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Dinner at the Grand lives up to its name; Grand Hotel Address: Grand Parade, Tynemouth Tel: 0191 293 6666 Email: reservations@grandhotel-uk.com Web: grandhotel-uk.com Open: Dinner Monday to Saturday 6pm to 9.45pm/ lunches etc other times Disabled access: OK for most Parking: On-street 4.5/5.



Byline: GORDON BARR

THE Grand Hotel certainly lives up to its name.

Having undergone quite a bit of refurbishment over the past few years, it still retains an air of grandeur lost in so many hotels these days.

Not least in its Victoria Restaurant, with its high ceiling, beautiful decor and sumptuous fittings.

It's true you never do quite forget you are actually in a hotel restauarant, but put that aside and, on the evidence of our visit at least, simply enjoy the lovely surroundings and, if you are lucky enough to get a seat by the window, those great views out to the North Sea.

We dined there on a Friday night and while it was relatively quiet in the restaurant itself, a wedding dance was in full swing below us.

Much attention has been paid to delivering a menu with a difference, and the head chef Paul Kay is to be admired and praised for this.

While old favourites are there, there are great new twists to dishes and presentation is spot-on.

Staff are wonderful and our two hosts Alison and Abbey looked after us impeccably.

The Grand has several menus, including a lunch selection and an early birds (5.30pm to 7pm) special.

For us, though, it was the fullblown a la carte, and what an array of dishes to choose from.

Starters (PS4.95 each) included spaghetti of squid and king prawns and beef carpaccio. But it was the grilled black pudding that caught my eye.

Described as presented with soft poached hen's egg, homemade piccalilli, Parma ham crisp and whole grain mustard dressing it sounded scrumptious.

It tasted it too. The black pudding itself was full of flavour and the whole dish was spiced up deliciously with the piccalilli. All elements blended perfectly and, as aforementioned, the presentation was excellent.

Stunning is not a word Fusspot uses too frequently, as regular readers of this page will know, but that was his first comment about his choice of starter, chargrilled vegetarian terrine.

This was wrapped in leeks with mixed leaf salad and sweet tomato chutney. Firm and full of flavour, it also looked fantastic.

I was in the mood for fish for mains, I could have had sea bass fillets, oven roast red snapper, grilled red mullet, monkfish or tuna Caesar salad.

Instead I ordered the pan-friend Barramundi fillet. Why? Because I had never tried it before and was curious.

Hindsight is a great thing and I have to be honest it's taste was not for me, but this is in no way a com plaint or should detract from what the dish offered Had I not tried it, I would be none the wiser that Barramundi is not my kind of fish and, for what it's worth, it has to be a valued addition to the menu.

Paul has gone out on a bit of a limb on this one, and I have to applaud him for it. It came with a spiced mussel broth and sticky cori ander rice and looked terrific. For me, though,this fish has just too stroing a flavour. Perfect for what it was - just not my personal taste.

All mains are PS12.95 each and Fusspot adored his pan-fried chick en breast. He asked for it not to come wrapped in streaky smoked bacon, as per on the menu, and said the meal was perfectly cooked, moist, succulent and had tremen dous flavour. Accompanied by dau phinoise potatoes, asapargus spears and roast jus everything about it was perfect and, to quote him, "very, very tasty".

For dessert (PS4.95 each) I chose deconstructed strawberry chees cake. I am not going to give the game away too much re this, suffice to say it was unlike any cheesecake in presentation I had ever seen and I wondered could it justify its title. In a word, yes. It was delicious. Try it and see for yourself what I mean.

Fusspot's profiteroles filled with Baileys cream could have had more flavour from the Irish liquer, but again that is to do with personal taste.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable meal is to be had at the Grand - and Paul Kay should be proud of a menu just as grand!

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 11, 2013
Words:713
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