Does Jesmond Dene House manage to offer high-quality, informal eating with its all-day dining menu? Alison Cowie visited the hotel to find out.
Choosing a suitable eatery for lunch with a business client can be tricky. Do you go for the laid-back pub with hearty, crowd-pleasing grub but risk looking as though your expense account is being reined in. Or do you try and impress with fine dining at a high-end venue where you could leave a fussy, unadventurous eater checking for the nearest fast food drive-thru on their smart phone under the table?
Now you can enjoy informal eating in an up-market location with the all-day dining menu at Jesmond Dene House.
A range of light bites, salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes are on offer, as well as more substantial meals such as fish and chips, char-grilled peppered sirloin steak, and an Aberdeen Angus burger with cheese and cured bacon.
There is also a choice of coffees, loose-leaf teas, 15 wines by the glass, draft beers and a classic cocktail menu to quench your thirst, no matter what you fancy.
The menu is served from 11am untill 10pm and can be enjoyed in a choice of rooms within the hotel from the relaxed surroundings of the Cocktail Bar or the Billiard Room (minus the billiards table) or you can even eat in the Garden Room or the Restaurant if you’d refer.
It was on a Friday lunchtime that my colleague and I visited the four-star hotel and chose to eat from the all-day dining menu in the Cocktail Bar.
Styled like a members-only club, it offers atmospheric oak pannelled walls, rich leather sofas and sumptuous soft furnishing in autumnal hues.
I opted for the salad of rare beef with bean sprouts, mint, spring onion, chili, toasted peanuts and lime (£12) while my colleague picked the Morcon Iberico chorizo, confit tomato mozzarella sandwich (£8).
As we waited for our dishes to arrive, we were presented with our drinks (a still water and a coke) and a selection of honey-roasted almonds, crisps and olives.
These bar nibbles were a great touch but I felt the selection of bread rolls that followed, although tasty, were a little unnecessary.
Our meals soon arrived and the skill of the kitchen staff was plain to see through the dishes’ presentation.
My salad comprised a hefty amount of aged seared beef that was wonderfully tender and my knife ran straight through it. The oriental-inspired flavours of the salad were also incredibly well balanced and plainly something I could never hope to achieve with my own wok at home.
My colleague’s sandwich was also a hit, with its spicy chorizo, oozy mozzarella and tangy tomato incased within soft ciabatta bread (the sandwiches come in a choice of ciabatta, baguette or granary bread).
Her dish also came with a good portion of crisp French fries which were very moreish and she made short work of them – with more than a little help from me!
The sizable dishes would have been ample for lunch, but we couldn’t resist finishing our meals with a dessert.
We shared the rich and indulgent chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream (£5.50) and the well executed apple crumble with clotted cream (£5.50).
It was with reluctance that my colleague and I dragged ourselves from our comfy sofa to return to the office.
We were both very impressed with the standard of food and service we had received, and agreed it was the perfect blend of the formal with the informal.
Jesmond Dene House is at Jesmond Dene Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 2EY. Tel: (0191) 212 3000 or visit www.jesmonddenehouse.co.uk