We arrived on a Thursday evening to find a handful of well-dressed couples enjoying intimate late suppers and friends clinking glasses in celebration of the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend. Some may say it’s a ‘fancy’ place, but there’s no pretension in the air – in fact, it’s deliciously laid-back.
It’s an opulent space; golden, sparkling chandeliers, plush velvet booths and a chic, sleek bar that reminds us of the kind you find in the depths of Manhattan. Many hotel restaurants can lack decadence, but Seaham Hall’s is pure luxury. Dine after dark to truly unwind, when the lighting dims and the atmosphere soothes.
For once, we turned down a few G&Ts in favour of a bottle of crisp white wine and sparkling water, but go with what you fancy. There’s plenty of vino, spirits and cocktails on offer.
The focus is on hearty British ingredients and local producers where possible. You’ll find things like Cumbrian lamb and North Shields turbot on the new, revamped menu, which is available now and inspired by the summer months. Starters range from £12, mains from £18-£28 and desserts a tenner each.
We started with grass-fed Hereford beef (£12), flash-grilled for a crisp, slightly charred crust and a baby pink, juicy centre. Joined by fresh, perfectly soft Norfolk asparagus and pickled, woody Saint George mushrooms – two mouthwatering sides that complemented the meat really well. Our dining partner sampled the plump Isle of Skye scallops (£16) with steamed veggies and fragrant turnip, all drizzled in a light and herby vinegar to bring the dish (and the tastebuds) to life. For mains, it had to be the Cumbrian lamp rump (£28), served with langoustine (always a crowd-pleaser), poached and smothered in its own, rich butter. Desserts included a Nutella-like hazelnut praline sponge (£10), served with baked white chocolate, malted milk and a few scoops of cocoa nib ice cream, and a hearty portion of baked, ‘vanillary’ custard (£10), with sweet and tangy poached Yorkshire rhubarb sorbet (our favourite) and a sprinkling of toasted oats. Very satisfying indeed.