The Connaught Hotel - Can Date Night be Healthy? .......yes, here’s my tips.

Tips for Eating Out When You’re Trying To Stay Healthy!

It’s here….date night and I love getting dressed up and head to a restaurant that just knows how to do it right!

I’m not fussy, I just want to experience a great standard of service, quality of food and a lovely ambiance. Let’s face it, it’s your money and your body you’re treating so you want to make it a special experience……..and I’ve found a new treasure in Bournemouth that reflects my ideals!

The Connaught Hotel has just refurbished the restaurant and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about!

On arrival, the restaurant ambiance and music was soothing and plush. Just my style of intimate tables, lovely lighting and comfy velvet seats. I felt relaxed already, which is a great start after a super busy working day!

The menu had a wonderful selection of starters!

My tip for choosing starters:

1. Scan the full menu and decide on a MAIN course first then choose your starter to compliment the main.

2. Ask how big the portions are for the starter then you can pace yourself or share with your partner or friends.

3. Don’t eat the bread – it’s a filler and will bloat you out!

4. Chew slowly – digestion starts in the mouth – savour very mouthful.

5. Sip water in-between courses, not with your food as you dilute the digestive enzymes.

So, we choose the Tapas charcuterie board to share, which was loaded with a glorious selection of local Dorset cured Coppa, Bresola and Serrano meats, Marinated fish and season and Feta with Hummous with a lovely glass bottle of infused olive oil with thyme and peppercorns.

The presentation and detail was stunning and taste combinations paired beautifully.

“The Tapas Charcuterie Board”

I love duck eggs, the health benefits are far greater than chicken eggs, so I had the “Warm Dorset Asparagus with a soft poached duck egg”. The use of local products really fits with my ethos and it’s great to support local growers, farmers and smaller businesses.

Paul had the “Cold Pressed Corned Beef”, which was impressive……fresh homemade corned beef that melted in your mouth and served with radishes and beets. Creative and delicious!

“The Warm Dorset Asparagus with Duck Egg”

“The Homemade Corned Beef”

On to the main course now.

My tips for choosing a main course are:

1. Always ask to see the daily specials, these are usually seasonal ingredients with the chef’s creative flare.

2. Ask how large the portions are and if they can adjust the portion or place vegetables on the side so your plate doesn’t look crowded and you don’t feel obligated to eat it all!

3. Eat until you’re full, then stop, no matter how tasty the food is, you can always ask to take it home!

4. Ask the restaurant staff for pointers on what’s healthy on the menu and the most popular dishes.

5. If you have any dietary requirements, then let the restaurant staff know as soon as possible.

For my main course, I always choose something that I don’t normally cook at home and I chose the daily special which was The White Crab Bouillabaisse. I’ve never had that before and wow, what a delight!

Succulent scallops, topped with Crispy friend squid then layered with white crab. The bouillabaisse soup was delicious just by itself yet was further enhanced by steamed clams and mussels cooked to perfection.

“The White Crab Bouillabaisse “

Paul had the “Pork Wellington” with a thin layer of black pudding rolled within the crisp puff pastry served with tender stem broccoli and toasted almonds with a smooth red win jus. He was delighted, as we don’t normally cook such delicate meals at home so it was a real treat.

The portions were perfectly sized and there is nothing better than feeling satisfied, full (not stuffed!) and being so pleased with your meal that the food becomes a conversation point.

“The Pork Wellington”

Then onto dessert.

To be honest, this is the most difficult part for me as I never like feeling over-full otherwise I have troubles digesting and sleeping.

I was however drawn to the healthy choices and health-food ingredients of the menu that I couldn’t resist!

My tips for choosing a healthy dessert:

1. Finish your main meal before ordering, if you’re full, then don’t eat dessert, just order a herbal tea like peppermint or chamomile to help you digest the meal.

2. Look for lighter desserts with a healthy twist.

3. Ask the restaurant staff for their advice on the healthiest desserts.

4. Take your time, you’re not in a rush, chew slowly and eat mindfully and enjoy.

5. Avoid creamy sauces and overly sugary

6. Always consider sharing a dessert – on a date night, there is nothing more intimate than sharing, feeding your loved one while giving loving looks…..adds to the ambiance right!?!

So, I adore pistachios and the warm pistachio with fig gel and mascarpone on the side certainly caught my attention.

Moist, packed with pistachios and complimented by the fig gel, I was pleasantly pleased how light and airy the cake was making it a great choice for a lighter dessert option.

“The Warm Pistachio Cake”

Paul was a little more indulgent and went for the treacle tart as we were both very intrigued by the Bee Pollen Ice cream, which was awesome! Of course I tried a mouthful and I will creatively swipe the Bee Pollen ice cream idea to re-create at home!

“Treacle Tart with Bee Pollen Ice Cream”

Finishing off our evening I always love a herbal tea and I was pleased to see yet another local Dorset brand called Dorset Tea.

The Connaught Hotel was impressive and I’m not just saying that! Both Paul and myself were more than appreciative of the service and attention to menu creation, detail, presentation and deliciousness of the food.

I can wholeheartedly recommend a visit, you will love it!

Oh, and the prices! Another pleasant surprise that it was comparable, if not less expensive than other restaurants of it’s calibre locally, but the service and food far exceeded our expectations. Honestly, worth visiting!

Please take a look at their website for booking a reservation: