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Southend’s newly restored Royal Hotel opens quality restaurant

The Royal Hotel, one of Southend-on-Sea’s most famous historic buildings, which has been restored to reflect its former Georgian elegance, has opened its first floor ballroom as a stylish 80-seater Restaurant. The Restaurant serves an innovative range of traditional English and international dishes using fresh, seasonal local products prepared to the highest standards by passionate, quality-driven chefs.

With period décor, including high ceilings and extensive cornice work, the restaurant offers ‘fine casual’ dining, excellent food and service, with superb views across the Thames – including the world famous pier. The classic interior of this former ballroom combined with the well-spaced tables, custom made comfortable dining chairs, starched white table cloths, sparkling glasses and cutlery creates a luxurious dining experience under twinkling chandeliers and yet achieving a relaxed, casual atmosphere.

Director Terry Garrett said: “This is a dining room that could grace London’s West End but without any atmosphere of uncomfortable formality. We are achieving that thanks to our friendly staff, who provide great professionalism without any sense of pomposity. We want customers to relax and enjoy themselves in magnificent surroundings.”

The restaurant operates throughout the day serving lunch, dinner, and a delicious Sunday roast. The launch of this spectacular first floor restaurant complements the recently opened ground floor bar and brasserie. This is already becoming a firm favourite as a relaxed venue with table service allowing customers to enjoy an excellent range of cocktails (many exclusively created by the Royal’s own mixologists), wines, spirits and craft beers together with great food.

The Royal Hotel transforms the historic ballroom into a quality restaurant.
The Royal Hotel transforms the historic ballroom into a quality restaurant.

The Royal Hotel’s ground floor bar and brasserie was opened in April after months of meticulous refurbishment of this iconic, listed Southend building on the corner of the Royal Terrace and the High Street. This 225-year-old listed property, in the past a haunt of Royalty and Aristocracy, retains many original features that have been painstakingly refurbished. Local Historian, Ian Yearsley, in his new book ‘Southend in 50 Buildings’ describes the Royal Hotel as “arguably the most important building in the whole of the borough. Without it, ‘South End’ may have remained a fishing hamlet”. The enterprise is being operated by Temada, a company owned by a local Essex family; Terence Garrett and his sons, Matthew and David. The management team and skilled staff have extensive bar and restaurant experience covering London’s City and West End as well as international and local Essex establishments.

In its previous heyday, during the early 1800s, the hotel was frequented by leading society figures. Royal patronage to the area came with Caroline, Princess of Wales, wife of the heir-apparent (later George IV), who began visiting in the early eighteen hundreds. Lady Hamilton, best remembered as Admiral Horatio Nelson’s mistress, also visited many times during the Season. In 1805 she hosted a grand dinner party, ball and supper in honour of Nelson. Just a few months later he was killed at The Battle of Trafalgar.

Garrett added: “With its commanding position and long history, this magnificent property was desperately in need of renovation. The team has spent months restoring it and it is now a building of which Southend can be really proud.

“The new restaurant complements the ground floor Bar and Brasserie wonderfully. We are looking forward to catering for the people of Southend and the town’s visitors, whether they just want a quick drink, a light snack in the bar or a relaxed three course meal in the historic ballroom. We believe the Royal Hotel will provide its customers with a unique and memorable experience.”