David Bootle heads down to try out the newly opened 19 Saltburn in Tees Valley…
On a brisk November evening, my partner and I found ourselves travelling to Saltburn. Not my usual evening-time activity on a Friday night… but this was for good reason and well worth it. We were on our way to experience fine dining in Tees Valley after the recent opening of 19 Saltburn.
About 19 Saltburn
The former GoonDocks in Saltburn re-opened recently to the public as a coffee shop and fine dining eatery under the new name of 19.
The Milton Street premises have already opened to serve food during the day, offering freshly baked pastries and cakes (which looked delectable).
In the late afternoon through the evening, its doors are then opened as a fine dining establishment – bringing a sense of utter gastronomic sophistication to Saltburn – a coastal town on the up with a great sense of ambition.
The interior at 19 Saltburn
As we walk in we are immediately immersed in the refined atmosphere of 19. The recent renovations have revitalised the building. The glass and wrought iron frontage adding a touch of historic elegance to the setting.
As we step inside, the ambience is nothing short of excellent. There is a real convivial buzz to the place. The decor reflects a tasteful sophistication that immediately sets the tone for an unforgettable dining experience.
The food at 19 Saltburn
The culinary journey begins with a symphony of flavours and textures that dance beautifully on the palate. The snacks ‘as they are called’ provide a great start to the evening and really whet the appetite.
The staff were very knowledgeable but didn’t overwhelm us. Just a nice accompaniment of knowledge to set the tone for each dish and its accompanying wine flight.
The ‘Jammie Dodger’ chicken liver, accompanied by a Cumberland gel and Parmesan sable, set the stage for the culinary artistry to unfold.
The dishes are not merely well-prepared; they are meticulously crafted, each element fresh, expertly seasoned, and immaculately presented.
The beef tartare with Pomme Anna and leek velouté was a testament to the chef’s dedication to perfection. The crispness and crunchiness of the potato base offset the subtle flavours of the tartare.
The pig cheek tostada, intertwined with apple and celeriac, offered a delightful interplay of flavours, leaving a lasting impression.
Although all of a high standard and wonderfully tasty, the pig cheek stood out with a real depth and richness of flavour.
The wine pairing
The accompanying wine flight was a harmonious partner to the meticulously prepared courses. The Two Copper Series Wilde Chardonnay from the Hunter Valley, Australia, was truly exquisite and gracefully complemented the delicate flavours of the Cod dish, where cauliflower and miso cream took centre stage.
I don’t tend to be a huge fan of white (or Chardonnay particularly) but this had a real sense of depth, not too acidic, crisp and refreshing and a wonderful pairing.
The Chapel Town Brut from Sussex, England, added a touch of elegance, seamlessly pairing with the Ratte potato, alliums, kohlrabi and samphire ensemble, showcasing a perfect balance of flavours.
The Venison dish, adorned with carrot, puy lentil, and red cabbage, stood out as a masterpiece, a medley of rich and harmonious flavours. This was accompanied by the Alma de Chile, Pinot Noir special reserva – such a subtle sophisticated flavour, enhancing the flavour of the perfectly cooked venison.
However, the true highlight of the evening was the exquisite Ratte potato purée, boasting a remarkable texture that elevated the entire dining experience to a different level.
To culminate this extraordinary culinary journey, the dessert, Buttermilk with raspberry and malt and Chocolate with cherry, pistachio, and lime, was nothing short of a spectacular finale.
Each element, meticulously plated, showcased the chef’s artistry in blending flavours and textures to create a delightful symphony for the senses.
The Bulas LBV vintage port to finish the flight had such depth of flavour, with subtle hints of herbs and spices.
A word from the chef
Following our exquisite meal, we have the privilege of engaging with the culinary genius behind these creations, head chef David McBride.
His enthusiasm and passion for his craft are palpable as he shares insights into the menu and the inspiration behind each dish.
McBride’s dedication to delivering an unparalleled dining experience was evident in every bite, elevating the evening to an unforgettable culinary adventure.
As we savoured our final moments at 19, it was evident that Saltburn is indeed up and coming, having attracted investment and rejuvenation – with a renewed sense of ambition.
This establishment, with its innovative menu and dedication to culinary excellence, is a testament to the town’s growing allure as a destination for connoisseurs of fine dining.
In my humble estimation, our visit to 19 was not just a meal but a journey through the artistry and dedication of a talented culinary team.
With an ambience that reflects elegance, a menu crafted with precision, and a head chef passionate about his craft, this dining experience was an unforgettable exploration of taste and refinement.
£65 per person, all courses served. Add a wine flight for £45 per person