There's nothing I love more than treating myself and my husband to a meal at a fine dining restaurant. We're both foodies and avid Masterchef followers, we both enjoy a good glass of wine and I firmly believe our regular date nights are the key to why my husband and I are a really strong, happy couple. Our latest foodie date night was at the Jesmond Dene House hotel in Newcastle, where we dined on smoked salmon, truffles and ate the most spectacular desserts.
The restaurant at Jesmond Dene House, awarded three AA rosette stars in September 2009, is overseen by Head Chef Michael Penaluna and features an array of contemporary British dishes that are light, fresh and flavoursome using classic culinary techniques. The menus range from the All Day Dining Menu through to an eight-course Tasting Menu (£70). In addition, there is a seasonally changing Dinner menu, Early Evening menu, vegetarian menu, family-friendly Sunday Lunch menu and afternoon tea menu.
When I dine at a new restaurant I always get slightly anxious about their vegetarian offerings, especially if it is somewhere a little bit more refined or a la carte, but this was something I didn't need to worry about at Jesmond Dene, their menu had plenty of options. Admittedly service was a little bit slow to begin with, but the waitress did apologise and kept us in the loop as to when our starters would be ready. When they did arrive, the starters were definitely worth the wait. I opted for the Celeriac with apple and stilton tortellini and my husband chose a smoked salmon dish. Soup can usually be very hit or miss as a starter as some soups can be rather bland and uninspiring. This soup however was very flavoursome and the stilton tortellini added texture and a salty rich flavour that complemented the celeriac perfectly.
Service picked up when it came to our mains and we were both presented with two superb dishes - my husband chose the Sirloin steak and I went for the dish that had been intriguing me since I first read the Jesmond Dene menu, the 'Spelt Barley Risotto' with baked jerusalem artichoke, trompette mushrooms and truffle. I'm not usually a risotto fan, but I do love mushrooms so this dish really stood out to me and when it arrived, I was blown away by the spectacular flavour combination. It tasted very fresh, like the ingredients had just been picked out of the garden and it wasn't too rich and creamy, like some risottos have a tendency to be.
At the beginning of the meal James and I told each other that we were sticking to two courses that evening, but as the night went by and we saw other guests being served show-stopping dishes, we both knew we had to try one. As I'm a big fan of Rhubarb, I went for the Rhubarb and Vanilla Gateaux with Rhubarb Sorbet, while my husband opted for the Chocolate and Blood Orange cake with Blood Orange Sorbet. Despite our bellies being full, both of us managed to easily eat our way through dessert. My gateaux was light as a feather, really fruity and so beautifully presented and although chocolate and orange sounds quite rich, James said it was balanced quite perfectly and the
orange sorbet helped cleanse his palette.
Overall we both had a really good time at Jesmond Dene House and I would definitely recommend this restaurant. Starters start at around £9 and mains are upwards of £16, which can be pricey to some people, but it is worth saving for if you're looking for somewhere special. Both my husband and I will more than happily return to Jesmond Dene House in the future.
Have you dined at Jesmond Dene House before?
*This meal was complimentary in exchange for review