The Restaurant at Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle: restaurant review
Try creamy Whitby crab, flaky halibut with smoked mussels and cheeses from Yorkshire’s Courtyard Dairy at this modern fine-dining restaurant
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The Restaurant at Jesmond Dene House in a nutshell
A British fine-dining restaurant highlighting produce from the north, housed in grand Jesmond Dene House hotel tucked next to the Ouseburn river in leafy Jesmond.
What’s the vibe?
Splashes of burnt orange in velvet cushions add a little colour, while modern art hangs on stone grey walls. Tables come simply laid with white linen cloths and single stems of flowers.
Take a seat in the traditional dining room, where bookcases are filled with Penguin classics and striped carpet lines the floor, or head to the adjoining garden room which boasts views of the terrace, and an all-round fresher vibe.
What’s the food like?
A recent menu overhaul means that there are now two menus to choose from at the hotel – the ‘house’ which offers the likes of chicken with fries, sirloin steak and salmon fishcakes, and the a la carte, where the kitchen likes to show its creative side.
Modern British food is the focus of the latter, with fine-dining dishes being given an imaginative twist. We loved the super savoury addition of roasted yeast and smoked salt to whipped butter with sourdough, which was followed by a delicate round of creamy Whitby crab, flecked with sharp pink grapefruit, croutons and salty sea herbs. Tender beef tartare, another starter, was mellowed with a naturally salty Lindisfarne oyster sauce, and came served with mushroom slithers dusted in parsley powder, packing an umami kick.
For mains, a generous fillet of flaky halibut and smoked mussels are lifted with a sweetness from golden raisins and silky cauliflower purée, while perfectly pink venison sang with tangy red cabbage and black garlic.
With an ex Rogan and Co pastry chef in the team, desserts are a must. Yorkshire rhubarb came in jam, granita and mousse form with roasted chestnuts chunks adding a welcome earthiness to all that sharpness. On our visit, we tried the rich dark chocolate mousse-cum-cake, where spiced pear and a quenelle of ginger ice cream add warmth.
Save room for the cheese, impressively wheeled to your table on a trolley (and more impressively, made by one of the hotel's directors). Let Chris talk you through the 13-strong selection, all of which comes from north Yorkshire's Courtyard Dairy.
And the drinks?
Choose from the extensive wine menu peppered with a few new world options, or let sommelier Alex make matches for you.
A light bodied, floral glass of Morande Gran Reserva Pinot Noir came alongside the beef before a fruity Ars in Vitro (translating as art in glass) for the game.
Château De Beaulon Vieille Reserve Ruby cognac with its notes of black cherry and prunes is perfect with chocolate.
The chefs here make the most of what they have to hand, with apple and pear trees in the garden, and wild garlic foraged from the dene, and there are plans to grow more of their own are in the process. Look out for Japanese wineberries and preserved strawberries making an appearance next year.
A full dining room refurb is set, too, with bespoke serving boards being made by Lake District-based Wavy Grain.
The Restaurant at Jesmond Dene House, Jesmond Dene Road, Newcastle, NE2 2EY
Words by Ellie Edwards