Disclosure: I was a guest of Hotel du Vin and Delicious PR. All food and drinks were complementary for the purpose of honest review. All words, images and opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure policy here.
I seem to practically live at Hotel Du Vin these days. I can often be found in a corner in the Bubble Lounge, drinking wine and cackling with Bite Your Brum and Hoot Hospitality. I’m a bit of a fan of the Bistro too (remember my last visit?), so I was very pleased to be invited to check out the new Summer menu (and new GM, Tom, who has recently moved across from Malmaison).
There’s one major superstar on the new Bistro menu, and Tom had decided to order one for the table, with a selection of other starters to be enjoyed like tapas. The new showpiece is the Fruits de Mer sharing platter (£69) which comes piled high with oysters, lobster, crab, prawns and squid ceviche, and a selection of accompanying sauces and dips. The platter might be one of the most beautiful dishes I have ever had placed in front of me.
The prawns are served whole, and were sweet and plump, and packed with flavour. The crab meat was succulent and presented beautifully back inside the crab. The oysters too were salty and without a hint of the dreaded slime factor.
We were also served the Soupe au Pisto (£7.50), Bayonne Ham and Charentais Melon (£7.50), Escargot a la Bourguignonne (£6.95) and Toulose Sausage, Tomato and Red Onion Salad (£6.75). The new starter options are all colourful and attractive on the plate, making for some great summer dining.
I tried the Toulouse sausage, which was served with a deliciously sharp sherry vinaigrette. The meat was rich and tasty. I also ate my first ever snail, finding it a delicious, garlic butter soaked morsel.
I really had intended to order something different this time, especially as the new summer menu has some lovely sounding (and looking) fish dishes, but Steak Tartare (£14.95) is one of my absolute favourite foods, and I don’t get to eat it very often, so I caved and ordered the main size option, which comes with chips.
The tartare was excellent, with a good spicy hit and some bite from the capers and gherkins. The chips were well seasoned and crispy, and disappeared in short order.
I’m not a big dessert eater, and heard whisper of a cheese board, so instead of ordering one to myself, I opted to share a Mousse Au Chocolat (£6.500) with Ellen, from Eat With Ellen. The mousse was rich and chocolatey, and not too sickly, although for me and my lack of sweet tooth, I’d like less cream.
More my scene was the Cheese Trolley (£11.75), which is piled with french and british cheeses, all served with an array of chutneys and crackers. There were some delicious options, especially in the blue cheese line, but I’d like to see an individual cheese board option, so you could order just for one person without having to order the whole trolley.
I always love Hotel du Vin and the summer menu has some great new options, as well as holding onto the popular classics. GO. You won’t regret it.