Review: The Royal Harbour Hotel, Ramsgate


Out Of Office Magazine reviews The Royal Harbour Hotel, a quaint and quirky 28-bedroom townhouse in the seaside town of Ramsgate in Kent

On arrival at the Royal Harbour Hotel, which occupies three Georgian terraced buildings, we were greeted by the friendly receptionist who showed us to our room. Up the narrow winding stairs, artwork both antique and contemporary adorned the walls. A glowing review by The Telegraph on the hotel’s restaurant, The Empire Room, also sat proudly outside our upper deck double room.

The room

Our bedroom was clean and cosy with a private en-suite bathroom, TV, plenty of eclectic books, an espresso machine and a wonderful view of the harbour.

Blue decor and nautical paintings certainly made us feel like we were  by the seaside, even while lying in the bed with comfy goose feather toppers and pillows.

The restaurant

After relaxing in the room, we made our way down to The Empire Room for dinner. The restaurant’s theme is very much ‘best of British’ with plenty of military and royal memorabilia to admire, plus a regularly changing menu with locally sourced food.

Our highlights were the black pudding scotch egg for starter; we selected the curried halibut and trio of lamb for our mains, which were also delicious.

We washed it all down with a local Kent Chapel down Bacchus – a clean, dry and crisp English wine with tropical notes.

The town

Ramsgate is your typical English seaside town located in the district of Thanet in East Kent. It was one of the great English seaside towns of the 19th century, evident from it’s architecture, such as the old theatre that is now a Weatherspoon pub.

It’s busy little marina, packed with yachts of all shapes and sizes. The hotel is a short walk from the main esplanade lined with pubs, cafes, souvenir shops and the odd fish and chip shop!

In the evening, we took a stroll down the seafront to see its lights in the dry summer evening. Then, in the morning we took a 20-minute boat around the harbour.

There are plenty of leaflets in the hotel about all the activities on offer nearby, as well as further afield. You can also get plenty of ideas from the Visit Thanet website.

Why visit The Royal Harbour Hotel? On top of its cosy rooms and  delightful restaurant, you’ll find a patio garden with fairy lights a plenty, a snug room with a real fire for reading or relaxing, and a well-stocked honesty bar.

Just 90 minutes on the train from central London, you can exit the big smoke in favour of the open sea. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, The Royal Harbour has plenty to offer.

Cost:  £

Nelson Crescent, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 9JF

01843 591514



Review: Balans Soho Society, Seven Dials, London


Out Of Office Magazine visits the newly opened Balans Soho Society café at Seven Dials

This recently opened venue on Monmouth Street is the sixth location in the Balans family and modelled on the Soho café style. It’s simple, sleek, bistro style is clean and cosy – much like our seat specially reserved for us in the corner of the restaurant.

Also like our visit to the Kensington restaurant, the staff were friendly, attentive and well-informed about the variety of food and drink on offer. We also learnt that, like the Kensington restaurant, a staff member had left for an adventure and landed back at Balans a few years later – it seems they are a good employer with employees only enthusiastic to return.

We started with the seared scallops – perfectly cooked but a small portion that left you wanting a little more – plus the lamb pastilla, which was filling and tender. For our mains, we opted for the 10 oz sirloin steak cooked medium rare and the Cornish crab linguine that certainly didn’t skimp on the chilli!

Too full for dessert we stayed for another glass of malbec and merlot, happy in our surroundings. While we relaxed, a waiter dropped a full tray of glasses but the staff took it in their stride with a smile. (Very unlucky considering they had just opened!)

What? A great addition to the Balans Soho Society collection. Close to Covent Garden, Shaftesbury Avenue and Leicester Square.

Why choose Balans? Nice for for a planned brunch, lunch or dinner out, or a spur of the moment occasion. The menu is varied with international influences and changes regularly.

Cost: ££

32-34 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials, London, WC2H 9HA

020 7836 2982

Review: Sutton & Sons, Stoke Newington, London

Out Of Office Magazine reviews Sutton & Sons fish and chip restaurant in Stoke Newington, London

Sometimes it’s the simplest, freshest food that can’t be beaten. Sutton & Sons offer up high quality fish and chips made the old fashioned way – hand cut chips and a wide selection of fresh fish fried in beer batter or grilled.

This is a casual restaurant but it’s certainly not short of charm, and the staff are very helpful and friendly. Plus the lobster subs, crab and oysters take up a notch if that’s what you’re looking for.

We opted for the tempura prawns to start, with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. This was followed by the cod goujons (which are absolutely huge!) and a lobster sub – all nicely washed down with a cool bottle of prosecco.

We were too full for dessert (the portions are very large) but the sorbets and battered Mars Bar looked delicious.

Where? We visited the Stoke Newington branch but there are also restaurants in Essex Road, Islington and Hackney Central.

Why visit Sutton & Sons? If you like fish and chips, then you need to visit this restaurant. It’s delightfully simple and satisfying. They do takeaway and delivery too, but we’d recommend eating in.

Cost: £

90 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 7NY
020 7249 6444

Review: Amantia, Birmingham

Ben Paddock reviews Amantia, a family run restaurant serving Spanish cuisine in the heart of Birmingham

A short walk up from New Street Station on Bennetts Hill, you’ll find  Amantia. This Spanish restaurant has been open for over a year serving authentic tapas and paella among other dishes.

To start we chose a mixture of tapas – Manchego cheese with fried almonds, potato and onion omelette and dates wrapped in pancetta. This turned out to be a great selection, the cheese was creamy and the sweetness of the dates combined with the pancetta was a great combo. There are enough options on this menu that you could easily have a well-varied meal on tapas alone.

For the main, we shared a seafood paella – each dish is easily enough between two. It came out in the pan and the waiter offered to serve it for us. This was a good hearty dish – plenty of rice and a good mix of mussels, salmon, prawns and calamari. We chose a red and white rioja from the wine list which was a ideal match for this dish.

Somehow we found room for dessert and opted for a traditional Spanish almond cake and chocolate torte. The almond cake was moist and had a great texture and the chocolate torte had the right level of richness. All in all this perfectly rounded off an enjoyable evening.

What? A friendly, family-run restaurant showcasing a great selection of original Spanish dishes, wine and sangria. They also have an extensive list of gin & tonic, as well as regular cocktails.

Why choose Amantia? You’ll be served by a team of people keen to show off Spain’s best dishes. You can enjoy a quick tapas lunch or take in the full works for dinner.

Cost: ££

9-10 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5RS
0121 643 3647 /

Review: The Noodle House, London

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Jemma Gillard reviews The Noodle House a vibrant South-East Asian dining restaurant situated in the heart of London’s West End

The first Noodle House restaurant was opened in Dubai in 2002 and its popularity grew quickly with the London flagship finally opening in Shaftesbury Avenue in April this year.

Walking in, you get the sense that The Noodle House takes the best of South-East Asian culture and cuisine and combines it with a comfortable and friendly environment to eat in.

Not only do the chefs prepare the authentic dishes over an open flame in full view of the guests, but diners also feel at ease with the staff being attentive at all times.

The surroundings are informal, yet extremely stylish and staff are remarkably enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the reasonably priced menu, with the waiter helping us to choose the delicious duck dumplings and crispy Si Racha prawns served with their home-made spicy mayo for starters.

Noodles are the foundation of the menu with seven different varieties to choose from, but we decided to go for the Thai chicken accompanied with cashew nuts, chilli and ginger, all wok fried in a tangy sauce served with brown rice. The fusions of flavours were incredible and only left room for their signature cocktails afterwards.

The bubble tea punch was incredibly refreshing with its Earl Grey and gin flavours garnished with passion fruit tapioca pearls.

What? An authentic restaurant that combines the tranquility of tea houses with the vibrancy of buzzing street food stalls.

Why choose The Noodle House? The range of South-East Asian dishes on offer is enough to appease even the fussiest diner. The West End location is also the perfect situation to have dinner or cocktails before seeing a theatre show.

117 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8AD