily helped her eat. We eyed up everyone else’s dinner, and are pretty certain that the extras change, depending on what meat you have for your roast. I had a creamed leek and roasted Jerusalem artichoke puff pastry tart with chestnut and dolce latte, and ohmygod. Honestly, it might be the best vegetarian meal I’ve ever had in a restaurant. So, so good. I couldn’t even tell you which bit of it I liked best, it was so good.

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Somehow, there’s always room for dessert. A raspberry and tarragon creme brulee, and a chocolate brownie with mint chocolate ice cream finished us off, and we definitely had to sit for a good twenty minutes post-dinner before we could contemplate rolling ourselves down the stairs.

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We headed into the bar, where we had an amazing view of the seafront at sunset, and finished off our visit with a passion mock-jito and a Mrs Kensington, which was gin, elderflower, and apple juice. Yum.

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Definitely pay The Royal a visit if you’re in Southend; the food is incredible, the staff are fantastic, and we had a really really great few hours. If you eat in the Ballroom, try to get a table at the windows on the right hand side, because the view is stunning. The Sunday menu costs just £22 for three courses, which is a steal.

I’m already planning at least two trips back – there’s a bar menu as well as the restaurant menu, and there are more cocktails calling my name…

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Frankie & Benny’s at Fort Kinnaird

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My unabashed love of pasta is no secret, so when the ladies at Hummingbird Communications asked me to review the newly opened Frankie & Benny’s at Fort Kinnaird, I jumped at the chance for carbs and cocktails.

My pal Elspeth and I hopped on Edinburgh’s busiest bus from the bridges, and headed off to the Fort. Frankie & Benny’s was super easy to find, and we headed over, trying not to get blown over in the car park. Schedules meant that we missed out on it being Breakfast Week, but we did get there in time for the Pronto Menu, which is, quite frankly, an excellent idea. We decided to share a starter and dessert, and ordered some drinks while we debated what to have.

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We decided on bruschetta potato skins for our starter, and they we deeeeeeeeelicious.

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We pretty much inhaled our starter, realising that we were much more hungry than we thought we were!

For our mains, Elspeth had the New Yorker Calzone, with pepperoni, ham, bacon, mushrooms, and mozzarella, and I had the Penne Arrabbiata (it comes with chips or salad, but is salad ever really an option?!)

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After our mains, we were pretty stuffed, but there’s always room for dessert! We shared the brownies and ice cream, which we decided on approximately seven seconds after spotting it on the menu. Yum.

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After dinner, we headed back to town, where we ended up on opposite pub quiz teams, and my advancing age meant I was the only person out of about 20 that knew what year The Princess Bride was released. Ha.

Frankie & Benny’s at Fort Kinnaird is open seven days a week, from 9am until 11pm (until 10.30pm on Sundays).
Thankyou to F&B’s, and Hummingbird, for having us over for tea!

Tempus Winter Menu

A few weeks ago, I was invited to try out the new Winter Menu at Tempus on George Street. Kirsty, Mr IndigoButtons, and I wandered into town to meet up with the other girls (Laura, Gillian, Lynne, and Lynsey), and we squished into a booth.

Some of the others chose starters, but I’d already been eyeing up the sweets, and decided to save myself. I ordered a glass of the Chenin Blanc, and went with my gut instinct on the mains; beer battered cod, with hand cut chips. Turns out, my gut instinct was right, and it was delicious. Jenga chips, and the fish was just the right amount of flaky. Yum.

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I shared a couple of sides with the others too, Lynsey and I got a little bit overexcited about crunchy broccoli, but it was really good! After our mains had been swept away, it was time for dessert. I’d spotted the apple tarte tatin with clotted cream ice cream already, so that was a pretty easy decision.

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All of the food, and the wine, was lovely, and I’d definitely go back to Tempus if I was going for a nice dinner out somewhere, because it is a bit swish. It was a really nice evening out with the blogger girls, and the restaurant itself is beautiful. Our table in the centre of the restaurant was pretty good for people-watching, but there are tucked away tables too. Thank you for having us, Tempus, it was lovely!

Disclaimer: I was invited for dinner at Tempus, but all writing, opinions, and photos are my own!