When my friend announced some wonderful news, I knew we had to celebrate over dinner somewhere special.
But with impending threats of a blizzard we couldn’t go too far so decided to set our sights closer to home with a visit to Hotel Van Dyk near Clowne.
The AA luxury 4 Star hotel boasts The Bowden Restaurant, which dishes up the very best in fine cuisine.
We chose The Grill Room which prides itself on ‘affordable luxury’ - offering brasserie-style cuisine within a modern and contemporary setting for an informal yet elegant dining experience.
The hotel’s grounds were beautifully lit - capturing a stunning winter wonderland scene and setting the tone for our visit.
The interior was equally stunning and we were given a warm welcome as we took our seats in the chic dining area to peruse the menu.
There was plenty of choice on offer, from starters, mains and vegetarian dishes to salads and sandwiches - all with that special twist.
My friend went for the Deep Fried Whitby Cod served with chunky chips and mushy peas for £9.95 while I chose the Breaded Halloumi served with stewed tomatoes, basil and pine nut salad for £10.95. What arrived to our table was a veritable feast for the eyes, prompting my friend to say it looked far too good to spoil. But it was us who were spoilt as we tucked in - every mouthful an absolutely delight.
From the chips served in a mini wire basket to my sauce in a copper saucepan, every detail had been paid to attention.
The strips of halloumi were cooked to perfection and complemented the rich, thick tomato sauce, crisp salad and roasted baby veg - all drizzled with a delicious balsamic glaze. I was sad when it was over.
My friend commented her meal was how fish and chips ‘should be done’ and said the batter was really light and crispy.
Choosing a dessert was not an easy task from the enticing range available, but I eventually plumped for the Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Brownie, served with crème anglaise and pistachio ice cream (£5.95) .
It was delicately presented, topped with candied pistachios, and the moist and gooey brownie was absolutely delicious.
Our bill, with drinks, came to £34 which was reasonable considering the high quality of food, presentation and service we experienced on our visit.
The Grill Room definitely delivered on its ‘affordable’ luxury promise and was worth every penny.
As we left we noticed Hotel Van Dyk has now started a special afternoon tea menu - bookable in advance. I can definitely see us making a return visit to try it out.
by Chantal Spittles