Launch of Rendezvous Casino’s New À La Carte Menu Ria July 30, 2015 Food & Drink, Kursaal, Local Business, Southend I was invited to the VIP launch of Rendezvous Southend Casino‘s brand new À La Carte menu at the casino’s Elements restaurant. Other invited guests included Southend United football players from the first team, including Gary Deegan and Will Atkinson, to empower the casino to follow in their footsteps to deliver a “winning menu”. Also invited were the casino’s most loyal customers, who were given the opportunity to sample the new menu before it officially hits the restaurant floor, as ultimately the menu was designed with them in mind. Starters For my Starters I chose the satay chicken; a sweet, spicy dish of skewered succulent chicken on a bed of an onion-y mango salad, drizzled with a creamy, delicate peanut sauce with subtle coconut flavours. A delicious gourmet take on a South-East Asian classic. It was quite light on the stomach, which made it the perfect starter to set my taste buds going before the main course. To Follow There wasn’t a long wait before I was presented with my chosen main course, the slow pot roasted belly of pork. The pork melted in my mouth with each forkful, complemented by the smoked bacon and apple compote which added a sweet, fruity accent to the dish. The spring onion mashed potato was a perfect accompaniment to soften the taste of the rich flavours of the “Gloucestershire old spot” pork and compote. It was quite a generous portion and impossible for me to get through, personally – but that wasn’t for a lack of trying! To Finish I chose one of the chef’s specials for my dessert, which wasn’t actually listed on the new menu. The Almondy Toblerone Tart was presented to me on a stylish black slate with an artistic splatter of chocolate sauces and powder. The tart itself was gorgeous, consisting of a crunchy chocolate shell that encased the silky mousse centre and adorned with a raspberry and two strawberries that added a fruity kick to the rich, chocolate cake. The best word I can come up with to describe the dessert would be “sexy”. Because it just was. Sexy to look at; sexy to eat. I honestly couldn’t finish my dessert either. When placed in front of me it didn’t look as if it would be such a challenge to finish, but it was just so rich. The Atmosphere It was a lovely atmosphere in the restaurant, with the neon glow and the sounds of casino gaming in the background. The Elements restaurant itself was intimate but thoughtfully spaced. It was elegantly lit, with décor that exuded luxury with details paying homage to Southend-on-Sea through paintings on the walls and the window panels, whilst still staying true to the Las Vegas theme. It’s kind of like Southend-on-Sea meets Las Vegas. Though there was the expected hum of upbeat conversation and laughter amongst guests, it wasn’t loud or overwhelming. The piano at the centre of the restaurant implied some form of musical entertainment but, fortunately or unfortunately, there was none. In fact, on the night, there was no background music at all. Which wasn’t an issue for me personally, but I’m aware the lack of background music may bother some people. My Thoughts on the Evening in General… I was very impressed by the staff of Elements restaurant who were very pleasant and attentive (although they seemed a little disoriented at times). The chef, David Jarrett, has previously cooked for Her Majesty the Queen, but has been at the casino for over fourteen years. Within this time, it is obvious that his commitment to his customers has grown to be unparalleled. He’s quite charismatic and social, walking around talking to people – many of whom were obviously regulars. The matter of the fact is, he knows his customers and has tailored his new menu accordingly. And the prices of the items on the menu are very reasonable too for the quality of food and dining experience. David Jarrett has said: “A large number of our customers have enjoyed dining out in our casino over many years and we have a loyal following. Catering for their needs and tastes was front of mind in developing the new menu. We believe that we offer the very best dining experience in Southend – delicious, seasonal meals that really deliver on quality and taste at an affordable price.” I was amazed at the spectacular amount of attention on the satisfaction of the Rendezvous Casino’s customers. From their menu, to their dinner service, to the general interactions with their customers both in the casino and the casino’s wining and dining areas. I really do recommend it as the perfect venue for a romantic date with your partner too. Whether you plan on actually gambling in the main casino area or not. Our Love Southend competition winners this week, Sally and Paul Allen, were invited along as VIP guests to the exclusive Taste Tester event and said: “We enjoyed sampling food from the new À La Carte. Our steaks were beautifully cooked and my chocolate fondant dessert was amazing!” Truly a winning menu, scoring big points for taste, atmosphere and service!