Rockliffe Hall is the home of laid-back, luxury living in Hurworth, near Darlington. It’s a place where you can check in and switch off – whether you’re there for a spa break, a weekend getaway or for a bite to eat. A gorgeous, restored red-brick building standing proudly on the Rockliffe site, surrounded by lush greenery and various sporting facilities including a world-class golf course. The Brasserie itself is a tranquil hideaway above the spa. Somewhere you can dine in your dressing gown if you’re in for a spa day, or somewhere casual you can meet friends for brunch, lunch and dinner. It’s a tasteful space – warm brown hues and big feature windows offering far reaching views over the grounds. The room is bright and buzzy – perfect for a bite to eat and a catch up with friends and family. The restaurant serves up seasonal specials to ensure you are always getting the best fresh ingredients and dishes the North East has to offer.
We’re in for a plate of pick-me-up Sunday brunch – and although we’re not checking in at the spa, we still get that ‘turn up and switch off’ feel. It’s a vibe the whole place adopts. It’s relaxed and it’s refreshing. A staircase up from the spa reception brings us to The Brasserie – a cosy, yet contemporary place decked out with tasteful Christmas decorations. Gold hues warm up the place on a crisp December morning. We’re seated by the window, facing out towards the Spa Garden and the grounds. Chirpy groups of festive friends fill up the tables as crackers are pulled and Christmas cheer spreads as seasonal brunch is served. We soak up the atmosphere and scour the menu…
With all the breakfast favourites from tea and coffee to fresh juices and healthy smoothies, there’s certainly something that will tickle your fancy here. The Virgin Bloody Mary (£6) is my drink of choice, while my brunch buddy opts for the fresh orange juice (£4). Both arrive in tall tumblers and upon our first sip, it’s clear they’re as fresh as can be. Brunch-goers can choose from ‘Eye Openers’ – boozy or punchy breakfast cocktails to fight that Sunday morning struggle perhaps? Options include a Bloody Mary, Virgin Mary and a Breakfast Bellini. You can also choose from juices, smoothies, milkshakes and all your tea and coffee favourites.
The festive season is about meeting up with friends and family and indulging in good-for-the-soul food that warms you inside and out. Throughout the Christmas holidays (until Sunday 7 January 2018), The Brasserie will be serving up seasonal brunch filled with festive twists and turns. Diners can choose from brekkie favourites such as Eggs Benedict, bacon buns and the full works – and if you’re feeling more adventurous you can opt for something seasonal such as gingerbread pancakes and smoked salmon and sprout omelettes. You can kick things off with something from the pastries, fruits and grains section – including some seriously good, festive-infused goodies. For the main event, brunch-goers can choose from the Rockliffe Classics section or the Wensleydale Eggs menu featuring free range eggs cooked in every way you wish. Sides of chunky chips, skinny fries, Heinz baked beans, avocado, hash browns, onion rings and mixed salad are available if you’d like to complete the package. The Brasserie’s festive brunch is available daily from 10.30am until 12 noon (and until 2pm on Sundays).
What we ate
A two-course brunch is on the cards – and I decide to kick things off with the nutty cinamon granola served with honey, Greek yoghurt and milk. A refreshing way to start the day – injecting a bit of love back into the body with the perfect balance of sweet and savoury. My brunch date opts for the fresh chopped fruit and is pleased to see a colourful display of exotic fruits arrive just moments later. I follow up the feast with Eggs Benedict from the Wensleydale Eggs section of the menu. Slices of local bacon, zippy hollandaise sauce and poached eggs cooked to perfection, sitting atop a crisp breakfast muffin that oozes with flavour as the hollandaise and egg yolk effortlessly blends together. I order a side of avocado to seal the deal. My companion goes all out with the Full English Breakfast. Two poached eggs, bacon, sausage, grilled tomato, Portobello mushroom, Heinz baked beans, black pudding and toast. What more could you want? All ingredients is fresh, local and truly delicious – a great start to a super Sunday.