Wednesday, July 7, 2010
There are certain places on this Earth that have been constructed with such attention to detail that it makes you feel like an inferior human being. For instance, Hotel du Vin in Tunbridge Wells, or, Royal Tunbridge Wells as it's actually known as. Most people have shortened it in an attempt to lose the pomp, but I don't know if it has worked. Walking down the Pantiles, one still feels a vibrant sense of "up your own arse-ness".
Hotel du Vin is no different. They have a predominately French staff and all of them have graduated from that famous French school of, I spit on you, you are nothing, I am French and you are just a fly under my shoe with no taste whatsoever. In other words, they all were very polite and courteous to me and my wife. The food and the building itself were both exquisite. As the name suggests it is a boutique hotel with a wine theme. However, cigars are also a predominate feature in this exclusive hotel. The bistro is littered with posters of cigars and empty wine bottles with fancy names like Romanee-Conti, Latour and Vega Sicilia.
More importantly, Hotel du Vin is offering something they call "Du Vin or Not Du Vin". A coupon can be printed on their website, which will entitle the bearer to a 2 course meal for 2 people for £20. Alternatively, you can get a 2 course meal plus a carafe of house wine for £30. A gorgeous deal I couldn't pass up. After I shook off the stuffy service I dove into the Fresh Bread, Butter and Olive Oil. All were magic. I could have eaten it all day. But I didn't want to spoil my 2 courses.
My Pan Fried Chicken Livers with Bacon Salad wasn't a very good start. I love Liver, but this particular one had a very harsh iron taste. More than most Livers I've had. I was forced to cover up the taste with Bacon Salad placed on each forkful. The Smoked Haddock with Salmon Rillette and Sauce Gribiche gave a much needed jolt to my meal. It was fresh and lively while also being savory and satisfying.
The next course gave me a fantastic sense of value for money. The Baked Gnocchi with Ratatouille and Parmesan was a classic, wonderfully prepared dish. And the Onglet Steak with Frites and Garlic Butter was delicious. Not gorgeous, or over glamorous, but for a fiver I certainly was not complaining. The carafe of Shiraz topped our meal off perfectly and we both left feeling like we had gotten an exceptional meal for an even more exceptional price.
The promotion is still going on and I would highly recommend you take advantage of this deal while it lasts. Hotel du Vin is a remarkably original hotel and their bistro does not disappoint.
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