If you’re looking for somewhere to lunch in Darlington, look no further. The Oven Restaurant over on Duke Street is an absolute gem. With amazing service, quality food and a lunchtime offer, you’d be rather silly not to pay them a visit.
This restaurant has been on my radar for a short while now after hearing some of the many great reviews filling up social media. So when we decided to treat ourselves to a little date day and cinema trip, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally see what the fuss was about and have some lunch in Darlington.
Oven is quite small. It’s contemporary yet cosy, so despite it being lunchtime, the dining experience felt intimate and slightly romantic. We were given a gracious and friendly welcome – the service really is faultless.
Throughout our meal the management paid a visit to each table making conversation and offering little snippets of information on the food and venue. It was obvious that there were several regulars seated who he seemed to have good friendships with, it was refreshing. And a boost of positivity about the food that was yet to arrive.
What might be the best thing about this place, apart from the food, is the price! An absolute steal. All day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (I believe) and between 12.00pm and 2.30pm on a Saturday, you can take advantage of their cracking offer.
One Course: £7.95
Two Courses: £9.95
Three Courses: £11.95
And it’s not a limited menu either. It’s quite an extensive range of dishes, ranging from Spicy Egyptian Stew and Moroccan Tagines to seabass and steak dishes, parmos, burgers and even salads.
To start, we chose the Bruschetta with tomato, mozzarella and chorizo. Whilst slightly sparse on the toppings, the flavour was very much there. Maybe I was just being greedy? It was simple yet elegant dish enhanced beautifully with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
For the main event, I chose the Steak Penne pasta dish. Mouthwateringly juicy chunks of steak that just fell apart on your fork and a spicy, creamy tomato based sauce. Lots of garlic and lots of chilli – my two favourite ingredients. A stunningly simple, incredibly scrumptious number. For once, I wasn’t the sufferer of the wretched food envy.
The portion was huge too! Dan happily finished it off what I couldn’t quite eat after he’d annihilated his Hot Shot Parmo. The parmo was a cracker. A thick, tender chicken breast that hadn’t been beaten or flattened to create the classic ‘flat’ look. A creamy and very tasty Béchamel sauce covered the meat with lashing of jalapeños and rich melted cheese. A good 9 out 10 for chips too. Brown, crispy, PROPER chips dipped into their homemade chilli and garlic mayonnaise that accompanied the parmo meal.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t even finish my pasta, let alone fit in a dessert. The lovely staff did show us the pudding menu though and there was slight sense of temptation rising. I will be returning for that Lemon Posset. As we passed on dessert, we were given a shot instead. An apple flavoured liquor that was a lovely sentiment from the manager to end a cracking experience.
He also urged us to return to try their Sunday Lunch, apparently it’s a little delight and their busiest day of the week. He didn’t have to ask us to return, because our minds were already made up, but he certainly helped us pick which day we’ll next have a lunch date.
I’ll let you know what it’s like.
Lots of love, LB x