I’m always on the lookout for new places to visit, especially if there is new food to try, so when I heard that the County Hotel in Newcastle was opening a new bar and restaurant I couldn’t wait to pay them a visit.
The promotional pictures on social media looked fantastic and the menu sounded very tempting so I suggested to Sian that we go one night after work for a few cocktails and a bite to eat. Last week they had an offer on for 50% off all meals and drinks so it was the perfect time to try it out.
When we arrived I was really impressed with the look of the place. From outside it looks quite grand and traditional, in keeping with the County and Vermont hotels. Inside is just as chic, with a beautiful bar area leading through to the restaurant. We were shown to a booth which had a private, luxurious feel to it. The interiors have been well thought out and the overall look is very decadent but there is still a laid back feel.
Our waiter was really friendly and helpful and when I asked for their non alcoholic cocktail options he was happy to speak to the barman about various mocktails and even recommended one for me which was delicious! The menu is a relatively small selection of really good dishes. There is something to suit everybody’s taste from the a la carte menu as well as a sophisticated selection of bar bites and even a breakfast menu. Even though they don’t overwhelm you with too much choice I still found it difficult to decide what to have. I decided to go for the rolled goats cheese with asparagus, beetroot and chive salad while Sian went for the Hadrian beef carpaccio with horseradish cream, shallot and parsley oil. I must admit we wolfed them down so fast that by the time the waiter came to ask if we were enjoying them we’d already finished! What can I say? We were hungry and they were delicious.
For drinks I stuck to mocktails as I was designated driver. I forgot to get the name of the one I’d had as it was made by the barman and wasn’t actually on the menu but it was strawberry and passionfruit flavour so if any of you don’t want to drink alcohol, I would highly recommend it. However, I was quite disappointed that I had the car because the actual cocktail menu looks fantastic with loads of drinks I wanted to try. Sian chose a cocktail called ‘Colour of Gin’ which consisted of Star of Bombay Gin, lime, hudson homemade tonic and magic ice. It changed colour when adding the tonic and looked pretty cool. I did have a little sip and it tasted very summery and refreshing.
For the main course I was again undecided between the sea bass and the belly pork but I decided to go for the fish and Sian chose the pork so we could both see what the other dish was like. I was really pleased with my choice, the sea bass was infused with lemon and accompanied by coconut & coriander roast potatoes, green beans and served with a delicious lemon cream. It was absolutely amazing and just the right amount of food. Sian’s main course was slow cooked belly pork with pan fried pork tenderloin, carrot texture, buttered mash potato and kale served with thyme jus. It looked absolutely fantastic and both dishes were beautifully presented with edible flowers.
After the quality of the food for the starters and mains we couldn’t resist having a look at the dessert menu. Sian decided to order the sticky toffee pudding with brandy snap tuile and vanilla ice cream while I decided to try the trio of desserts which consisted of double chocolate chip brownie, Paris brest and Lemon tart. It was all so tasty but I particularly liked the Paris brest which was definitely worth the calories!
The staff were so attentive and friendly and made sure we were happy with all of our choices. I think the entire dining experience was just lovely and you would never have guessed that they had only recently opened. Some places can have teething problems for the first few weeks but everything here was perfect.
I will definitely be back to try some of the other dishes and I’d also like to try their Sunday dinner and breakfast menus. Thanks for the staff for making us feel so welcome!