Brighton is beautiful all year round, but she absolutely sparkles in the winter time. Twinkle lights and brisk seafront walks mark the season, and warming roasts in cosy corners encourage us inside with friends and families. It must be said that the Brighton roast scene is one to be envied. We are absolutely spoiled for choice, and venues are forever looking at inventive ways to distinguish themselves amongst the crowd. One such venue is the renowned, luxury Hotel Du Vin, who’s exceptional roasts, savoury starter station, and five-star service set them apart for all the right reasons. My family and I recently had the pleasure of experiencing their truly unique Sunday roast offering, and it was a delicious family affair.
A Special Day Out with our Little Gentleman
The Hart’s are usually a family of four, but my littlest one was on a playdate to see Jurassic Live at the Theatre Royal, which meant my seven year old Aven had us all to himself for this extra special roast date. Aven went all out, steaming his ‘fancy shirt’, styling his hair, and even stole a spritz of Daddy’s cologne for the occasion. He looked absolutely dashing, if I do say so myself.
We arrived early for our reservation so that we could enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail in Hotel Du Vin’s elegant lobby and bar. The high ceilings, dark wood, and crystal chandeliers give the space a sense of grandeur, while the comfortable seating and lighting make it both warm and welcoming to all. Our friendly bartender Jess came over to take our order, and made a big fuss over Aven, making sure he felt like a ‘little gentleman’ while he ordered his very own mocktail.
Mocktails Make Our Day
I asked for something fresh with fizz, and Jess created a gorgeous light and bright elderflower mint spritz just for me. It absolutely hit the spot. Richard, who is a whisky man, took advantage of Hotel du Vin’s extensive menu and ordered a beautiful 14 year old oak-aged scotch on the rocks. Aven wanted to join in and asked if he could have a special orange juice, and boy did Jess deliver! She made him up a fancy fruity orange and pomegranate mocktail, served in a grown up glass, and topped with an orange peel made into the shape of a heart.
When it arrived he was beaming, and after taking one sip he exclaimed ‘This is literally the best drink ever, you have got to try this!’ I have to make a point to say that little gestures like this are what set restaurants apart in my opinion. You can say all day long that you are family-friendly, but it’s simple gestures like this that make families truly feel welcome and wanted. Our kids are the centre of our worlds and it’s so nice to see them included in spaces usually designed for adults.
Five-Star Service from Start to Finish
When our table was ready, the harmcing maître d’ invited us through to the elegant dining room. Hotel Du Vin is known for its classic charm and refinement, a place where old meets new, and the five-star service is everything. Well lit and inviting, the tasteful dining room is both modern and sophisticated, and the white marble tables are laid with the utmost care.
The day we went, the room was filled with diners of all ages. Some were there for a luncheon with Nanny and Grandad giggling and catching up while others were indulging in a delicious post-check-out lunch with their little ones in high chairs. From end to end the elegant room was filled with tiny giggles, and happy families.
Extraordinary Self Serve Appetiser Buffet
As we were seated, our lovely waitress explained the Roast Day menu including the bountiful self serve station. The buffet-style starter table was a cornucopia of savoury nibbles. Cheese stuffed peppers and olives, cornichons, potato salad, fresh prawns, hot and cold smoked salmon, an array of cured meats and crisp salads, and piping hot soup with croutons.
Each of us choose our favourite bits, and not a single bite was wasted. When we returned to our table our server brought us a basket of freshly baked warm bread to accompany our soup. What exemplary service! A delicious and thoughtful start to a wonderful roast.
Family-Friendly Fine Dining
After our starters we took a short break to build a bit of Lego that Aven had brought along with him. I have to say that the team could not have been more kind and interested in him. They brought over an extra napkin so he could lay out his pieces without losing any and then spoke to Aven about what he was building.
They listened intently as he explained he was making Gingerbread Men, and they even asked to see the finished product when he was done. He was totally chuffed with all the special attention and I was genuinely blown away by the team’s authentic and gentle way with him and all the other little ones in the dining room. Any parent will tell you that dining in Brighton can often be daunting with kids. The team at Hotel Du Vin made us feel welcomed and as a slightly anxious mum it really meant the world to me.
On To The Main Event
I ordered the Roast Sirloin of Beef, cooked medium and well rested and served with a horseradish puree, fresh spring of greens, a sky-high Yorkshire pudding and a piping hot jug of rich and delicious home-made beef gravy. Gravy makes a good roast a great one and this gravy was out of this world. Top marks!
Richard ordered the roast turkey which was served sliced ballotine style with sage stuffing, rich gravy, buttery mashed potato, topped with a pigs-in-blankets and a dollop of tart home-made cranberry sauce. The turkey was a holiday special; succulent, moist and full of flavour.
For any restaurant looking to attract families, it’s important to have some kid-friendly foods available. Aven’s eyes lit up when his ooey-gooey delicious Mac-n-Cheese arrived. A man-sized portion fit for a tiny prince!
The plentiful sides were served family style and there was enough to feed an army! Golden roasted potatoes with a sprinkle of sea salt and rosemary, piles of roasted parsnips, sweet orange and purple carrots with just the right amount of bite, and garlic butter tossed brussel sprouts cooked just enough to maintain their satisfying crunch. A veritable feast for roast fans, in a gorgeous sophisticated setting.
Always Room For Dessert!
As this was a super special treat, we had to finish with a flourish and ordered an array of delicious desserts. Aven chose the Apple and Blueberry crumble, served with a side of creamy warm custard and fresh blackberries on top. His dinner tummy may have been full, but his dessert tum was ready to polish off the lot!
Richard loves chocolate and the Hotel Du Vin Pot au Chocolat hit the spot. Velvety, rich, light-as-air chocolate mousse topped with a dollop of chantilly cream and a dusting of powdered chocolate. It was his chocolate heaven in a glass.
I find it hard to resist a crème brûlée. There is just something so enticing about that first crack of sugar and the subtle sweetness paired with the slightly burnt brûlée….yum. Served in a large shallow dish and more than enough to share, it was the perfect sweet finish to a fabulous meal.
What more can I say? Hotel Du Vin offers effortlessly chic, elegant, family-friendly dining. The roast that is ideal for a special occasion or when you are simply in the mood for exceptional service and outstanding food.
A wonderful dining experience from start to finish, we cannot wait to return. Thank you for making us feel so welcome Hotel Du Vin, your team truly is outstanding!