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|Address:||Barnard Castle, County Durham DL12 9EB|
|Price: £32.00||Wine: £14.50||Champagne: £30.50|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-1.30pm 6.30-9.30pm|
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Sunday Lunch – 19 Sept 2010
In a picturesque setting by the village green and old church. Nice interior decor, but some attention to detail is need on things. If you can't get parked at the front, then there is further space at the rear.
We were greeted upon entering, and once informing them that we had a table booked, were asked if we wanted to go straight to the table or have a drink at the bar first.
We opted to go straight to the table (you get the service then, rather than squeezing in at the bar! Plus they were also serving a bar menu and it was quite crowded).
Drinks were ordered (pint of Theakstons and a glass of house red) and also a jug of tap water. (The jug had some strange staining on it? Not a pattern!)
A short while passed.
The Menu arrived. Half a dozen choices for each course (fish & vegetarian included)
A bit longer while passed before they came to take our order. A bit more time until a basket of unevenly sized home made rolls were offered, mostly on the smaller side and looked as if slightly over proved and knocked. Butter was already on the table and soft enough to spread (I hate it when you need a chisel for it)
Again after a pause, our starters arrived. (the unused empty clean wine glasses were left on the table)
I chose quail egg & bacon lardons, with saute potato dice, rocket & red wine dressing. (i'd only had toast for brekky so this made up for it!)
The leaves were at the base, with the lardons and potato scattered over, four halves of hard boiled quails egg at the corners. Red wine vinagrette dressed around the edges and a little over the whole. Whilst this was overall quite good and nicely presented, I think it would have been better with a single poached, yolk running organic small egg, than the cold hard bolied quail ones, but this could be due to Sunday lunch service pressures?
My friend had chosen Wild Boar terrine. This came as a very large quenelle of the terrine/pate, with toast triangles (crusts off) and a little salad leaf garnish, and apple mayonnaise. Having tasted a small sample of this, I thought it a little bland and under seasoned. (perhaps a mustard mayonnaise too, or a pickle or chilli relish?)
Another while passed. Starter plates cleared. Another while passed (are you noticing a theme here?)
The main course arrived. I had chosen roast sirloin of beef (and asked for the rarer end of the joint slices). Two large slices of rare roast beef filled the plate, thickened gravy over the top, a good sized and crisp Yorkshire pudding on top, and an unnecessary watercress garnish. Mustard or horseradish sauce offered.
My friend had chosed sea bass with tagliatelle of vegetables in a white wine sauce. The vegetable were bound in the sauce, with two halves of a fish fillet at a jaunty angle on top. The skin appeared to have been grilled, with a couple of heat burn bubbles, but the rest of the skin wasn't crispy. The vegetables & sauce were ok.
We each were served a side dish of vegetables (glazed carrots (lacking the glaze) big chunks, brocolli with toasted almonds, creamed potato (maybe a little over on the nutmeg and under on the butter, and slightly over mashed to the edge of the "gloopy/shiny sort), and roast potatoes (real roasted, quite good).
This all went down well with my beef, I could perhaps have done with a little more gravy (personal preference), but alongside my friends sea bass, these vegetables didn't really go. A little thought for something different missing here.
Plates were cleared, crumbs brushed off, empty wine & beer glass left on table? Menu presented again to choose desserts.
A short while passed.
I had cheese. (often in high end, especially London, restaurants, the cheese is an additional charge to a “prix fixe” menu – though not here). Local Cotherstone and Jervaulx Blue, slightly chilled, needed to be out of the fridge longer really, four Carrs water biscuits and three homemade biscuits (I couldn't make these out for flavour, whether supposed to be sweet or savoury), enough butter, some grapes “en branche” (these were just starting to brown around the stalk) and some celery (this was pale and bendy – not good)
Plates cleared (though the empty drinks glasses remained? and still the clean ones there too)
Coffee and mints followed, coffee in a small stainless steel cafetiere, just enough for a demitasse and a half each (though more was offered) but no cream or milk arrived? Fine for us as we drink it black but ome should have arrived or been offered. and an After Eight each (After Eight in the morning I presume!)
£17.95 each + £6.83 for the drinks (don't know the split on these or if it included the jug of tap water)
Overall the food was good, much better than an average carvery, decent sized portions. Let down by attention to detail and slow service. (2 & 1/2 hours for 3 courses and coffee – although we weren't in a rush)
Yes I would probably go again if heading that direction, but not for a while, there are other places to try.