When you are picking a dinner venue, inevitably, the restaurant in a nearby hotel will pass you by. This is totally understandable, as a lot of the time they are perceived as being just for guests, or sub standard, or even really expensive.
It’s a shame this doesn’t get put into practice more. No, I don’t mean get all dressed up and go for a night out down the Brentwood Travel Lodge, I’m talking about real premium hotel restaurants like the Thyme restaurant in the Waltham Abbey Marriott.
When we pulled up to the building, it exuded a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. I’ve been to many a spa hotel where you pull up to an imposing building that makes you think you are DEFINATELY not posh enough to ‘belong’ and you need to put on a £300 ball gown just to check in. The actual building of the Marriott looks small, but inside it is all high ceilings.
The restaurant is very modern and warm. The soft lighting creates a relaxed atmosphere, and although the kitchen is open it is quite far away from the nearest table. I really like open kitchens. My two favourites of my most recent adventures are the one at Jamies Trattoria, Chelmsford which has all of the deli produce hanging up and La Sala, Puerto Banus which is sort of not quite open but you can still see all the cooking. One thing I do NOT favour though, is when the table is practically IN said open kitchen. YES, I want to see the chef’s are being hygienic, NO, I do not want to be so close that I am squirted with onion juice and look like I’m sobbing over my chicken milanese.
So this created a bit of space, a sort of barrier where you can still see all that’s going on. the tables were set out very nicely, and again had a warm, homely atmosphere.
When people say ‘homely’ about restaurants it always baffles me, because I think ‘why not eat at home if you want it to be homely? I mean, why dress up, sit in your joggers and spill pasta sauce down your t shirt in peace’, but what I mean is, you feel welcome. We were showed to our seat and our food and drink order were taken very quickly.
Another brownie point for them. I do NOT like waiting for food.
Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know I jump at the chance for a wine, but unfortunately due to being on some medication I am unsure when I will be able to drink again. But that’s a good thing for you, because you get something different with this review. For one I was sober enough to remember the food, and two, I tried a non-alcoholic mojito.
If you are the designated driver for the night, get one of these. It was refreshing and every bit as enjoyable as an alcoholic drink, if not more as I was minus the sore head the next morning!
When it comes to food, as much as I try to be adventurous I cant help the fact that like my Mum, I love chicken. We both ordered different chicken dishes. She had chicken and vegetables from the specials board, which she loved, and she even tried beetroot for the first time and adored it. All of the vegetables were roasted and flavoured just enough but not too much.
I went for a little bit of a naughtier option and had chicken wrapped in bacon with a potato cake. The sauce was one of those delightful little numbers that is slightly like gravy but posher and way more tasty than your average Bisto. The chicken was tender and juicy, and the potato cake, my the potato cake. I can usually figure out pretty easily what is put in food and make it at home myself, but I think it would take me a good while to figure out what makes this so delicious. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, it also had the benefit of not being too greasy like so many fried potato dishes are.
When it comes to desert, I’m not really a sweet tooth, but I HAD to try one as they all looked so lovely.
My Mum had the ice cream, but these were no ordinary boring flavours and I had a try of her pistachio which was AMAZING. It tastes so much better as ice cream, and no annoying shells.
I thought I’d go all out and go for the chocolate fudge cake with mascarpone. It was every big as sweet and sickly as you would expect, and the mascarpone was the perfect accompaniment, rather than a heavy, filling cream.
I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for more hotel restaurants in Essex now, as this was really nice and the menu is pretty inexpensive for a nice dinner out. Next time I come here though, I think I’ll have to stay as the hotel looked divine and I really wanted to sleep after all that food!