I spent an amazing few hours inside the Tower Ballroom on Saturday night for the recording of this week’s Strictly Come Dancing. Which was the upside, and did come after several hours queuing outside in the cold and the rain, but was worth every moment. Although if you think that was dry ice being used, I think you’ll find it was just a gentle layer of mist rising from the audience as they dried off.
Heading out on a high, we were definitely in need of food, not to mention a glass of wine. Or two. My advice, do some research before you go to the Tower end of Blackpool, as it was hard to spot anything that wasn’t fish and chips. Or McDonalds. I’d done some and we hopped in a cab to Kwizeen.
Yes, you read that right. You probably need to say it out loud.
Honestly, I chose it to see what sort of place would have that name, and the menu did seem interesting and with possibilities. Having dashed in without a reservation, I have to tell you that the welcome was the warmest thing I’d felt all day (other than the rosy glow from Team Cola’s performance). Front of house cannot really be faulted, and the restaurant is pretty stylish and restrained in design.
I’d love to tell you about the fabulous use of local ingredients that really made their flavours sing out, the interesting amuse bouches, starters that really got our appetites revved up, the innovative main courses, the wonderful choice of desserts. I’d love to tell you about the best kir royale turned out in a long time.
I’d love to, but I can’t.
Mulling it over in the early hours (another tip, don’t stay on Albert Road if you’re a light sleeper) I could only come to the conclusion that just everything was overdone. The Kir Royale had possibly double the amount of creme de cassis you really need, with the dark purple colour and big slug of cassis still at the bottom of the glass being a giveaway. The little pie amuse bouche was a lovely idea, just sadly overcooked and completely dried out in the middle.
The Mrs Kirkham’s Cheese Souffle Pancake was gargantuan for a starter, and the tomato sauce somewhat curried. I didn’t like the outer layer of oil either around the sauce. However, the roasted chicken and spinach ravioli got a thumbs up, so much so that I didn’t get a taste. Order that, bypass the pancake.
I wish the main courses had had the same attention lavished on them as the mushroom shaped potatoes. I don’t think you can buy these in, which means someone hand shaped each one. Which might have been why the salmon was chargrilled into submission, and the cannellini beans in my cassoulet could have taken your eye out if you’d pinged one across the room. We’re still not sure what the sauce was on the salmon, BFF is still slightly traumatised and described it as gloop. And not good gloop.
I love an assiette of desserts, it makes me feel much less guilty about pudding. BFF was opting out, as was the only man in the group. Which left two of us, and a very generous assiette. We got more spoons, and tried to convince them to join in. I think we only finished one portion, and I think full stomachs were only part of the issue. The creme brulee was very acceptable, but not very exciting. The two sponge puddings were somewhat overcooked, although I did love the carrott and orange toffee pudding, so forgave its caramelised edges. The tiramisu trifle had a slightly rancid edge to it, not my favourite flavour.
What can I say, it was an experience! It was a great meal in terms of company who I was very happy to be sitting at dinner with, sharing the tales of the show. I thought Tony was fabulous in his hosting skills. I am just sorry that I couldn’t have given it a 10. I think, in the words of Len Goodman, it was just about a 7.
Would I go back? Maybe. But given there was a 30 year gap between this visit and my previous visit to Blackpool, and this trip didn’t give me any big reasons to wonder if that was a mistake, I think possibly not. Should you go? Well, it’s better than McDonalds, I’ll definitely give it that! But next time I’m staying at Lytham St Anns!
Beautiful shot of the amazing Tower Ballroom by Craig Murphy on Flickr