Black Knight Restaurant Review…
Restaurant review: Black Knight Restaurant at Lumley Castle
Chronicle Entertainment Editor Gordon Barr reviews the Black Knight restaurant at Lumley Castle
Next month I am heading to Lumley Castle for a wedding.
I’ve been to this iconic North East venue on numerous occasions but have to admit it had been a while since I sampled some of the food served up here.
Obviously wedding fayre is not the same as what you would get on a nightly basis in the wonderful Black Knight restaurant, but the fact I was going to a nuptials dinner at the castle made me want to refresh myself with the standard of food on offer.
So off we traipsed to Chester-le-Street for an evening of what we hoped would be fine dining with a couple of friends.
I love the set-up at Lumley. It retains that classic old feel to it with the uneven floors (less abled bodies are catered for too, though) and it does have a certain grandeur throughout.
The Black Knight restaurant is the jewel in the Lumley crown, it has a wonderful setting and is beautifully laid out.
It was a glorious evening the night we ventured there and our table was close to the doors leading out on to an equally glorious view.
The a la carte menu changes from time to time but when we were there the choices were plentiful.
Two of us decided to go for the guacamole mousse encased in tomato jelly with a crisp tortilla basket, ranch salad, sour cream and lime tequila jel (£7).
The mousse itself was wonderfully light and I loved the crispiness of the basket.
We were at odds with the tomato jelly – it didn’t suit my taste buds, but my friend adored it. We both agreed though that the lime tequila jel hit the spot.
The asparagus with hollandaise sauce poached egg served with an asparagus and mascarpone mousse and crispy soldiers (£7.95) also proved a hit, with the vegetable cooked to perfection.
Lobster ravioli with porcini mushrooms, rocket and beef consomme (£8.95) sounded like a dream, and my pal loved the ravioli, although he did think the consomme lacked something, but he couldn’t quite work out what. Nonetheless, he enjoyed his starter.
The current a la carte starters include mouthwatering delights like Thai style crab cake, pea and mint risotto and a salad of beetroot-marinated monkfish.
For main course I tried the rump of veal with pear cider cassoulet, cider and sage jus pan fried local Doreen black pudding and pear crisps (£18.50).
There was nothing to fault about this dish whatsoever. It had been well over a year since I had tasted veal, and I soon remembered what I had been missing. The meat was so, so tender and the cassoulet and jus were the perfect accompaniments.
Pan fried red mullet with smoked mackerel mousse, dill potato croquets, confit of fennel, caper berries finished with a parsley sauce vierge (£18) was the choice of one of my friends.
Her comments? “Great flavours which complemented each other, fish was delicious.” One happy woman then.
Her hubby had the Lumley Castle signature dish: Lumley beef fillet stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in Parma ham and served on potato rosti with wild mushrooms and port wine jus (£26.50).
It sounded terrific on paper, and it transferred to the palate equally well. Of her hubby’s reaction to the meal, Bea said: “It was a good, hearty man-sized meal and I could almost see him beating his chest as he ate it!”. I have to agree, he did seem rather satisfied.
Unlike Fusspot – but then again, he IS Fusspot. He had the local herb fed free range chicken with mini Kiev, pea puree, fondant potato, homemade tomato ketchup and sea salt and balsamic jelly (£18.50).
While he `liked’ the dish, he found it not as creative or as full of flavours as the menu description suggested. That said, he seemed to finish every last drop, so he must have enjoyed it to a degree.
The current menu still has the signature dish while other tempting meals include oven baked hake with carrot and ginger puree, chicken and chorizo ballantine, parsnip and sweet corn pancakes and breats of Gresisngham duck.
I’ve been trying to lose weight for my summer holidays, but couldn’t resist the local cheese and biscuits served with tomato chutney, celery and grapes (£7.50). Simply delicious with a selection of Northumberland oak smoked, Northumberland Elsdon, Northumberland Nettle, parlour made Mordon Blue and parlour made Durham Camembert.
All in all a great meal with great company in a great setting. It’s little wonder Lumley has built such a reputation over the years and it is definitely worth visiting.
I’m looking forward to next month’s nuptials even more now.