Situated a short distance outside the cathedral city of Durham, Bailey's Restaurant at The Honest Lawyer Hotel is a venue with a decent local reputation for serving good food. I was therefore reasonably expectant of an enjoyable meal as I ventured here with my wife and two young children for an early evening dinner whilst staying at the hotel.
The welcome wasn't exactly warm on arrival as I politely informed the lady behind the bar that we had a reservation, in fact she looked thoroughly disgruntled by the whole idea of having to deal with us. After a bit of a wait, we were shown through to the dining area which wasn't exactly modern, but pleasant enough. One of the good things about the restaurant is the fact it's open all day, so we were able to get a nice early table for dinner, perfect given we had our young daughter and baby son with us (complete with car seat).
Service improved from that point which was a relief; this is a genuinely child friendly venue and the children's menu handily doubled as an activity sheet with crayons provided. After my usual G&T to start, it was on to the food. My mackerel with chickpea casoulet to start was enjoyable, although the flavour of the fish was overpowered somewhat by the strong flavours of tomato. My wife's beetroot 'carpaccio' was a pretty plate with some strong (maybe slightly too strong) flavours.
My main course was pork wellington. The dish had some really nice flavours and some novel touches (including pork pop corn) but unfortunately the pork inside the wellington and the accompanying chunk of pork belly were both slightly over done. It's a shame because if the cooking had have been better, this would have been an excellent plate of food. My wife enjoyed her dish of pan fried duck and I should add at this point that my daughter was perfectly happy with her chicken and chips.
After perusing the absolutely huge (not in terms of the number pages, just the physical size of the one massive sheet) dessert menu, we opted for the dessert sharing plate. As you might expect, this contained some good and some not so good elements. The creme brulee was tasty enough, but the sticky toffee pudding was very dry and a disappointment. The fruit bavarois was lacking flavour, but there were some nice chocolate and caramel elements on the plate. A bit of a mixed bag unfortunately.
Service up until this point had been OK, but sadly once I'd requested the bill there was an inordinate wait to collect payment, in excess of fifteen minutes. A waitress even came over, cleared some glasses, looked right at my credit card and never came back. In the end I gave up and went to the bar to pay and in fairness, the gentlemen there sorted my payment without any issue.
Overall, this wasn't a meal without fault, but there was some good cooking on show here which when combined with the child friendly venue and reasonable service, made for an enjoyable dinner.
|Ratings||Michelin Guide||AA Guide||Good Food Guide|
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