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

Website 

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Review: Comptoir Libanais, Poland Street

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Out Of Office magazine reviews Comptoir Libanais, a vibrant Lebanese canteen in Poland Street 

Comptoir Libanais is a busy casual Lebanese canteen with 15 locations across the UK, with another two opening soon.

We visited Poland Street in Soho, a short walk from Oxford Circus. As you walk in the atmosphere is busy with an exposed deli-style kitchen where you can see the chefs cooking up all that you’d expect from a Middle Eastern restaurant, such as tagine, falafel and mezze.

We opted for the hot mezze platter which came with Baba ghanuj, houmous, tabbouleh, falafel, lentil salad, cheese sambousek, pickles and pita bread, along with some halloumi and lamb kibbeh. It was delicious, authentic and was served at speed.

We washed it down with a Heritage Plaisir du Vin, which is a Lebanese wine. The wine was fruity, smoky and full bodied, yet easy drinking. We hadn’t tried a Lebanese wine before and would certainly have it again!

What?  A busy casual Lebanese canteen with plenty of locations across the UK to choose from.

Why choose Comptoir Libanais? If you’re looking for a casual lunch with a flavorsome array of food served quickly, then this is a great choice. There are also many delights on sale to take home with you, from wine and pastries, to spices and sweets.

Cost: £

52 Poland Street, Soho, W1F 7NQ

02074344335

www.comptoirlibanais.com

Review: Del’Aziz, Bermondsey

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Out Of Office reviews Del’Aziz, an Eastern Mediterranean restaurant located in Bermondsey Square 

We were invited to sample Del’Aziz, located between Bermondsey and Southwark stations, following a refurbishment. The décor is stylishly Mediterranean, with plenty of Turkish-style lanterns, leather seats and wooden furniture.

We were surprised to find the restaurant, deli and bar so quiet on a Saturday evening but it is a large establishment to fill, plus it meant our waiter was extra attentive. Each branch of Del’Aziz also hosts belly dancing, live jazz and world music on a weekly basis (check the calendar), with these events attracting a good number of attendees.

On to the food… We started off with a vegetarian mezze platter featuring all the Med favourites like hummus, tzatziki and dolma. For the mains, we opted for the sea bass and the  lobster feast (£20 deal: whole lobster, or half with BBQ ribs, harissa wings, grilled chicken or gambas). For dessert we sampled a cake from the deli.

The highlight of the meal was certainly the starter – there is a lot on offer here, which is great for those not keen on Med food but we think it’s what they do best.

What? A Mediterranean bar and restaurant in a number of locations, including Bermondsey, Swiss Cottage and Clapham.

Why choose Del’Aziz? We’d recommend booking an entertainment night, ordering cocktails and mezze, and bringing your staff along for a end of quarter party. Also good for leisurely drinks and informal birthday celebrations.

Cost: ££

11 Bermondsey Square, London, SE1 3UN
020 7407 2991 / bermondsey@delaziz.co.uk
www.delaziz.co.uk

Review: The Drift, Bishopsgate

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Out Of Office Magazine reviews The Drift Bar near Liverpool Street Station.

The Drift is a lively bar and restaurant in the heart of the city, brimming with quirky collectables, hidden alcoves and a slight nautical vibe – in some corners the aquarium next door casts swimming shadows on the walls.

It has an open plan kitchen so you can see the chefs whipping up dishes from simple sharing boards and fries, to burgers and larger plates like roast rump of lamb with mint jus.

For us, the highlights on the menu were the scotch egg with piccalilli and the dessert cocktails.

The Drift is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and late drinks. Innovative cocktails and a good selection of wines sit alongside the varied seasonal menu.

What? A bar serving food throughout the day a stones throw away from Liverpool Street Station.

Why Choose the Drift? A good place if you’re planning client or staff drinks and are looking for a lively and informal place with a touch of class. Mixology and cocktails are a key feature.

Cost: ££

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY

Review: La Porte des Indes, London

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Out Of Office Magazine reviews La Porte des Indes in London’s Mayfair, near Marble Arch tube station 

When we arrived on the doorstep of La Porte des Indes we were not prepared for what lay beyond the cloakroom down the marble staircase. We were really taken by surprise because from the outside the restaurant does not look like much, but inside it is a palace. Inside this metropolis you almost forget you’re in a crowded city and feel transported by the palm trees, indoor 40ft water fall fountain and the traditional Indian dress of the waitresses and waiters.

Actually the location is a former Edwardian ballroom, acquired by the restaurant in 1996. And not only does it boast a spacious restaurant but there is a jungle bar and a number of private rooms available for hire, all decorated with antique Indian artefacts.

On the menu there is not a tikka massala in sight. ‘La Porte des Indes’ literally translated means ‘gateway to India’ and the dishes are Gallic-influenced, representative of Pondicherry, a former French colony in India, dating back to the 19th century. The executive chef Mehernosh Mody and his wife spent several months there researching the traditional cuisine of the French-Creole people. This hard work gives La Porte’ a unique and varied menu. And it’s worth mentioning if you want to learn how to cook these dishes they do operate cooking classes.

The brand has proved successful, with locations in Brussels and Dubai, as well as London. And in the halls, on the way to the bathrooms, in the London restaurant are photos telling a story of a popular eatery often visited by A-list celebrities, from Hollywood film stars to politicians.

After a speciality G&T, we opted for the sample-style Menu Maison which meant we got to try a little bit of everything. For starters the highlights were the Parsee Fish: fillets of sole encased in mint and coriander chutney lightly steamed in banana leaves, and the Murgh Malai Kebab: chicken tikkas marinated with cream cheese, mace and fresh green peppercorns, and for mains it had to the Barra Lamb Chops and the Poulet Rouge – all washed down with a delightful Côtes du Rhône, Domaine Les Aphillantes, France. To finish we had a tasty trio of desserts, and the highlight of this was a rich chocolate fondant.

What? A special Indian restaurant in London with an atmosphere and menu you will not soon forget.

Why choose La Porte des Indes? It’s a unique experience that you will remember. Why not impress your clients by hosting a special event here in one of the private rooms?

 

32 Bryanston St, London W1H 7EG