I’ve often admired the charms of the handsome Vermont Hotel walking through my favourite part of Newcastle towards the Quayside. Its solid brickwork and lofty windows stretching into the sky, make the streets of Newcastle feel a little like Manhattan. You can imagine the Sex And The City girls rocking up for a round of cocktails and some racy chit chat.
Sadly our entrance was a little less chic as I got unceremoniously splatted on by a bird relieving itself from the arch of the bridge overhead. Un. believable. After some frantic wiping in the lift, I was restored to my borderline glamourous self. I’m not sure my handbag will ever be the same though.
My friend and I were there to review their latest Wine & Dine deal, which offers a three course evening meal with a bottle of French wine for £69 per couple.
The look and feel
You zoom up to the sixth floor in the lift and are greeted by a very grown-up and classy hotel bistro. Dark wood, posh chandeliers, crisp white linen and gleaming wine glasses. We sat in the window overlooking the Tyne Bridge… not too shabby!
It felt pretty formal and we ended up talking in hushed voices, but the trouble with that is it makes me break out in the giggles coz i’m not that good at behaving myself. I’m the one that always got moved to the front of the class for giggling. But while it’s not necessarily the really the right place for a hilarious girls night out, it’d be lovely for a date-night or family celebration. Still, we did our best to act like grown ups so as not to alarm the other more well-behaved diners.
As you’d hope in a setting like this, the food was elegantly presented and delicious to eat. The Wine & Dine menu offered plenty of variety, with the chance to pay a little extra should you opt for a steak or a different bottle of wine.
We started off with a little amuse bouche in the tiny form of an espresso cup of mushroom soup. Perfectly delicious and a lush way to kick off the meal. The only slight disappointment was the bread… the rolls could have done with a spell in the oven to warm them a little.
Then the staff swept out with the starters. I opted for the Mushroom Tart with soft poached duck egg, béarnaise sauce and micro herbs. The pastry was perfectly crisp and the mushroom filling super tasty. The poached egg gently oozed when I stuck my fork in. Lush.
My friend had the rather spectacular Crab and Crayfish Cocktail, which she said tasted incredible. The only slight snag was it was next to impossible to eat without it spilling all over the table. Whoops.
The mains were just as well turned out.
I don’t cook a lot of fish at home so treated myself to the Lemon Sole, with pommes noisette, mange tout and tartare mousseline. It was a delicate and lovely dish, and I really loved the flourish of mousse-like whipped tartare sauce.
My friend went with the Pork Belly with scallops, squid ink mash, deep fried cauliflower, onion puree and madeira jus. What a feast!
We felt like we didn’t have room for dessert after all of that, so the waiter recommended we have the Key Lime Pie to keep things light. It was topped with Italian-style meringue and had a wonderful blackcurrant sauce. It was however one sweet step too far for me and I found it very hard to finish!
SO friendly and attentive, nothing was too much trouble. It’s the proper formal ‘hand behind the back when pouring wine’ type of approach. But they definitely didn’t hover and gave us space to have our meal.
It’s a great value upmarket experience offering both a gorgeous setting and a sophisticated menu. If you’re celebrating something special and want to indulge in a spot of grown up chic, then this is the place for you. I think the venue is super stunning and it’s in such a iconic location that it should definitely be on the list as one of Newcastle’s best destination restaurants.
Disclosure: We were guests of the Vermont Hotel, but this review is an honest reflection of our experience eating at their restaurant.