So when I was invited to try the new brunch at Hotel du Vin in Newcastle I was expecting plates of eggs benedict, toast, coffee and orange juice. I was not expecting a four course sunday lunch complete with a seafood and cold meats buffet bar.
Unlike its partner hotel the Malmaison on the Quayside (PURPLE), the decor is a tastefully up market, lots of dark wood, shades of grey and green reminiscent of an old country estate. The lovely old Tyne Shipping Company building plays its part of course.
The brunch starts with a soup, it was yellow, I think vegetable but heavy on the cream, and all round rather nice, but was really just a pause before the main event the 'Market Table' a huge table laid out with cured meats and fish, seafood and terrines.
I could have happily just eaten this all afternoon, just out of shot is a huge leg of serrano ham, another highlight being the homemade terrine of pork and pickles in the bottom left corner. Aside from the odd breakfast, I can't remember the last time I went for a buffet but this was rather great, all of my favourite foods laid out in plentiful supply. I really wish I'd worn an outfit with bigger pockets.
After a buffet of pretty much pure protein, a roast beef dinner was next up. The beef was slightly on the fatty side and could have done with being sliced thicker but was a deep pink and juicy and the Yorkshire pudding was a total beast and roast potatoes were double crispy.
Accompanied by a couple of glasses of a beaujolais this was turning into the heartiest brunch I'd ever had. Dessert was a light choux pastry case filled with creamy vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce, which sounds like it would be cloying after the previous courses but wasn't at all.
For £19.95 it seems like decent value, given the mark for a roast dinner alone is often hovering above £10. The brunch at Hotel du Vin isn't a quick dinner, it isn't for days when you have plans to do *anything at all* because afterwards the only thing I wanted to do was curl up on the sofa with the paper, read a couple of paragraphs then take a nap.
It embodies the sentiment of brunch, of a lazy, casual meal for lots of people and gossip, even if it is clearly sunday lunch.
I was invited to try the sunday brunch menu by Hotel du Vin.
Hotel du Vin Newcastle is on City Road, NE1 2BE. You can find out more and book at their website.