What's your first impression of Holiday Inn? We know what you're thinking, because so were we. A cheap place to stay for visiting family members, work clients, and even yourself. It's on the same level as Premier Inn and Travelodge, right? SO WRONG!
Yes, Holiday Inn IS a hotel and will always have that at the forefront of their business, but when was the last time (if ever) that you ate at Holiday Inn Kingston South? The hotel has spent the last few years refurbishing, rebranding and putting excellent service at the forefront of their business, which has created a completely unrecognisable business.
Behind the friendly green logo that we all know and love, there is a real gem of a place. We were invited to taste their menu at Jack's Kitchen (their new on-site restaurant) as well as sampling a few cocktails at the bar.
Head Chef Akshay Sabharwal who has over 26 years of experience and previously worked for renowned Hilton Casinos, prestigious Boutique Hotels and Emirates first class food production (to name a few), gave us a quick run-through of how their dishes are created, and then it was time to eat.
First up, the starter: Smoked Salmon and Crab, served in a parcel with caviar, buckwheat blinis and dill fromage blanc. Paired with a South-Eastern Australian Berri Estates Unoaked Chardonnay, this dish was a real senstation.
Next, the main: Cajun Chicken brushed with garlic butter and served with homemade spicy slaw and fries. When they say spicy, they mean it! The slaw was a welcome addition to the incredibly tender Cajun chicken. This dish was paired with a refreshing Cote de Provence Rose, which was our table's favourite drink of the night.
Finally, the real show-stopper dessert: Chocolate Bombe, with mascarpone cream, vanilla pod ice cream, chocolate brownie and hot salted caramel sauce. The dessert was decorated with homemade jelly and edible flower petals and the "bombe" happened when the hot salted caramel sauce was poured on top of the perfectly round milk chocolate ball. It was a feast for the eyes and tastebuds and it's the dish that we can't stop talking about! Oh, did we mention it also had popping candy? Yep, it was great.
The thing that really made the evening as enjoyable as it was were the unbelievably hospitable staff. The average high-street restaurant doesn't come close to this level of service, which we've all grown so used to. It really is a delight when the staff genuinely want to do anything they possibly can to make your time at the hotel, however long or short, unforgettable.
For us, our mindset of Holiday Inn's has completely changed. You need to experience it to believe it, and we really can't recommend visiting the Holiday Inn Kingston South enough, even if it's just for a bite to eat.
NB: If you'd like to try the dishes mentioned above, be quick! The hotel rotates their menus according to the season and to keep things exciting for us.
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