One North East venue which is really thriving in recent times is Horton Grange hotel in Ponteland.
The luxury country house hotel is nicely positioned ten miles from Newcastle City Centre and just a short taxi away from our home on the outskirts.
The hotel boasts nine en-suite guest bedrooms as well as an award-winning AA Rosette restaurant which is a lovely spot for a leisurely lunch or an evening dinner.
With this in mind, I cleared the decks and made a dinner reservation for me and my long-suffering wife Lisa.
The hotel has been elegantly decorated in the classical style and is nicely spaced out into a conservatory restaurant and lounge areas. We made a beeline for the snug bar area where we enjoyed a quick sharpener whilst looking over a tantalising dinner menu.
Dishes place an emphasis on traditional British cooking. The kitchen sources the finest local ingredients to create an imaginative menu with an extensive variety of dishes to suit all tastes.
We opted for starters of pan-seared red mullet with heritage potato salad and pickled cucumber and the chicken & wild mushroom terrine with goats cheese emulsion, beetroot chutney and sour dough croutons.
Both dishes were stylishly presented with the seasonal ingredients bursting with a wondrous depth of flavour.
Up next for Lisa was the grilled fillet of sea bass on a pool of mussel & clam chowder with creamed potatoes and roasted plum tomatoes. This was a light, delicious main course with the chowder possessing a desirable kick.
I chose the traditional roast rump of Northumbrian Lamb with baby carrots, broad beans and dauphinoise potatoes in a red wine jus. Cooked to a perfect pink, the tender lamb fell apart with the fork whilst the vegetables were a crunchy al dente.
After a brief digestive break, we rounded off with real aplomb, polishing our favourite puds: the baked treacle tart with rum & raisin ice cream and almond crumb and the spiced apple & honeycomb iced parfait with rich chocolate sauce.
Throughout our meal, we were waited on attentively by the hotel’s Supervisor, Roxanne a real credit to the hotel who was happy to recommend a lovely bottle of Merlot to wash all of this down.
This is not just another hotel restaurant but a destination venue in its own right. A lovely venue for an intimate dinner.