Hang out
A restaurant for all occasions; romantic dates, fancy mate dates and special occasions. Dig out your best frock and suit up – it’s a place to truly wine and dine.

Decked out
An intimate space, without being stuffy or too quiet. Reclaimed dark-stained floorboards, scuffed chic fireplaces, plush leather booths, Mediterranean-style vines and stylish French doors leading to an outdoor dining area. It’s extra gorgeous in the evening; the lights twinkle, the candles flicker and the atmosphere is so relaxed, it’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

One of the best things about wining and dining at Hotel du Vin is, of course, sampling its vino. The place is famed for it. We made best pals with the bistro’s head sommelier, who expertly paired our tipples with our desired dishes. We sampled both red and white from different corners of the globe, plus dessert wine with our puds.

Food matters
French home-style cooking; slow-cooked, beautifully presented and lots of robust, earthy flavours. Dishes rely heavily on fresh, seasonal produce. We ordered from the new spring menu, which is packed with light and flavoursome dishes, created with oodles of fancy French flair.

We ate
Rustic garlic flatbread (£4.75), spiked with springs of rosemary and a heavy sprinkling of sea salt, to start, along with Limousin beef carpaccio (£8.95) and roasted tiger prawns (£7.95) to start. Both packed a punch when it came to flavour; the water-thin meat was fresh and smoky, joined by a creamy, boudin blanc scotch egg (really savour it – it’s delicious) and roasted garlic. The prawns arrived plump – with the heads for extra flavour – and bathed in chilli butter and cracked black pepper. For mains, the ribeye steak (£26.95) stole the show; baby pink in the middle, with a charred crust, smothered in garlic, herby butter so wonderful that we asked for two pots. Buttery Chantenay carrots and potato rosti on the side – both spot on. For dessert, we devoured the pineapple upside down cake (£6.50), with its tropical, toffee-like, spongey goodness and coconut sorbet on the side, and the indulgent sea salt caramel fondant (£6.50). Pour over that crème anglaise and go to dessert heaven. Boy, can the French cook!

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