Family Dining at The Rib Room, Ramside Hall
My family would always go to Ramside Hall if there was a special occasion. We’d enjoyed the meals we’d had at The Rib Room, favouring its ‘traditional’ decor and the menu on offer. Apart from dining at Fusion, the new-ish restaurant housed in the spa development, it had been years since I’d ventured into the hotel itself for food. You can read about our experience at the spa here.
Some may question why we decided to book such a meat-orientated restaurant when there’s a vegan lurking in our midst. I know when I called ahead of the visit to see if there were dishes that could be adapted I was greeted with that sort of incredulity. That said, I was told the chef would be happy to create something for Mr. Canny so myself and my Dad could sample the meaty fare on offer.
The restaurant has an ‘old world’ charm about it, with comfortable booth tables as well tables for couples and families. Dining on a Monday evening, I was surprised and pleased to see so many families in the restaurant. Having looked at the menu online before visiting, my plan was to go for the vegetarian dishes while my Dad tried out the famous steaks. With the meat sourced locally – there’s a board telling you where it has been reared – I thought he’d be keen to try out their speciality. After hearing the specials, however, he opted for fish. This meant I had to change my own plans as I didn’t think it would be proper to do a review of The Rib Room and not eat any of Durham’s finest beef.
Dad ordered seared scallops (£10.50) to start, which were served with al dente asparagus and parma ham. He said they were perfectly cooked and not chewy, which can happen when they’ve been overcooked. His main of halibut (£19.50) was also well received, especially the butter sauce which accompanied. We both agreed when fish is fresh you don’t need to over complicate the dish with lots of fancy ingredients. Both and scallops and the halibut were the stars of the show, and their quality shone through.
Mr. Canny’s starter of Puy Lentils (£7.95) was ‘veganised’ by the omission of the herb creme fraiche it is usually served with. The pickled cucumber garnish was vinegary enough to balance out the peppery legumes.
His main of Nut Roast may seem a little uninspired, but he thoroughly enjoyed it. It was kept moist with a Provencal sauce, and was served with a timbale of rice. This is not usually on the menu, but we’ve been assured that vegans are normally accommodated with notice as Mr. Canny was.
I couldn’t resist the Durham Cheddar Souffle for my opener. It was cooked perfectly; a crusty exterior gave way to a creamy moist interior. It was light, which meant I still had room for my delicious main.
The meat on this particular week was reared by Mr. Frank Dove, who has a farm in Bishop Middleham. I ordered a 6oz fillet (£19.95), which apparently is ‘perfect for a lady’. I’ll refrain from comment as many of the ladies I know would struggle to manage an 18oz Porterhouse steak!
With a choice of skinny fries, hand cut chips or a number of other accoutrements as optional sides, I decided upon the Fondant Potato and a traditional Diane sauce. The meat was cooked medium, although it probably was a touch pink still for me. That said, because I’m not a frequent meat eater now that I may be more ‘sensitive’ about its appearance than I was in the past. The meat was juicy and flavourful, and I’m pleased I chose The Rib Room to have my seldom-eaten steak than a chain with an inferior standard of produce.
Both my Dad and Mr. Canny were stuffed after their meals, but I still had room for dessert. Eschewing more traditional puds, I plumped for their chocolate filled Gnocchi with caramelised banana (£6.95). Similar to doughnuts, these dumplings were lighter than I’d anticipated. The sweet banana worked well with the slightly bitter chocolate sauce. This could have been sickly, but somehow it worked. It was too much for me though, and I was bested by it. After so much food, it would have been better to share a dessert than try to heroically eat it all myself.
With vegan wine available – the menu isn’t marked with this info so we researched using an app – we felt Mr. Canny was well taken care of. The Rib Room probably isn’t to the taste of non-meat eaters when it comes to dining out, but if there’s a special family occasion coming up it’s good to know that the higher end establishments such as this will cater for you regardless. With vegetarian options such as Courgette Frittata and Goats Cheese Filo Tart to be had as either a starter or main course, I feel thought has been put in to ensure the restaurant is welcoming to anyone with a dietary requirement.
With wine for Mr. Canny and soft drinks for me and Dad, the meal came in at just under £110. This was certainly not a cheap meal by anyone’s standards for 2 courses (3 for me), but we felt for a special occasion it was worth pushing the boat out. The food and service were exceptional, and we certainly wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Ramside Hall to our friends.
Thanks for reading,
Check out the Canny Food Twitter account for foodie news and reviews here.