1. FOODIE NEWS: ALBERT & MICHEL ROUX LAUNCH THEIR FINE DINING RESTAURANT AT THE INVESTEC DERBY FESTIVAL 
We were recently invited along to Roux at Parliament Square to quaff champagne and sample food from Michel & Albert Roux, based around the menu at their new fine dining restaurant at the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs racecourse. 
Taking place on 6th and 7th June, tickets for the fine dining menu will be in high demand and we were able to sample miniature versions of dishes such as English Asparagus, Hen’s Egg and Feta Cheese, Pork Belly with Apple Sauce, Oysters and Apricot Macaroons amongst other delights, which will be served at the racecourse in June. Michel Roux, during a welcoming speech at the event, said the theme of the menu is ‘British’ and ‘Seasonal’ and from what we tasted, along with the delicious champagne we drank, it will be a delight.
However it’s not cheap at £549 per person but if you fancy treating yourself to a luxury day out, you can expect a 4-course meal, complimentary bar, champagne on arrival and a full traditional afternoon tea all on the Prince’s Lawn along with VIP after-party tickets.
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    FOODIE NEWS: ALBERT & MICHEL ROUX LAUNCH THEIR FINE DINING RESTAURANT AT THE INVESTEC DERBY FESTIVAL 

    We were recently invited along to Roux at Parliament Square to quaff champagne and sample food from Michel & Albert Roux, based around the menu at their new fine dining restaurant at the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs racecourse. 

    Taking place on 6th and 7th June, tickets for the fine dining menu will be in high demand and we were able to sample miniature versions of dishes such as English Asparagus, Hen’s Egg and Feta Cheese, Pork Belly with Apple Sauce, Oysters and Apricot Macaroons amongst other delights, which will be served at the racecourse in June. Michel Roux, during a welcoming speech at the event, said the theme of the menu is ‘British’ and ‘Seasonal’ and from what we tasted, along with the delicious champagne we drank, it will be a delight.

    However it’s not cheap at £549 per person but if you fancy treating yourself to a luxury day out, you can expect a 4-course meal, complimentary bar, champagne on arrival and a full traditional afternoon tea all on the Prince’s Lawn along with VIP after-party tickets.

  2. WHITE RABBIT - REVIEW - 25TH FEBRUARY 2014
Last month I had the pleasure of visiting a restaurant I’ve wanted to try for quite a while - White Rabbit in London’s Dalston.
Situated off the high street down a quiet street with a plain grey front and small sign, you could easily miss White Rabbit. But their simplicity is part of their style and is extended inside with white walls, old wooden chairs and bar stools and exposed metal beams. 
We were seated at a nice table for two in the window and the restaurant was quite busy for a Tuesday evening and had an easy and relaxed vibe. We were given the menu to look through and a quick glance had us both salivating. 
White Rabbit’s food is based around the idea of sharing and has a selection of Small and Large Plates along with a few nibbles or ‘Straight Ups’ as they like to call them. I love trying different dishes and indulging in a bit of everything so the menu was right up my street. 
Whilst we chose what plates to get, we ordered some of White Rabbit’s bread and butter with Maldon Salt and some Sicilian Olives (both £3.50). The olives were plump and creamy and the homemade bread was warm and pillowy soft with the butter with Maldon Salt making it taste absolutely divine. Our ‘Straight Ups’ coupled with a fine bottle of Italian Luccarelli (£21) and the fantastic Northern Soul playing in the background, got our evening off to a very good start. 
After much deliberation and checking with our waitress if we’d over-ordered, we finally settled on our chosen plates. From the Small Plates, we selected Roasted Watermelon, Black Olive Candy and Salted Ricotta (£7), Gin & Beetroot Cured Salmon, Pickled Fennel, Dill Pollen and Pomegranate (£7.50), Stracciatella, Sorbe, Squash Puree, Pumpkin Seed Crumbs (£7) and Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Meade Puree, Mustard Seeds and Almonds @£7.50). From the Large Plates we picked Duck, Beetroot Yoghurt, Roasted Beetroots, Kale and Hazelnut Crumbs (£17.50) and Lamb Belly, Miso Baba Ganoush, Pak Choi and Meat Radishes (£13.50). 
Our mouths were watering at this point and fortunately, as the dishes come out as they’re ready, we didn’t have to wait long to dig into a couple of plates and the Roasted Watermelon and the Stracciatella came first. The watermelon was warm and the salty ricotta brought out the juiciness of it with the Black Olive candy almost having a popping candy like texture. The Stracciatella was creamy and smooth much like burrata and the sweetness of the squash worked perfectly with it.
Next up was the Cured Salmon and the Purple Sprouting Broccoli. The salmon was definitely one of my favourite dishes of the night and it had an unbelievable clean, fresh taste and the earthiness and sweetness of the beetroot really brought out the fish flavour. The fennel and dill matched the salmon perfectly as did the pomegranate to the beetroot and it really was a pretty much perfect dish. The broccoli on the other hand, whilst working well with the almonds, was slightly too bitter for my tastes and the mead and mustard seeds were a little overpowering. 
Lastly came our large plates which were both presented beautifully. I had never tried Lamb Belly before so I was intrigued to taste it and it was much like pork belly but a bit less fatty and the lamb meat was unbelievably tender and similar to roast lamb. The baba ganoush and pak choi were the perfect accompaniments to the dish and their lightness balanced the whole dish out. 
The duck was perfectly cooked nicely pink and the flavours of the dish all complimented each other. The beetroot yoghurt was really refreshing and the nuttiness of the kale worked hand in hand with the hazelnut crumbs. 
We were pretty satisfied after this but something told us we must try pudding. I was very intrigued by the Goats Cheese Caramel, Blueberries, Toasted Almonds and Sorrel Granita and my guest opted for the Roasted Pineapple, Kaffir Lime Cream and Feuilletine. 
The pineapple was warm, chargrilled and juicy and the caramelised flavour of the feuilletine next to the citrus ice cream brought the dish together well. The goats cheese however was a bit of a let down and I found it far too rich and quite an odd flavour for a pudding, which was a shame.
However, goats cheese pudding aside, White Rabbit was a real joy to visit. It’s exciting and unique, intelligent and detailed and pushes boundaries with food. They also offer a 7 course tasting menu for £35 per head which I think is an absolute steal for a restaurant of this quality and I am definitely going to book in to try it very soon.
Dotty Dishes was a guest of White Rabbit.
White Rabbit, 15-16 Bradbury Street, London, N16 8JN.
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    WHITE RABBIT - REVIEW - 25TH FEBRUARY 2014

    Last month I had the pleasure of visiting a restaurant I’ve wanted to try for quite a while - White Rabbit in London’s Dalston.

    Situated off the high street down a quiet street with a plain grey front and small sign, you could easily miss White Rabbit. But their simplicity is part of their style and is extended inside with white walls, old wooden chairs and bar stools and exposed metal beams. 

    We were seated at a nice table for two in the window and the restaurant was quite busy for a Tuesday evening and had an easy and relaxed vibe. We were given the menu to look through and a quick glance had us both salivating. 

    White Rabbit’s food is based around the idea of sharing and has a selection of Small and Large Plates along with a few nibbles or ‘Straight Ups’ as they like to call them. I love trying different dishes and indulging in a bit of everything so the menu was right up my street. 

    Whilst we chose what plates to get, we ordered some of White Rabbit’s bread and butter with Maldon Salt and some Sicilian Olives (both £3.50). The olives were plump and creamy and the homemade bread was warm and pillowy soft with the butter with Maldon Salt making it taste absolutely divine. Our ‘Straight Ups’ coupled with a fine bottle of Italian Luccarelli (£21) and the fantastic Northern Soul playing in the background, got our evening off to a very good start. 

    After much deliberation and checking with our waitress if we’d over-ordered, we finally settled on our chosen plates. From the Small Plates, we selected Roasted Watermelon, Black Olive Candy and Salted Ricotta (£7), Gin & Beetroot Cured Salmon, Pickled Fennel, Dill Pollen and Pomegranate (£7.50), Stracciatella, Sorbe, Squash Puree, Pumpkin Seed Crumbs (£7) and Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Meade Puree, Mustard Seeds and Almonds @£7.50). From the Large Plates we picked Duck, Beetroot Yoghurt, Roasted Beetroots, Kale and Hazelnut Crumbs (£17.50) and Lamb Belly, Miso Baba Ganoush, Pak Choi and Meat Radishes (£13.50). 

    Our mouths were watering at this point and fortunately, as the dishes come out as they’re ready, we didn’t have to wait long to dig into a couple of plates and the Roasted Watermelon and the Stracciatella came first. The watermelon was warm and the salty ricotta brought out the juiciness of it with the Black Olive candy almost having a popping candy like texture. The Stracciatella was creamy and smooth much like burrata and the sweetness of the squash worked perfectly with it.

    Next up was the Cured Salmon and the Purple Sprouting Broccoli. The salmon was definitely one of my favourite dishes of the night and it had an unbelievable clean, fresh taste and the earthiness and sweetness of the beetroot really brought out the fish flavour. The fennel and dill matched the salmon perfectly as did the pomegranate to the beetroot and it really was a pretty much perfect dish. The broccoli on the other hand, whilst working well with the almonds, was slightly too bitter for my tastes and the mead and mustard seeds were a little overpowering. 

    Lastly came our large plates which were both presented beautifully. I had never tried Lamb Belly before so I was intrigued to taste it and it was much like pork belly but a bit less fatty and the lamb meat was unbelievably tender and similar to roast lamb. The baba ganoush and pak choi were the perfect accompaniments to the dish and their lightness balanced the whole dish out. 

    The duck was perfectly cooked nicely pink and the flavours of the dish all complimented each other. The beetroot yoghurt was really refreshing and the nuttiness of the kale worked hand in hand with the hazelnut crumbs. 

    We were pretty satisfied after this but something told us we must try pudding. I was very intrigued by the Goats Cheese Caramel, Blueberries, Toasted Almonds and Sorrel Granita and my guest opted for the Roasted Pineapple, Kaffir Lime Cream and Feuilletine. 

    The pineapple was warm, chargrilled and juicy and the caramelised flavour of the feuilletine next to the citrus ice cream brought the dish together well. The goats cheese however was a bit of a let down and I found it far too rich and quite an odd flavour for a pudding, which was a shame.

    However, goats cheese pudding aside, White Rabbit was a real joy to visit. It’s exciting and unique, intelligent and detailed and pushes boundaries with food. They also offer a 7 course tasting menu for £35 per head which I think is an absolute steal for a restaurant of this quality and I am definitely going to book in to try it very soon.

    Dotty Dishes was a guest of White Rabbit.

    White Rabbit, 15-16 Bradbury Street, London, N16 8JN.

  3. ST IVES HARBOUR HOTEL & SPA - TRAVEL REVIEW - 21ST SEPTEMBER 2013
Keeping to the seaside theme, after my recent restaurant review of St Mawes Hotel Tresanton, on the same trip last year I had a night in St Ives and visited the Harbour Hotel & Spa.
Situated on a hill on the drive into St Ives, the Harbour Hotel has a privileged spot with an easy walk either along the beach or down the road into the town.
We arrived late morning and our car was parked for us in the indoor car park opposite the hotel and we were quickly checked into our room on the top floor by the friendly reception staff. 
The hotel has recently refurbished all of their 46 bedrooms and we were pleasantly greeted with our modern room furnished in trendy greys and orange with little seaside touches that had clearly been carefully thought about rather than just scattering a few shells and pebbles here and there. 
The only issue we had was that the bedroom was rather on the small side and the bed felt like we’d fall off it with myself and my pregnant sister sharing it! There was however a good sized bathroom off the bedroom which was decorated in cream and wood panelling with a double sink and bath/shower. 
We also had a ‘guest’ on arrival with a rather plump seagull who insisted on staring into our room through the small window for hours (pictured above!). Past the seagull was a picturesque view of the sea and Porthminster beach and we just wished we’d had a little balcony to sit out on so we could take in the view more.
After a spot of lunch and a wander around St Ives, we came back to our room to get ready for dinner in the hotel’s Terrace restaurant that evening. We would have used the hotel spa, had we remembered to bring our swimming costumes, as it looked really relaxing with a long rectangle pool and comfy loungers.
On arrival in the candlelit restaurant, we were seated at a table by the window and were given the A La Carte menu to peruse. It was quite a large menu and the dishes had a brasserie feel to them with a lot of seafood and fish featured throughout. 
I decided to try the Potted Brown Shrimps with Cornish Sea Salt Crostini to start (£6.95) and my sister chose the Cornish Crab Cakes with Cucumber Relish and Citrus Mayo (£6.95). The potted shrimp came with dressed leaves and a herb vinaigrette and rather than arriving in a pot with butter on top, they came in a circle on the plate, which slightly spoilt it for me with the lack of clarified butter to delve into. I also enjoy traditionally scooping them out onto the toast and you couldn’t really do that here. The fishcakes were nice but they weren’t anything special and reminded us of something you’d get in a pub rather than a nice seaside hotel restaurant. 
For main course I ordered the Roasted Rump of Cornish Lamb (£20.95) and my sister chose the Hakey Bay Monkfish Curry with Steamed Rice (£17.95). 
The lamb was a very healthy portion and the Fondant Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables were good with the rich and meaty gravy setting the dish off. My only complaint was that the lamb was a little too tough. The monkfish curry had big chunks of fish in but the Sri Lankan sauce was a little bland and it could have been spicier and more flavoursome. 
For dessert my sister decided on the Strawberries and Cream (£7) and I went for the Harbour Chocolate plate (£9). The strawberries and cream featured lemon curd and black pepper sponge with fresh strawberries and chantilly cream and was an inventive take on the usual dish of strawberries and cream. The sponge was really light and the cream had a nice amount of vanilla which worked well with the sweet strawberries.
The chocolate plate was a mixture of milk, dark and white chocolate treats such as dark chocolate fondant, milk chocolate teacake and white chocolate semi-freddo and all of the elements were done well but I wasn’t sure how well they all worked together. There was however just the right amount of each one so it wasn’t over sickly as a large dessert.
We ordered a pot of tea to finish our meal and our waitress took this to the lounge for us, which was opposite the restaurant with comfy sofas and fires. It was a nice way to end the meal before retiring up to bed. It was also a welcome distraction from the noise below the restaurant as there was a wedding taking place downstairs on the balcony and in the function room and the noise from the disco and band was just really off-putting throughout the whole meal. 
We ordered breakfast in bed before checking out the next morning as we had an early flight home from Newquay and it was a lovely treat and end to our holiday! 
The Harbour Hotel has a great spot in St Ives and the rooms are small yet tastefully decorated with lovely views of the sea and Porthminster beach throughout the majority of the hotel. The restaurant however was a bit uneventful and even though I could see they are trying to make it exciting and use local produce throughout the menu, I think there are probably better options for dining in St Ives. 
Dotty Dishes was a guest of the St Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa and Terrace Restaurant.
St Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa, Porthminster, The Terrace, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2BN. 
    High Res

    ST IVES HARBOUR HOTEL & SPA - TRAVEL REVIEW - 21ST SEPTEMBER 2013

    Keeping to the seaside theme, after my recent restaurant review of St Mawes Hotel Tresanton, on the same trip last year I had a night in St Ives and visited the Harbour Hotel & Spa.

    Situated on a hill on the drive into St Ives, the Harbour Hotel has a privileged spot with an easy walk either along the beach or down the road into the town.

    We arrived late morning and our car was parked for us in the indoor car park opposite the hotel and we were quickly checked into our room on the top floor by the friendly reception staff. 

    The hotel has recently refurbished all of their 46 bedrooms and we were pleasantly greeted with our modern room furnished in trendy greys and orange with little seaside touches that had clearly been carefully thought about rather than just scattering a few shells and pebbles here and there. 

    The only issue we had was that the bedroom was rather on the small side and the bed felt like we’d fall off it with myself and my pregnant sister sharing it! There was however a good sized bathroom off the bedroom which was decorated in cream and wood panelling with a double sink and bath/shower. 

    We also had a ‘guest’ on arrival with a rather plump seagull who insisted on staring into our room through the small window for hours (pictured above!). Past the seagull was a picturesque view of the sea and Porthminster beach and we just wished we’d had a little balcony to sit out on so we could take in the view more.

    After a spot of lunch and a wander around St Ives, we came back to our room to get ready for dinner in the hotel’s Terrace restaurant that evening. We would have used the hotel spa, had we remembered to bring our swimming costumes, as it looked really relaxing with a long rectangle pool and comfy loungers.

    On arrival in the candlelit restaurant, we were seated at a table by the window and were given the A La Carte menu to peruse. It was quite a large menu and the dishes had a brasserie feel to them with a lot of seafood and fish featured throughout. 

    I decided to try the Potted Brown Shrimps with Cornish Sea Salt Crostini to start (£6.95) and my sister chose the Cornish Crab Cakes with Cucumber Relish and Citrus Mayo (£6.95). The potted shrimp came with dressed leaves and a herb vinaigrette and rather than arriving in a pot with butter on top, they came in a circle on the plate, which slightly spoilt it for me with the lack of clarified butter to delve into. I also enjoy traditionally scooping them out onto the toast and you couldn’t really do that here. The fishcakes were nice but they weren’t anything special and reminded us of something you’d get in a pub rather than a nice seaside hotel restaurant. 

    For main course I ordered the Roasted Rump of Cornish Lamb (£20.95) and my sister chose the Hakey Bay Monkfish Curry with Steamed Rice (£17.95). 

    The lamb was a very healthy portion and the Fondant Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables were good with the rich and meaty gravy setting the dish off. My only complaint was that the lamb was a little too tough. The monkfish curry had big chunks of fish in but the Sri Lankan sauce was a little bland and it could have been spicier and more flavoursome. 

    For dessert my sister decided on the Strawberries and Cream (£7) and I went for the Harbour Chocolate plate (£9). The strawberries and cream featured lemon curd and black pepper sponge with fresh strawberries and chantilly cream and was an inventive take on the usual dish of strawberries and cream. The sponge was really light and the cream had a nice amount of vanilla which worked well with the sweet strawberries.

    The chocolate plate was a mixture of milk, dark and white chocolate treats such as dark chocolate fondant, milk chocolate teacake and white chocolate semi-freddo and all of the elements were done well but I wasn’t sure how well they all worked together. There was however just the right amount of each one so it wasn’t over sickly as a large dessert.

    We ordered a pot of tea to finish our meal and our waitress took this to the lounge for us, which was opposite the restaurant with comfy sofas and fires. It was a nice way to end the meal before retiring up to bed. It was also a welcome distraction from the noise below the restaurant as there was a wedding taking place downstairs on the balcony and in the function room and the noise from the disco and band was just really off-putting throughout the whole meal. 

    We ordered breakfast in bed before checking out the next morning as we had an early flight home from Newquay and it was a lovely treat and end to our holiday! 

    The Harbour Hotel has a great spot in St Ives and the rooms are small yet tastefully decorated with lovely views of the sea and Porthminster beach throughout the majority of the hotel. The restaurant however was a bit uneventful and even though I could see they are trying to make it exciting and use local produce throughout the menu, I think there are probably better options for dining in St Ives. 

    Dotty Dishes was a guest of the St Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa and Terrace Restaurant.

    St Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa, Porthminster, The Terrace, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2BN. 

  4. * * DOTTY DISHES COMPETITION * *
WIN A HOTEL CHOCOLAT EASTER EGG!
Can’t quite believe that Easter is already almost upon us but to celebrate, Dotty Dishes is giving away a Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg to one lucky reader! 
The delicious egg is one of the ‘You Crack Me Up Extra Thick Easter Eggs’ (worth £28) and you can sneak a peek at the egg here - http://bit.ly/OICuG9.
We were tempted to keep it for ourselves but Hotel Chocolat very kindly sent us our own chocolates - The Easter Egg Box (£26), pictured above. With flavours such as Creme Brûlée, Choc Cross Bun and Banana Crisp we can’t wait to get stuck into these. I am not sure we can wait until Easter either…
To win all you have to do is tell us your BEST JOKE (crack me up, get it?!). What we deem to be the funniest entry will win and the closing date for entries is 10AM ON TUESDAY 1ST APRIL 2014. Please email your entries titled ‘Hotel Chocolat’ to dottydishes@hotmail.co.uk. 
Good luck!
    High Res

    * * DOTTY DISHES COMPETITION * *

    WIN A HOTEL CHOCOLAT EASTER EGG!

    Can’t quite believe that Easter is already almost upon us but to celebrate, Dotty Dishes is giving away a Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg to one lucky reader! 

    The delicious egg is one of the ‘You Crack Me Up Extra Thick Easter Eggs’ (worth £28) and you can sneak a peek at the egg here - http://bit.ly/OICuG9.

    We were tempted to keep it for ourselves but Hotel Chocolat very kindly sent us our own chocolates - The Easter Egg Box (£26), pictured above. With flavours such as Creme Brûlée, Choc Cross Bun and Banana Crisp we can’t wait to get stuck into these. I am not sure we can wait until Easter either…

    To win all you have to do is tell us your BEST JOKE (crack me up, get it?!). What we deem to be the funniest entry will win and the closing date for entries is 10AM ON TUESDAY 1ST APRIL 2014. Please email your entries titled ‘Hotel Chocolat’ to dottydishes@hotmail.co.uk. 

    Good luck!

  5. DOTTY DISHES WINS AN AWARD! 
We received some fantastic news recently that Dotty Dishes has won an award! Top takeaway site, Hungry House, have decided to run their first ever blog awards this year called the ‘Not Just Another Food Blogger’ Award and they have very kindly given our very own Dotty Dishes one of those awards! 
Speaking about Dotty Dishes, Hungry House said - “Beth displays an untiring passion for all things delicious and leaves no stone unturned in her love for food and her pics of food are enough to make you dribble.”
You can see the full post and other winners here - http://bit.ly/1mhf4WG.
Thank you very much Hungry House! 
    High Res

    DOTTY DISHES WINS AN AWARD! 

    We received some fantastic news recently that Dotty Dishes has won an award! Top takeaway site, Hungry House, have decided to run their first ever blog awards this year called the ‘Not Just Another Food Blogger’ Award and they have very kindly given our very own Dotty Dishes one of those awards! 

    Speaking about Dotty Dishes, Hungry House said - “Beth displays an untiring passion for all things delicious and leaves no stone unturned in her love for food and her pics of food are enough to make you dribble.”

    You can see the full post and other winners here - http://bit.ly/1mhf4WG.

    Thank you very much Hungry House!