Review of ‘The Strip’ Bistro Restaurant at Rendezvous Casino, Southend-on-Sea Hayley Reeve February 6, 2015 Food & Drink, Kursaal, Local Business, Southend 1 Comment Yesterday, myself and Ria were given the opportunity to visit The Rendezvous Casino at the Kursaal in Southend-on-Sea (part of Caesars Entertainment), and meet with the wonderfully charming Head Chef, David Jarrett to talk about their new bistro style restaurant that was opened at the end of October, rather bemusingly titled ‘The Strip’, which is, apparently, in reference to The Rendezvous’ authentic connection to Las Vegas. David greeted us in the lobby of the casino, dressed in his whites and chef’s hat and shaking our hands with a smile. From there he led us to the elevators and up to the casino floor. The Rendezvous Casino is open 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, and the kitchen employs a total of 11 staff to ensure that food and drinks are kept flowing to casino patrons at all times. David has 30 years experience in the industry and has been head chef at The Rendezvous for 14 years. With a main restaurant that seats up to 100, a function suite that can comfortably sit 60 people, and the bistro serving faster food options – which sits up to 36 at any one time and is constantly revolving – the chefs, waiting staff and bar staff all seemingly do a magnificent job in providing a service to the customers which would be hard to rival (and frequently isn’t). This became quickly evident as the Head Chef stopped momentarily, to greet a regular customer by name and make a joke or two with him. After a few laughs were had, we had a brief tour of the casino floor, taking in all the flashing lights and fancy decor. As well as the typical slot machines and roulette tables you would expect to find on a casino floor, The Rendezvous also has a pool table, a lounging area, a bar, a poker lounge, and flat-screen TV’s adorn the walls to entertain you further if required. They also offer live entertainment at the weekends, presented on a grand stage in the centre of the casino floor. There is an open feeling to The Rendezvous, one that certainly adds to the welcoming feeling, Finally we were seated in a quiet corner, where we could speak to David a little more whilst enjoying some of the food on offer at ‘The Strip’. I was pleasantly surprised when I set eyes upon the menu at ‘The Strip’. David composes all of the menus in-house. The food offers everything you would expect to see on an American diner style menu and the prices were far more affordable than I would have ever imagined, especially compared to the extortionate prices charged in some of the high-street “American diner’s” of Southend. This means that i personally found the value for money is spot-on. Being on a health-kick lately I opted for something light, a mushroom omelette, and Ria chose a mushroom burger. Both came with a side of fries and a side salad. The Rendezvous Southend takes great pride in its gastronomy credentials, serving high quality, freshly prepared meals at extremely affordable prices. All meals are made to order by experienced Chefs, and are all freshly prepared in the kitchen. For additional value for money, customers can enjoy a Wowcher deal in the restaurant, plus reduced prices on all menus – including “A La Carte” – thanks to local demand. Although ‘The Strip’ has a seating capacity for 36, they can and will cater for large parties at short notice. David told us a story of late one night when a party of 14 young people arrived unannounced, and that although they had to wait a short time, the staff managed to serve them all to their satisfaction. David stressed how important customer service is to the casino, as returning patronage is a core part of the business. This coupled with a warm and welcoming feel to the decor, helps keep The Rendezvous a top entertainment spot in Southend. Johanna Johnstone, Venue Director at the Rendezvous Southend says,“We feel passionately about offering great food at affordable prices, and frequently have promotional offers for our customers to ensure they are getting the best value for money in the area. Our next big weekend will be Valentine’s – in addition to a competitive couples package on the Saturday night, we’re launching our first ever Singles night on the Friday, so there really will be something for everyone this year. The casino’s going to be buzzing.” The Valentine’s Day package available on Saturday 14th February includes a three course meal, a glass of champagne, a red rose and a £10 bet for only £25 per person. Tickets to the Singles evening, which takes place on Friday 13th February, are only £15 per person and include two free drinks, one free £5 bet and live entertainment and dancing from 10.30pm. Opening times for ‘The Strip’ are 5pm – 2am and the main restaurant is open 7pm-11pm.