Come Dine With Me was my guilty pleasure tv show at university. Well, that and Homes Under the Hammer… Basically anything to avoid writing essays on political theories.
So when I was invited to Room2 Hometels in Southampton for a ‘Dine at Mine’ dinner party in aid of Southampton Hospital Charity, with a bunch of other Southampton Bloggers, I had to say yes. Dine At Mine is a fundraising campaign for the Southampton Hospital Charity, which aims to raise money for a dedicated Children’s Emergency and Trauma Department, a brand new building at Southampton Hospital. Due to open in 2019, they are still raising much needed funds to complete the project.
The reason for building a dedicated children’s emergency & trauma department? 78% of those attending A&E in Southampton are attending due to problems with alcohol, drugs or mental health issues, and staff believe, rightly, that children do not need to be witness to this distress at such a young age. Everything needed will be within the centre from casts to ultrasounds and X-rays. They’re also completing the building with a nature and wildlife theme, based on The New Forest National Park.
If you have to spend time in hospital as a child, it should be with as little stress as possible, for both the children and the parents. The environment plays a huge part in this.
Room2 Hometels are a different accommodation experience. Each room has its own kitchen as well, complete with stovetop cooker, a fridge/freezer and all the pots and pans you could need. I have only come across this once before, in Barbados, and it makes life so much easier.
They realised that when you’re going away, the costs quickly add up when you factor in meals, so the ability to cook whatever you like, in your room, saves both money and hassle. The meal we had on this evening was all made in one of the hotel room kitchens, which goes to show that whether you wanted a family dinner party or some beans on toast, the sky is the limit! If you leave anything in your cupboards afterwards, it gets donated to a local food bank. Oh, and furry friends are allowed too! From dogs to rabbits, it would appear after discussion with the staff that no animal (within reason) is off limits. Meaning that if you are heading to Southampton for a conference, a holiday or even to see friends, you don’t have to worry about organising kennels etc…
The rooms are lovely, all kitted out with Smart TVs, radios and even a ‘Bits & Bobs Box’ with all those things you may need, but forgot to bring!
Our meal was cooked by none other than Shelina Permalloo, the 2012 Masterchef winner. She also owns and runs a local Mauritian restaurant, Lakaz Maman in Bedford Place, which I will have to visit soon! I went with a fish starter of coconut prawns, in a spicy mango & lime chilli sauce. I love spicy food and seafood, so this was perfect!
For the main course I went for the Mauritian red snapper curry, with a turmeric and cumin rice, accompanied by cucumber relish and chopped mango. It was just beautiful, I love a curry and have never eaten Mauritian food before, so it was a nice change from Indian curries. Oh, and don’t forget this was all made in the hotel room!
To finish, I had the chai tirimisini, a miniature tiramisu. Filled with coconut, it was the perfect accompaniment to our tropical fruit platter!
The main concept of Dine at Mine is that anyone can host a dinner party for friends, who can all contribute a little money to charity. You don’t need to climb mountains or run marathons to help people, and every little bit really does go to an amazing cause. As Ordnance Survey have also chosen to help this charity, I will definitely be holding my own Dine at Mine very soon!