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I must admit it's been a long while since I've checked out Gingerline's immersive dinners since I went to their very first one back in 2010. They've been
For starters, it was hard to avoid their oyster selection with a selection of vinaigrettes. They were some of the freshest and largest oysters I've ever tried from West Mersea.
A close inspection of their menu will indicate there is virtually no difference between their menu and a non-gluten-free restaurant's menu; if anything they make extra sure, there is no compromise on the taste of their food.
They have very on-trend options including bio-dynamic wines, ones which are vegan and organic for example. We spent a most enjoyable evening sipping on glasses of Prosecco Eco Artigianale DOC NV from Veneto, Italy
The food here isn't as expensive as you might think, you can sample their new lunch and pre-theatre menu from £36 for 2 courses. Let's not forget, this is one of the most famous hotels in the world, The Savoy we are talking about.
The menu here is Spanish speaking-influenced whether it is the flatbread of Catalonia to the fish tacos of Mexico to the ceviche of South America, which is unsurprising given their head chef, Marco Padilla is from Peru.
The grilled octopus was picture-perfect in terms of the presentation (as were most of the dishes here) and cooked to just the right degree so that it had some bite without being overly chewy and was served with piquillo pepper, ratte potato, and nduja.
I was recommended their signature, deep-fried salt, and pepper sea bass. Like marmite, the presentation is either distinctly impressive or vomit-inducing depending on your point of view: the whole fish is served upright along with the head on the plate.
Much better value was the lobster bake: at £27.50, it included half 1 pound lobster, peel 'n' eat giant shrimp, mussels, crab claws, and new potatoes and served in a garlic white wine cream sauce.
For me, dim sum is all about the steamed items and you have a plethora of choices here whether you are a meat-lover, seafood-lover or a vegetarian. One of my personal favourites is the black prawn dumpling.
The highlight here is really the main courses and there is so much variety to choose from whether it is a bao burger, a curry rice dish or the ever popular pho or vermicelli noodle bowls.
I sampled a variety of main courses from the hibachi steak and chicken to the black cod and can safely report they were all universally well-executed, delicately marinated and never overcooked.
They've also made giant steps in recent years to cater for the increasing vegetarian market, hence you see most of the stir-fry dishes have a vegetables & tofu option along with dedicated vegetarian choices like the signature Rosa's butternut red curry.
Being a diagnosed seafood addict, I couldn't resist ordering the sushi sister. It came with all the sashimi you could ever dream of and more: seared salmon, scallops, mackerel, tuna, sea bass with truffle oil, daikon with shrimp.
Over the years, I've tried various pasta options and they've never disappointed. If you order something along the lines of fusilli, they are always great at soaking up all the inviting tomato or mushroom pasta sauces.
All the classic Indian street food you would expect are present: we opted for the crowdpleaser, Panipuri wala, which are crispy wheat shells infused with chilled tamarind flavoured water.
Zia Lucia is all about the pizza. They are baked in hand-crafted, wood-fired ovens imported directly from Naples and called lovingly, Dante and Wally.
Starters were elegantly presented such as grilled Iberian chorizo with carefully placed dots of rocket mayo, which was imbued with rich, savoury notes.
The savoury selections were one of the highlights of the experience, as you do get plenty of varieties compared to the formulaic offering of just finger sandwiches.
The decor is a masterpiece of British elegance with the Grand Divan, their main high-ceilinged dining room being the pièce de résistance.