FINDING an understated luxury dining experience at a price that won’t break the bank is not always easy.
Eating out can be cheap but ‘great value’ meal deals don’t always live up to the taste test, and sometimes you just want somewhere with that extra special touch.
Hotel Van Dyk in Clowne has undergone an impressive refurbishment in recent times, so we decided to pay the Grill Room a return visit to see if it could deliver both on price and experience.
The new-look Grill room, which sits alongside the fine-dining Bowden Room restaurant, offers a ‘unique concept of Brasserie cuisine within a relaxed and contemporary visit’, according to the hotel’s impressive website.
Stepping in from the arctic cold, it was delightful to be greeted with luxurious and warm surroundings as we took our seats in the opulent but tastefully- decorated restaurant.
The menu boasts ‘Affordable Luxury’ and featured plenty of mouthwatering meals, from starters, salads and sandwiches to mains and a pleasingly-extensive choice of vegetarian options - many of which can be ordered as a starter or a main.
I plumped for the Pan-Fried Halloumi (£9.95) which was served with roasted vegetables and a sun-blushed tomato and balsamic dressing.
My friend took longer to deliberate - the choice is that good - but eventually went for the Escalope of Chicken (£9.45), served with creamed leeks, crispy Parma ham and a potato croquette.
I couldn’t help but think £10 was a lot for a main course but when our dishes arrived it was clear to see how Van Dyks sets itself apart from the crowd.
My dish was a delight - the roasted vegetables were dressed with an unusual warm salad and bathed in a fantastic dressing.
And my dining companion’s main looked equally appetising, accompanied by a little copper saucepan of home-made gravy.
But we hadn’t seen anything yet - I had to to order dessert and decided on the Warm Chocolate and Raspberry Brownie (£5.50) served with clotted cream and crushed berries.
What actually arrived was something I’d have willingly paid £10 for.
It came on a black slate with extra individual mini tarts and chocolates - all decorated with a white chocolate and raspberry compote flower.
It was a culinary painting made in heaven and worth every mouthful.
The service was friendly but we were waiting a bit too long at times - although the restaurant did fill up very quickly.
But the Grill Room definitely ticked the box for experience and price and I will definitely be making a return visit.
by Chantal Spittles
Star rating 4HHHH