The Paddle Steamer Princess Elizabeth has had a long and chequered career. Built in 1926 – 27 and named to celebrate the birth of our Queen, she served as a ferry and excursion steamer before being taken over by the Admiralty and fitted out as a minesweeper at the outset of WWII. Amongst other duties she made four crossings to Dunkirk bringing back to the UK some 1673 Allied troops as part of Operation Dynamo.
In peace time she briefly returned to work as an excursion steamer before becoming a floating restaurant on the Thames, an art gallery on the Seine and a tourism/conference centre in Dunkirk She is also something of a film star having appeared in several films as well as recently making a guest appearance in Christopher Nolan’s powerful film ‘Dunkirk’.
Now a gastronomic restaurant…
And it was in Dunkirk that we found her, looking as sleek, beautiful and elegant as any princess should, moored at the Estacade quay near the Pole Marine Shopping Centre.
She has been given skilful makeover and today is a gastronomic restaurant offering a charming blend of British and French styles in food and décor.
…with an exhibition lounge and tea-room
On the upper deck a fine-dining restaurant capable of seating 80 guests and below decks a somewhat quirkily furnished exhibition lounge, where by all accounts, a rather delicious afternoon tea is served.
We dined in the restaurant from the ‘1940’ menu, wittily priced at €39.45. The menu has been devised by Michelin-starred chef Christophe Hagnerelle, a combination of local cuisine plus a little British inspiration.
The word ‘delicious’ springs to mind
I know it’s good for me but I’m not a fan of mackerel, but this version - cooked three ways - really could convert me. The word delicious springs to mind.
Similarly the melt-in-the- mouth confit veal and the lemon dessert with its perfectly shaped tuiles, were stunning.
Only the cheese course caused a modest disappointment.
I for one was expecting a sliver or two of perfect cheese, so was not prepared for the whipped cheese creamy concoction – nevertheless every spoonful vanished.
Good cooking deserves fine wines and impeccable service.
Indeed the wine was delicious and the service faultless. A great atmosphere; the 1940 theme enhanced by music of the day. Highly recommended.
Princess Elizabeth Restaurant and Tea-Room: http://www.princesselizabeth.eu
Getting to Dunkirk: www.dfds.co.uk