Hotel & Restaurant Reviews

These reviews are my own views (and some of those of my wife too as she accompanies me and has her opinions too), none of these reviews are written to curry favour or for payment, they are simply our unbiased view of the experience we had.

I am not looking to annoy, these are just written to simply inform, too often reviews are printed as an advertisement for a business and are therefore never really true to life, many are written with a bias of some sort as most people have an agenda. While I try to leave any bias I may have at the door, it can however be difficult when some are not what they purport to be.

What qualifies me to make the judgements I do in these pages you may well ask as so few that write reviews on this subject have little or no practical experience in hospitality to draw on. See my biography page to find out how the 54 years I have so far spent in the industry endorse that knowledge and make the reviews pertinent not only to potential customers but also to owners and staff of the business too.

"At last a Michelin star Restaurant critic who can actually bl**dy cook and knows their Roux, Blancs and Tarte Tatin’s"
Quote from John Benson-Smith

Crab & Lobster
Asenby, Nr. Thirsk

From the outside, having never been before, I did wonder if I’d made a mistake, the Crab & Lobster boasts a very large car park and a rather dishevelled looking building and to find it adorned with items more akin to Whitby sea front than this restaurant well inland, even given the name, seems a little incongruous., not to mention the garden full of enamelled baths!

Prévost Restaurant, Haycock Manor Hotel


We’ve stayed at the Haycock in Wansford, just off the A1 not far from Peterborough on 3 occasions now. This pretty sleepy little village with the river Nene meandering through it and its picturesque stone houses is quintessentially English. The Hotel also built in stone I’ve personally known now for over 40 years but it is only in the last 2 years that we have actually stayed there.

Kinloch Lodge, Isle of Skye

Kinloch Lodge sits at the end of a long drive overlooking Loch Na Dal on the Sleat peninsular on Skye and there can be few more picturesque settings to be found, anywhere. Sadly, we were only staying one night as we had other places that needed our attention in a short time frame but the impression it left on us both was almost immeasurable.

Fox & Tree, Seaham

It must have been around Autumn 1967, I was 15, and I bought my first pint of beer in a pub, yep, I was too young, and I don’t suppose I looked any older than I was either so God knows why they served me. It cost 11d, that’s old money by the way, the modern-day equivalent is just under 5p. I bring this up because my first pint was in a pub called the Times Inn, Dalton-le-Dale, it’s now called the Fox & Tree.

Now to Highlight the Best

I have realised recently that I have had some fantastic meals out over the last year or so and I have not written about them as I know the owners, normally as good friends and not writing about them is as unfair as writing about them is. I now feel guilty for not recognising these superb experiences as well as the others but I worry about being accused of bias so I am going to write about some of the very best in what will probably be a shorter composition than normal but of the ones I am about to mention please go and try them, you will not be disappointed.

Coarse, Durham

The restaurant was the dreamchild of a young chef Ruari MacKay who has done the rounds of the region via some very good establishments and mentor’s. Simple in it’s décor and design, and apparently pretty much decorated by themselves, as is almost compulsory for new restaurant ventures, and I should know! 

Our Anniversary Dinner

It was our anniversary, so I would book a nice night out at a great restaurant as a special treat, and of course I would review it too. Silly to miss out on the opportunity, So where did we go and how was it? 

SIX at Baltic Gateshead

On the 6th floor of Gateshead's Baltic centre it's a 
big room with floor to ceiling windows on three sides with magnificent views across the city all round, sadly one can’t see the river from the tables though, which is a shame.

31 The Quay North Shields

Occupying the ground floor of a new block on the banks of the River Tyne at North Shields is 31 The Quay, with the most magnificent of views up and down the River Tyne. 

The Hotel du Vin, Harrogate

Hotel du Vin in Harrogate is housed in a handsome and impressive Georgian Building right in the centre of town and well worth staying at.

The Punch Bowl Inn, Crosthwaite

This gem of an Inn is to be found in the little village of Crosthwaite in the South Lakes, worthy of a visit at anytime of the year.

Angel Hotel, Abergavenny.

Right in the very heart of the pretty Welsh town of Abergavenny sits the Angel Hotel. What we were served in the restaurant at the Angel was really great quality, nicely cooked, good honest food made from fabulous ingredients. 

Chadwicks Inn, Maltby.

We’ve been meaning to try Chadwicks for a long time now and just never seemed to get around to it then a few days ago a chef friend of ours told me he goes there quite a lot and while he feels it is expensive for what you get he did thoroughly recommend it. Say no more, I booked it the following day. 

Lovage Restaurant, Jesmond, Newcastle.

This newly opened restaurant on St Georges Terrace just off the top end of Osbourne Road in the affluent Newcastle suburb of Jesmond is just that, newly opened. We’ve now been twice within a few weeks, both times because we were meeting friends and wanted somewhere new to try.

Rothay Garden, Grasmere

The Rothay Garden is another hotel that I have known and had some dealings with over the years. Where I had put the chef into the Wordsworth all those years ago his good friend Andrew who was also working for me went and joined him as his Sous Chef. Andrew then moved over to the Rothay as it’s Head Chef and he stayed there until his retirement quite recently, so a long time.

The Traddock Hotel Austwick, North Yorkshire Dales.

I had trolled the internet and found this hotel; one I had not previously heard of so was looking forward to what both my wife and I hoped would be a great little find.

Wordsworth Hotel, Grasmere.

Having known the hotel over many years and its former owner too it was with a great deal of anticipation that I booked our stay.

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