The Gallivant – an English Seaside Hideaway

May 20, 15 The Gallivant – an English Seaside Hideaway

Posted by in All

I’ve always loved to visit the seaside. As a kid growing up in Central California, we would often take road trips to the beach and stay overnight in little seaside hotels. The Gallivant just outside Rye in Sussex aims to capture that easy going California vibe – and I think they are quite successful at doing that. Situated across from sand dunes so big that you can’t see the long sandy beach on the other side, The Gallivant is a little coastal hideaway on a two lane road that runs past the dunes. The single storey building has been around for 25 years and started out as a beach side café. Roughly 5 years ago, Harry Cragoe bought the hotel and has transformed its into the lovely boutique property it is today. They like to refer to it as ‘a restaurant with rooms’ and the restaurant and terrace are a focal point of the hotel. It’s all very cosy, comfy with a sky blue and white colour motif running throughout the hotel. The rooms are a good size with plenty of lovely little touches like old fashioned black telephones, canvas beach bags and very fluffy bathrobes. I especially liked the ‘Larder’, rather then have a mini-bar in every room there is a large pantry at one end of the hallway that is stocked with artisanal snacks, soft drinks and wine. It’s all done on the honour system, you just write down what you’ve taken and hand in the chit at the end of your stay. I think having it at the end of the hallway is genius – less temptation and all that…. The hotel focuses on offering outstanding products in a relaxed but thoughtful atmosphere. One of their main USP’s is that fact that they strive to provide local, seasonal, high quality produce – 95% of all the ingredients used come from within a 10 mile radius. I love the fact that everything is fresh and seasonal. While I was there, I had...

read more

Celebrity Cruising at Vinopolis

Mar 12, 12 Celebrity Cruising at Vinopolis

Posted by in Food and Wine

“Love. Exiciting and new. Come aboard. We’re expecting youuuuu. The Looooooooove boat….” It’s amazing but I can still remember the words to that cheesy 80’s sitcom set on a cruise ship. And much like the 80’s, cruise ships have always seemed a bit cheesy to me. That is until I was introduced to Celebrity X Cruises the other night at Vinopolis. If, like me, you’ve never bothered to find out more about a cruise experience, prepared to be surprised. Apparently, they are gigantic floating hotels/spas/world class restaurants with lux amenities. Celebrity now features fine wine and dining on all it’s ships and gone are the days of shrimp cocktails and sausage cocktails. The ships are also looking pretty flash nowadays, too. I was invited to a dinner at Vinopolis to learn about Celebrity’s new food and wine cruises that they are introducing in the Autumn. The cruises are going to be co-hosted by Oz Clarke and Vinopolis’s Tom Forrest and will feature stops in various wine regions, including, Portugal, Spain and France. The dinner we had was representative of the kind of food and wine matching meals that would feature on the ship. We started off with an English Sparkling wine, the Ridgeview South Ridge 2008 traditional method, which was really good with the canapes. I was a bit surprised as I’d had it a few days previously and wasn’t all that keen on it but it seems to go well with food. Served up with the starter of goat cheese tart and beetroot, we had a white Bordeaux,  a 2004 Rioja reserva, Pagos de Tahola, was paired with a perfectly grilled steak and a 2007 LBV port with chocolate fondant was heavenly.  Happily a cheese board was served up paired with a white wine from the the south of France, the Grand Reserve de Gassac blanc 2010. An interesting choice to have with the cheeses (Cheshire Blue, Brie de Meaux, Epoisse) and for me, they didn’t match. While some people like the wine...

read more

Lunching at Roast with Chapel Down sparklers and others

I went to Roast the other day for lunch. I was invited to partake in a social media experiment where we bloggers were invited to help out with making up a menu for our readers. So I found myself overlooking  Borough Market last week in the bar of Roast. Along with me were my fellow bloggers, eatlikeagirl, spittoon, intoxicating prose, gourmet chick,  and gastronomy domine  as we all sat down to lunch with Frazer Thompson (Chief Exec), Guy Tresnan, (Sales and Marketing Director) and Owen Elias, (the winemaker )of Chapel Down. Roast’s philosophy is all about sourcing and using seasonal British produce so it’s only fitting that they partner up with Chapel Down wines of Tenterden, Kent. I’ve visited Chapel Down and enjoy their English sparkling wines so I knew that we’d be in for a treat! We started off with the Chapel Down Brut Rosé ’06, a sparkly rosé made up of 100% pinot noir, a bit on the sweet side, strawberries and cream came to mind while we were sipping it.   Once everyone arrived, we sat down to business. Chef Lawrence Keogh went through a brief presentation of what we’d be eating and then he turned the show over to Owen. I felt a bit sympathetic for Owen when he explained he had to wing it on the first matching as he was unable to do a proper food and wine match beforehand but I think his choice of the Chapel Down English Rose  was a fine one. Although the smoked Etive trout  with Dorset crab cakes had quite an intense flavour, the  rosé  had enough acidity and red fruit flavours to stand up to it. One minor quibble, the scallions sprinkled around the plate did seem to overpower the wine, I followed Spittoon’s lead and set mine aside. When we sat down I had a brief glance at the menu and saw haggis as the second course! Having never eaten haggis but having heard numerous, shall we say ungenerous remarks, my hopes were not high but Chef’s Keogh’s Ramsey of Carluck haggis with celeriac and oxtail sauce was delicious. I seem to remember...

read more
%d bloggers like this: