In Reviews

Lucinda visits the Hilton Brighton Metropole to meet 'Le Petit Chef'...

Every time I see ‘Le Petit Chef’ my brain goes to ‘Little Chef’ and I have a nostalgic moment where I recall the familiar red and white logo on motorway restaurants in the 80’s; and how I CHOSE to go to one for my ‘birthday party’ when I was seven. Yep. Have a brief moment of sadness for me, then read the rest of this paragraph to feel a deep pity…..Actually, truth-be-told, I had asked my parents to take me and my friends to ’Happy Eater’ on the M27 as they had a playground with swings and a slide, but, in keeping with eighties parenting, they hadn’t actually paid attention to what I was saying and instead took me and three of my little buddies to sit in a soulless service station eating sub-standard burgers and chips. Happy birthday to me. *Blows Party Blower Sadly*

As if to elegantly demonstrate how times change and how BEING a parent now and how I treat MY parents, I booked ‘Le Petit Chef’ at Hilton Brighton Metropole as fun family experience for my Dad, Step mum, Husband, nine year old twins and me. It wasn’t my birthday this time. But it’s not far off…and I wanted to do something to secure some ‘grandparent-looking-after-grandkids-so-parents-can-have-fun’ time and this is a pretty good way to do it.

Lucinda – you’ve rambled on about your sorry childhood but managed to overlook explaining what ‘Le Petit Chef’ is, except for a bargaining tool for babysitting.

Ah, yes. Good point. Sorry about that. So, Le Petit Chef is an immersive dining experience featuring a six inch chef who is projected onto the tablecloth and takes you on an adventure without you having to leave the 1890 Restaurant in the Hilton.

Let’s take a look at the details:

πŸ‘¨‍🍳 VENUE: Hilton Brighton Metropole has almost completed a stunning refurbishment of the entire hotel. It’s always had one of the best sweeping staircases in the city, but now it’s a particularly photogenic area of the venue. It’s the sort of space that makes you want to swish your long skirt and delicately lift a soft hand to the brow as you hastily totter up the stairs muttering something dramatic in a Southern accent. As in southern America. South of England would all be a bit ‘Terribly sorry to interrupt you. If it’s not too much trouble, could I possibly make my way past you and up this beautiful staircase, please? Thank you, kindly.’

πŸ‘¨‍🍳 DRINKS: As part of ‘Le Petit Chef’ you have a 10% discount on drinks bought at the Metropole Bar. That was a nice surprise as I bought drinks for the six of us. In advance of your visit you are encouraged to pre-order wine for the table to aid the smooth-running of the evening. Which, as someone who works in events. I wholeheartedly support. Unfortunately, we’re a bit too awkward with our orders for that.

πŸ‘¨‍🍳 COST: Just before 7pm we made our way through to the 1890 Restaurant. At the time of booking I paid a £20 per person deposit. The cost is £99.00 per adult and £49.00 plus 12.5% service fee, so, I can’t disguise it - it really is a luxury. Not my usual Saturday night in January, but for a unique and time-limited experience that I knew my family would love, I was willing to pay it. I’d better get A LOT of babysitting off the back of this.

πŸ‘¨‍🍳 WELCOME: As you walk into the restaurant you can ease back into ‘South of England’ character and be delighted to find…a queue! The queue is for the welcome desk and each group is then asked to pay for the balance of the meal before you are shown to your seat. All drinks ordered after that point are then paid for at the end of the evening.

πŸ‘¨‍🍳 INTRODUCTION: ‘Allow me to introduce to you,’ bellows out the speakers ‘All the way from France. The world’s smallest Chef!’ The animation projected onto the pristine white table cloth begins with a garden scene. It’s not just on each place setting, in fact, there’s a white space - the size of a plate - left blank but every inch of the rest of the table is animated. The projectors are cleverly concealed inside what look like light fixtures above the tables.

πŸ‘¨‍🍳 STORY: You follow the adventures of ‘Le Petit Chef’ as he makes his way across your table. Expect things like an octopus fight, a chicken in a tent and *insert Jamie Oliver Joke* even a naked chef! I don’t want to ruin all the surprises, so I’ll just say that it’s really engaging. It’s quite rare to find activities that kids, parents and grandparents all enjoy together, but we really did.

πŸ‘¨‍🍳 FOOD: It is a five-course meal and the animation connects to each course. However, if you are vegetarian or a child you will still see the projection of the carnivores/adults but your food will be different. One course the adults had chicken, but the kids were given that age-old classic kids favourite – a portobello mushroom! I suspect that the chef who designed the menu doesn’t feed kids on a regular basis. However, the food was all really nice.

πŸ‘¨‍🍳 SERVICE: The staff are always great at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, so I knew they’d deliver a seamless event, but the host who talked us through the evening was particularly charming and funny. At the end of the meal I was asked how everything was and I did mention Portobello  mushroom. They said they were looking at changing it, especially as lots of families are booking and the feedback was that kids just don’t like mushrooms.

Kids today, eh? Back in my day you’d get a hotdog in a motorway service station for your birthday and you’d be grateful for it.





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