Seaham Hall Hotel and Spa has one of the best reputations in the North East for luxury when it comes to sleeping, eating and relaxing. So, as you can imagine, I was thrilled to be invited along to sample the menu of Head Chef of The Dining Room, Damian Broom.
The experience at the Seaham Hall restaurant was entirely complimentary in exchange for my honest feedback of the food and service.
Despite being on my doorstep, I’ve regrettably never been to a Seaham Hall restaurant before. I’ve trawled their Instagram and am a frequent returning visitor of their website and always keep it firmly in my mind for special occasions. But somehow just never got round to it.
The five star rating is well deserved. From the minute you arrive you can see and feel the quality and importance of the hotel; from driving through the grounds to your first view of the building to the entrance hall you first step into.
The Georgian country hotel sits on 37 acres of land, perfectly situated on a cliff edge overlooking some of the most magnificent coastlines.
Luxury suites and accommodation, renowned spa facilities and two exciting restaurants, it’s possibly the most exclusive retreat in the region. We hear some of the biggest names in showbiz book a room when they’re passing through on tour…
The welcome from the staff was as elegant as the surroundings. Polite and professional, but not formal. They didn’t make me or Mama Jan feel out of place amidst all of the fanciness. I think the overly prim and proper approach to service that some high-end venues insist on using can feel very stiff and detached. This was much more warm and lovely.
We were taken through to a private dining room where there were a few other lovely bloggers waiting to get cracking on the 6 courses.
Oh, and had I mentioned their was a wine pairing with each? As a lovely wine connoisseur named Connor handed me my first glass of Taittinger, I thanked the lord that I was off work the next day…
The Garden Room can be hired out for special occasions and is an absolutely stunning yet intimate space with huge windows looking out onto the grounds. It can cater for up to 30 guests if you’ve got something to celebrate.
The Dining Room restaurant itself though is just as decadent and would be perfect for treating everyone from your mum to your other half.
We got to sample smaller versions of dishes currently on the menu to give us an idea of how Chef works.
It’s worth noting that the menu can change as often as every day depending on what ingredients are available. Broom is passionate about using the finest, most fresh, seasonal ingredients that the team source locally.
They also insist on limiting waste and using every part of the animal that they butcher in-house.
The variation and imagination used within the menu mkes for quirky and unique dishes.
Our evening began with two canapes to get the tastebuds going. A mackerel and caviar tart topped with green strawberries and a crispy chicken skin with pickled vegetables.
Both were delicious but that crispy chicken skin came up trumps for me. A beautiful combination of flavours as well as textures.
We were also given a side of fresh sourdough bread (still warm – winner!) along with the most delicious homemade butter. I kid you not, I’d have ate it with a spoon. Keep your bread.
Then, the menu actually began. Yep, that was just a bonus round.
The first course was the one I was most looking forward to as lamb is my favourite meat.
It was Masham lamb, cooked over embers. The dish used spenwood (cheese made from sheeps milk), raw peas and elderflower. It sounded really light and fresh and I, as always, was correct.
The lamb was done to absolute perfection. Without doubt some of the best I’ve had.
The lamb was served with a Sangiovese Superiore red wine. I won’t pretend I know a great deal about wines, but what I do know is that 1) I really like to drink it and 2) it doesn’t matter when you have a chap like Connor on hand.
Fresh back from a trip to Taittinger, he knew exactly what he was talking about. Throughout, he explained in simple terms why he had matched that particular wine with each dish and how it should taste/compliment the ingredients on your plate.
I could confidentially say that if you were to treat yourself to a lovely meal at The Dining Room this summer, Connor or his team would be able to suggest the best wines based on your particular preference and food choice.
Funnily enough, Seaham Hall do have an offer for the restaurant on at the moment. But we’ll get to that bit at the end.
Okay. Dish number two was Wild Whitby Sea Trout with grilled cucumber and buttermilk.
Again, superbly done. A huge hit if you like seafood and smoked fish. I’m not usually a trout fan but this was less intense and much more palatable.
This was served with a Domaine Stephane Aladame white wine. Again, can’t tell you too much other than it washed down the trout down an absolute treat.
Next up was, for me, the star of the show. Salt Aged Thirkelby Duck served with a grilled duck heart and a summer vegetable tart. Yep, Chef really doesn’t waste a bit.
This kind of thing honestly doesn’t freak me out at all. I’ve tried something similar before but there was some funny ol’ faces around the table when it arrived.
The heart is worth trying, I can guarantee it’s nothing like you imagine it tasting like. Nor will the texture be what you expect. Many around the table who were initially hesitant were soon pleasantly surprised.
But that aside, the duck was absolutely incredible. Most definitely the best dish of the evening. The summer tart it was served with complimented the rich meat perfectly.
It was also teamed with my favourite wine, Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Now for the desserts. The first was a Bruce Strawberry Tart with vanilla creme and aromatic herbs. Paired up with a cold glass of Taittinger Rosé, I really didn’t think it could get much better.
Bursting with fruity freshness, the tart was thin with just the right amount of crumble.
Alas, both Chef and our resident wine expert really did keep the best till last when it came to the dessert.
Finally, we had Oakchurch Raspberries with yoghurt, wild Rose’s and “yesterday’s” sourdough. This was served with a beautiful Taittinger Nocturne Sec.
If you’re not the biggest fan of champagne, this is much sweeter and very food-friendly.
The dessert surprised me with just how tasty it was. Especially considering how simple the ingredients sounded in the menu. That stale bit of sourdough added crunch against the tangy fruit and smooth yoghurt. I’m never throwing out my old bread again.
It’s so amazing when you get to attend an event like this, where you truly can’t fault any aspect. It’s even better when they provide me an exclusive offer to share with my readers.
So if you need a little push to say, “awwww balls to it – lets treat ourselves”, simply quote ‘BLOGGER EVENT‘ at the time of booking your table and you’ll get a third course absolutely free.
Offer is only applicable in the Seaham Hall restaurant, The Dining Room, until 19th July 2019.
I get diddlysquat in addition to this experience for sending you their way, but I honestly could not recommend it enough. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to visit.
Plus isn’t it payday weekend?
Enjoy! I’ve got my eye on their Sunday lunch menu next…
Lots of love, LB x