Jo Rees dines among the blooms at The Alexandra Hotel and discovers good cooking and seaside elegance
Hidden away at the heart of The Alexandra Hotel, Ammonite is no fossilised hotel dining experience. Rather, calibrate your expectations for a vibrant sunset supper in the orangery, surrounded by luscious gardens with light pouring in from expansive coastal skies.
The airy conservatory was completely renovated fairly recently, bringing Ammonite up to the elegant standards of the polished seaside hotel’s other (more formal) restaurant.
In the process of rebuilding the orangery, the team discovered an ancient well in the centre of the floor, which they’ve glazed over so guests can gingerly “hover” over the subterranean depths as they head to their table.
VISIT for a refined supper, crafted from locally sourced produce and executed with skill and confidence by head chef Callum O’Doherty.
Don’t miss the opportunity to make a sojourn to Ammonite during the late spring and summer months, when it’s light enough to dine while basking in 180° views of the blooming garden and peachy evening skies.
Follow your feasting with a mosey outside and take a postprandial drink on one of the seats with a bird’s eye perspective on the Cobb below.
DON’T VISIT with kids: this is a grownup dining experience. The environment is so tranquil and the wine list so good, you’ll want to linger and explore different vintages by the glass, instead of being hurried along by youngsters looking to head to the next amusement.
WE LIKED the thoughtfully put together and restrained menu, which features enough choice to meet most requirements, while inspiring confidence that the produce is super fresh and everything cooked from scratch.
In a seaside setting it’s fitting to indulge in locally-landed seafood – and the golden panfried scallops and luscious John Dory with pickled red cabbage risotto delivers in spades.