It’s a very long time since we spent a weekend sans kids, so we were looking for somewhere special to spend the weekend.
We tend to choose places with character, decorated with great taste. We like places that are small and quite quiet, with not too much activity; an antidote to our busy lifestyles.
I’ve wanted to visit Camber Sands for ages. I knew that the beach was sandy (hence the name!). Not all of them are in that part of England pebbly Brighton Beach being a very typical example. The beech it is often used for fashion shoots, as it is very picturesque, and vast at low tide.
I’d certainly been aware of The Gallivant, but I’m not sure how. I think I must have read a review somewhere, perhaps. There are plenty of those – all of them very positive.
The room rate was very reasonable and we booked a package that included dinner as well, as the restaurant has a great reputation, with Daniel Perjesi at the helm (ex The Capital, Club Gascon), supported by Ben Fisher (ex Tom Aikens, The French Laundry and Pot Kiln).
Right from the beginning to the end of our stay we felt totally pampered and relaxed. The hotel is decorated with muted pastels, white bed linen and drift wood furnishings, a style we really love. The in room toiletries are of great quality and aren’t bolted to the wall, which we found in a Brighton hotel, which shall remain nameless.We were surprised to be offered complimentary afternoon tea on our arrival, and in order to work up an appetite we had a walk along the beautiful beach before dropping in for some refreshment. We’d forgotten the right footwear, but they even provide complimentary flip-flops!
There was only one cake on the table, so I checked to see whether it was gluten-free, which it wasn’t, but the waitress soon found me some banana bread from the kitchen, which was delicious and light.
Because we had booked the dinner package, I needed to make sure that there were some gluten-free options available, so prior to booking I emailed the hotel to check, to which I received a positive email from the manager, Mark O’Reilly, who confirmed that they would be able to accommodate my dietary needs. Still, it’s always a bit of a worry, whether restaurants understand gluten-free dining or are simply paying lip service to it.
Time for dinner soon came around I was very excited!
The waiting staff were amazing and very knowledgeable about the dishes and which parts need to be adapted for gluten-free dining.
I made a real error choosing the starter. I’d never had duck egg before, so I was keen to give it a try. It was meant to be served soft with pea and runner bean mousse, cheese gnocchi (which I couldn’t have) and melba toast (ditto), so they just omitted those parts. What I didn’t realise was that it was a cold dish and when the menu said a soft ducks egg, it really meant very lightly cooked, so that the white remained translucent. I’m not usually defeated with any dishes, but I just couldn’t eat the egg. I’m sure that it was meant to be like that, it just wasn’t my thing. The pea and runner bean mousse was delicious though! I had rare rump beef for my main course. Some parts were a bit chewy to begin with. I’m no expert but I think it might not have ‘rested’ enough, because the subsequent pieces became more tender as I carried on eating. It had a wonderful flavour, and the pearl barley and pea risotto served with it was delicious although I’ve since found out that pearl barley isn’t gluten free, as I was advised, although it had no ill effects, so maybe I’m not as sensitive to gluten as I thought I was.
Thank goodness I’m not a Celiac though.
The real triumph of the meal was the dessert Lavender Panna Cotta with fresh raspberries. ,which was totally out of this world. I really had to keep my purrs of delight under control! It was almost a case of “when Harry met Sally’!
I didn’t take any photographs of the meal, even though it was very stylishly and attractively presented. A camera or even a phone camera isn’t really conducive to a romantic meal for two! Not that it bothered one of the diners on a nearby table, who spent a large amount of time checking Facebook. No wonder his wife looked fed up!
After a super comfy sleep (the beds are amazing), it was time for breakfast (yippee- more food!). I was very excited to see what was available. I love having breakfast when I am away. It always feels so indulgent. At home, breakfast time, I’m usually emptying and loading the dishwasher, making everyone’s breakfast (including the dogs) emptying the recycling etc.etc. Do you get the picture? So breakfast prepared and served by anyone else is a real treat. There was a lot to choose from. Even gluten-free toast to go with my poached eggs, and some more banana bread.
I didn’t try anything from the ‘Recovery Station’, firstly because I didn’t have a hangover, and secondly, by the time I noticed it, I was full to bursting!
I’m keen to try a Bloody Mary though maybe next time!
We were really sorry to have to check out. The Gallivant is a wonderful oasis of calm and tranquility, and we’ll definitely be back. It is also dog and child friendly, we’re just not going to tell them! Shhh…..