Having reviewed Jesmond Dene House this time last year for our graduation issue I’m now no stranger to the impressive fairy-tale building that is hidden in the Dene. However, I couldn’t have been happier when after announcing they had a brand new menu conceptualized by chef Danny Parker, formerly of Michelin Star restaurant House of Tides, they invited back for another year to see how the new menu stacks up and whether I’d recommend it for graduation.
The beautiful classic building and surroundings of the hotel never get old: picturesque in any weather. Separated from the busyness of the city center the house always gives a sense of escapism, taking you away from normal life whether only for a night or a long stay. Rocking up for a gals night out I was highly anticipating the new menu, and we kicked the evening off with a bottle of prosecco to fully embrace the feeling of being ladies of leisure for one night only.
The main was definitely the star of the show, Maggie and myself both choosing the Braised Feather Blade of Beef, Triple Cooked Chips, Tenderstem Broccoli
The atmosphere of the bar and the restaurant was calm and sophisticated, and our waitress was not only highly attentive but lovely to talk to, joking with us and helping us feel at ease. While we dined from the A la Carte menu the house is offering a specially tailored graduation set menu throughout the congregations period to make those massive family gatherings that little bit easier.
On this occasion though, for starters we ordered Potted Scottish Salmon, Herb Crème Fraiche & Milk Loaf, Whitby Crab, Jersey Royals Potato and Dill & Chicken Skin and Venison & Pistachio Terrine, Cornichons and Dandelion with Toasted Sourdough. I had the Salmon and despite being a little bit surprised by the appearance of dish, I thoroughly enjoyed the taste. The flavors were rich and fresh simultaneously and the sourdough was the perfect soft accompaniment to the creamy texture of the potted salmon.
None the less the main was definitely the star of the show, Maggie and myself both choosing the Braised Feather Blade of Beef, Triple Cooked Chips, Tenderstem Broccoli. The portion size was immense yet still visually appealing, and the dish was simple but beautiful. The rich beef and gravy was countered perfectly with simple chips and broccoli and everything had been cut to perfection. A very special meal to say the least. My guest assured me that the cod main was delightful, cooked with a crispy skin but tender underneath, the potato underneath smooth and in combination with the clams was ‘sublime.’
Whether you’re just looking for a restaurant location for your graduation meal or you have friends or family coming from out of town to stay over the graduation period I’d definitely recommend both the restaurant and the hotel to those looking to celebrate in style this graduation
For desert we opted for a variety of different choices, from the Apple Tart, Gooseberry Ice cream & Pine to Orange & Mascarpone Crème Brulee with Vanilla Shortbread Finger and most extravagantly a selection of cheeses from the infamous local cheese table. Our waitress described opting for the cheese board as a real experience, and despite being the priciest choice on the menu, it did not disappoint. Impressively our server knew all the different cheeses off by heart and there was one heck of a variety of cheese to choose from. My guest noted that the apple tart was very tangy, but was still very nice and the Flourie wine paired really well with all three courses.
The whole meal was a very decadent experience, and the restaurant itself had a great atmosphere. It was spacious and with minimal decoration to allow the historical structure of the house to speak for itself: having recently been refurbished in collaboration with local award winning designer Karen Walker. It was safe to say we were all relaxed, slightly merry and very much enjoying our stay.
After dinner we went up to our room. Last year we stayed in one of the rooms in the houses extension. But this year our room was located within the house itself, and I was really excited to see how the two rooms would be different. While this room was a little bit smaller than last years, I think this is understandable due to the limitations of space in the house. This is not to say the room was particularly small in any case, with space for two chairs and a small table in the bay window. It was this architectural aspect that I think made this room particularly special, the classic style of the building maintained within the room and adding an elegant feel.
The amenities were way more comprehensive than your usual overnight stay with a mini fridge full of snacks and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on offer. While it took us a good couple of minutes to find the kettle and tea hidden away in the cupboard we really couldn’t fault anything: an elegant room with a picturesque view over the Dene.
One stand out feature of the room with this year as with last year was the quality of the bed itself, with my guest remarking that they found it equally as difficult to get up after a couple of snoozes of the alarm as I did last year. Breakfast in the morning was stress free and filling- with a range of modern options on their menu and an extremely comprehensive continental platter on offer. My guest noted that the conservatory was a lovely spot to sit in the morning and their bacon sandwich was stuffed full of bacon, the perfect cure for any hint of hangover.
Whether you’re just looking for a restaurant location for your graduation meal or you have friends or family coming from out of town to stay over the graduation period I’d definitely recommend both the restaurant and the hotel to those looking to celebrate in style this graduation. With their graduation set menu at £35 you can dine in luxury without completely breaking the bank. If you are looking to indulge in something more extravagant all the houses private dining rooms have been refurbished. Overall, Jesmond Dene House is the perfect place to leave the stressed of uni life behind and treat yourself for a few days, an overnight stay or even just for an evening of indulgence.