REVIEW: A sleepover at Cadbury House 2013

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By Carol_Deacon | Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 11:59

Like the Queen with her actual birthday in April and her official birthday in June I have two celebratory dates on my annual calendar.

My official birthday is in September but ever since some special people missed the big 6-0 cocktail evening I have been hosting a new year dinner party and sleepover at the boutique hotel and spa going by the elongated name of DoubleTree by Hilton, Cadbury House at Congresbury.

Now I have been frequenting Cadbury for many a year from its 1970s hedonist disco days with kidney-shaped swimming pool and waterside bar to its more recent metamorphosis as a sophisticated, four star, place of relaxation, pampering and good cuisine.

We booked a table for eight at 8pm at the Marco Pierre White restaurant on Saturday.

There was a short discussion about switching venues with the weather being a major consideration but I needed have worried as the staff cleared the drive and footpaths by 5am every day it snowed.

Another concern was memories of some chewy lamb back in 2012.

With The George at Backwell and The Battleaxes at Wraxall growing in reputation for fine dining, pizzeria Europa at Nailsea adding rabbit to its menu and Gilly's cafe also at Nailsea bagging some partridges to cider braise this month local people are spoilt for choice.

We don't know yet about Howards, at Kingshill which reopened this month but happy for readers to tell us all about it.

After some discussion we decided to stay with what we knew and were rewarded by our very, very best visit yet with excellence service and surroundings.

The staff from reception to house-keeping; from bar to restaurant all had that John Lewis/Waitrose air of professionalism, friendliness and efficiency that every hotel guest craves.

The hotel was busier than anticipated as its handful of bad weather cancellations were balanced by passengers from Bristol Airport being diverted for stay over as their flights were delayed.

We were all allocated lovely warm rooms in the new wing which resulted in us getting wardrobes with removable wooden coat hangers and drawers, bathrooms without voyeur glass doors and coffee/tea making facilities which didn't steam up everything in the room but especially the shelf above the kettle – see previous reviews.

However, the real proof of the pudding was in the eating and gosh did we enjoy.

There were four starters, four main courses and four desserts to choose from as well as an  à la carte menu.

Side dishes cost £3.50, a two-course choice is £20 and three-courses £25.

We ran up a £95 plus bill for extras and spent even more in the bar which charges hotel prices with a pint of draught Butcombe Blond at £4.20 and bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from £26.50 - imagine I used to complain when the local wine bar charged £13.50 for a vino selling for £5.99 in the supermarket.

Nevermind it was worth it - here is what my friends said.

The roasted cod loin with anchovies and spring onion risotto was delicious, it was nice to taste real chips deep fried in dripping all followed by a homemade tiramisu."

I had roasted mushroom soup with brandy cream and the braised blade of beef served with horseradish mash, baby carrots and red wine jus - it was all melt-in-the-mouth."

The food was delicious and the staff so attentive - we only had to think about another drink and someone was there to see we were okay without being obtrusive."

Another star was the game pie made with venison, guinea fowl and chicken livers and a vanilla panna cotta which were equally praised.

The piped music in The Lounge cloakroom was a little too loud for my liking and the loo paper had run out but apart from that it was a perfect, perfect overnight treat.

And my friends like Oliver! which is opened at the Bristol Hippodrome on Tuesday all said 'please may we have some more visits to Cadbury?'.

I'm very happy to oblige and thank you for joining me.



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