Set in the idyllic setting of Darlington, Rockliffe Hall is a dream destination. From an award-winning spa to a five-star hotel, which is surrounded by one of England’s finest golf courses, this luxury venue has it all, and if you think this place couldn’t get any better, you’re wrong. In addition to these splendid features, Rockliffe Hall is also home to the 3AA rosette Orangery, The Brasserie and The Clubhouse, and last week I was lucky enough to visit the latter.
The Clubhouse Restaurant at Rockliffe Hall Hotel is a gastro-pub with a modern twist, that focuses on serving up good, hearty, classic British dishes. I expected The Clubhouse to be inside the hotel, however, the restaurant is nestled on the edge of the golf course at the end of a sweeping path. During this five minute walk you really get the chance to take in the scenery surrounding Rockliffe Hall and the views are absolutely beautiful.
The Clubhouse itself is light and spacious with homely touches, giving it a comforting ambience and relaxing atmosphere. Corey and I managed to get a table by the window, which overlooked miles of glorious greenery – definitely one of the prime dining spots.
Traditional English grub made with locally sourced and seasonal ingredients is what the set menu focuses on. This menu is available from 5:30pm-8:30pm and offers two courses for £20 or three for £25. When I finally decided, I went for the Smoked Salmon Scotch Egg starter, followed by the Fish & Chips. Corey opted for the Grilled Toulouse Sausage starter and the Clubhouse Steak Burger for his main.
When the starters arrived they looked like works of art. Corey’s dish was even garnished with a flower that was hand picked from the venue’s garden. It goes without saying, but we tucked straight in. Smoky salmon and a rich creamy yolk surrounded in light layer of breadcrumbs, it was a delicious mix of flavours and textures.
The eggs were also topped with caviar, which I’ve never had before, and to be honest it was surprisingly tasty. My dish also came with a ramekin filled with curried mayonnaise, which definitely woke up my tastebuds. If you love sauces, then you need to try this, it’s a game changer. It complemented the scotch egg perfectly, I could have ate the entire thing all over again.
I also couldn’t resist having a try of Corey’s sausage, which was beautifully cooked, and the aioli sauce was surprising but delicious. Corey isn’t really a fan of starters (he’s got more of a sweet tooth), but even he said it was one of the best he’s ever had.
Our mains quickly followed, and oh-boy, were they generous portions. My fish was hanging off either side of my plate, while Corey’s burger was almost toppling over. My mouth was watering just looking at it and once I decided how I was going to tackle it, I dived right in.
The fish was cooked to perfection; as soon as I cut into the crispy coating the fish just fell apart. It was light, tender and fresh. Plus the batter wasn’t greasy, which made this fish a winner in my eyes. The fish was lay on a bed of beef dripping chips.
Normally when it comes to fish and chips, I smother the lot in salt and vinegar, but trust me, these chips needed no seasoning. With every bite they was bursting with flavour, towards the end I was so full, but I just couldn’t leave the chips and had to finish them. My sides included mushy peas, tartar sauce and a wedge of fresh lemon, which were just the perfect combination.
Corey demolished his burger so fast, I didn’t even get a chance to try it, and it looked pretty good too. The steak burger was topped with cheese and crispy bacon and came with a side of onion rings, slaw and beef dripping chips. Corey totally agreed with me that the chips were incredible.
I was totally in the state of “no, I’m full, I can’t eat anymore,” then five minutes later I couldn’t resist picking up the dessert menu and ordering a Sticky Toffee Pudding. Served with a freshly brewed cuppa, was a generous portion of homemade toffee pudding covered in a sweet, sticky butterscotch sauce with cool vanilla ice cream.
I was introduced to Sticky Toffee Pudding only a few months ago (thank you Chloe), and I’m not sure why I didn’t try them sooner, as I love desserts like this. They’re warm, gooey and satisfy my sweet tooth; they’re basically the perfect way to end a meal.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with The Clubhouse Restaurant. From the presentation of the food to the quality, taste and even the service, I couldn’t fault anything. I was also really blown away by the venue and its surroundings, it’s such a beautiful place to visit.
If you’re looking to try somewhere new, fancy a romantic evening away or just want to treat your friend or partner, for the quality you receive at such a small price tag, I would definitely recommend The Clubhouse Restaurant.
Have you been to this eatery before? Have you tried the other restaurants at Rockliffe Hall?
Sarah Jayne x
I received a complimentary meal in exchange for a review. My words all completely my own and my opinion is 100% honest