** I’d like to disclose that I was plied with copious amounts of delicious food and alcohol in return for this honest review. This neither affects the integrity of the post or the honest opinions held within it**
I had the pleasure of attending The Royal Hotel and the attached Dr Legba’s Emporium for the second time as a blogger. At the end of January, my mum and I were invited to try out The Royal Hotel’s brand new breakfast menu. The surroundings were as sumptuous as ever without feeling pretentious. The Royal Hotel isn’t actually a hotel any longer. For more information about the history of the building and how brothers Matt and Dave made it what it is now, read my previous rave review here.
Mum and I were hoping and praying telepathically to the Royal Hotels chefs that Eggs Benedict would be on the brand new breakfast menu for our visit. It’s an absolute fav of mine and when I am reviewing somewhere new, I like to see their take on my personal favourite. I also have a notion that when I eat out I try to order things that I am rubbish at making myself at home. So eggs benedict it was and a life saving cuppa, brewed from the pot with plenty of sugar cubes to liven me up. (I have a three year old don’t you know!)
The decor there is inviting and really pleasant on the eye. I love the pictures we sat in front of for breakfast. I mean this in a totally complimentary way when I say The Royal Hotel is an extraordinarily ordinary everyday, special occasion kind of venue. You can pop by for an impromptu breakfast or a drink at the bar and feel like its a completely acceptable everyday place to frequent. On the flip side you can also book an amazing lunch, dinner or afternoon tea and feel like the most special guest ever. The Royal Hotel is my everyday and save for best. I can’t recommend this place enough.
Brekkie done, Matt treated us to a tour of the ballroom. He allowed us to venture to the top of the staircase which is supposedly haunted. I had already had a tour on my previous visit where I found out a lot about the history of the famous hotel, Mum on the other hand hadn’t so I was excited for her to come and check the place out. read more here.
The Royal Hotel has a not so secret and intimate basement bar which goes by the name of Dr Legba’s Emporium . A place of Cocktails and Curiosities, led by the cocktail master of the brothers, Dave. Dr Legba’s feels like another world whereby you can disappear for hours, completely oblivious to the real world outside. A complete heaven for a cloud dweller like me. When you re-emerge from your Dr Legba slumber onto Southend high street, you will likely be in an Absinthe induced daze and feel like you’ve been dancing with the absinthe fairy herself. Her portrait is shortly to be adorned to the door leading you to the loo’s. Here’s a sneak peak.
The tipple for our delectable afternoon was a rather stunning and unusual champagne by the name of Veuve Clicquot Rich, also available in Rosé. Now I wouldn’t normally consider myself a champagne kinda gal, but Veuve Clicquot Rich totally changed my mind. At approximately £59 a bottle, it can certainly be reserved for a more special occasion on a night out. But let me tell you why you would consider this.
The Veuve Rich has been developed specifically with mixologists in mind and is intended to be used in cocktails. It’s also much, much sweeter, almost ten times that of standard champagnes. The first unusual trait to the Rich is that it is served with ice. Then by adding one or several flavours, you can create your own taste so that every individuals experience of the Rich is different. During our visit to Dr Legba’s, we were invited to taste the Rich with cucumber, orange or black pepper. I declined the black pepper, but Mum enjoyed it. The orange was divine and the cucumber almost refreshing.
A visit to Dr Legba’s isn’t complete without trying the absinthe. With a choice of varying strengths, it’s fascinating to watch it be prepared using the equipment Dave made himself. Our treat for this visit was a take on the famous Hemingway Champagne, Death in the Afternoon. Dave artistically mixes the absinthe with water and the Veuve Clicquot to produce an amazing cocktail. At approximately 68% alcohol and topped with a star anise you may start to feel like Hemingway himself. I get a little excited to see what Dave is going to do next with the absinthe as it really is an amazing flavour.
If you fancy trying the breakfast at The Royal Hotel or an evening getting lost Dr Legba’s I can totally recommend you give them a visit. Dr Legba’s has a capacity of 40, so get there early on a Friday or Saturday night to ensure you don’t miss out. They are also available for private hire Wednesday to Sunday during the day or night. I’m totally considering it for my next special event or even baby shower!
With thanks to Penny from A Penny For Them for organising.
Until next time…