“ Address: Bank Hill / Woodborough / Nottingham / NG14 6EF / Telephone: 0115 965 4466 „
I have a lot of extended family and the Christmas is a time for seeing as many of them as possible. I was staying with my parents over Christmas and one of my mum's sisters and her family came to visit us for the day. We had lunch out and Mum booked us a table at Woodborough Hall.
We were there at lunch time, so it was fairly quiet, but they usually require pre-booking. For evening meals, you usually have to book a few weeks in advance.
The Hall also offers overnight accommodation and rooms for functions. Since I haven't really tried either of these, I can't give a good review on them. I'll focus my review on Woodborough Hall as somewhere to eat.
~~~ Setting ~~~
The restaurant is in the village of Woodborough, a few miles out of Nottingham. It would take about 20-30 minutes to get there from the centre of Nottingham. There's not a great deal else in Woodborough, but the village is a pleasant one to have a short walk round.
The Hall is in its own grounds with a small amount of garden. It was cold and rainy when we went there, so we didn't look round the gardens.
Woodborough Hall might be a good place to stop for lunch if you're in Nottingham and want to go to Patchings Art Centre (which I've reviewed) or visit Southwell for the afternoon, as you'd be heading in the right direction to get to either of these places.
~~~ Arrival ~~~
When we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly member of staff who checked our reservation and took our coats. They have a cloakroom behind the reception desk for coats and bags. There is always someone at the reception and they take note of which belongings go with which table reservation, so you can be reasonably sure that no one else is going to walk off with your stuff.
Then we were shown through to a bar area with comfortable chairs and sofas. We took our seats and a waiter came round with canapés and took our drinks order.
They have a cocktail menu as well as a selection of wines, spirits and beer. I don't drink, so I didn't pay a great deal of attention, but it seemed to be a well-stocked bar. There was a lot less variety in terms of the non-alcoholic drinks. There were no non-alcoholic cocktails offered, so the drinks available for me were about the same as you might find in any other restaurant: coke, lemonade, orange juice and so on.
The canapés were included in the price of the meal. At lunch time, this is a limited menu with three courses for £22.50 per person. The price is slightly less if you only have two courses. We sat in the bar with our drinks and our canapés while we decided on the food.
The canapés were chorizo sausage, cucumber and quails egg, and absolutely delicious tartlets filled with tomato and garlic. You could very easily treat these as the starter if you want to skip a course for either diet or money-saving reasons.
We placed our order in the bar then, a short while later we were taken to our table.
Having drinks in the bar area first is a little unusual, but I like it. It makes the whole thing seems a lot more relaxed and more of an event.
~~~ The Dining Room ~~~
The dining room is very nicely decorated. It has smart wooden floors, cut-glass chandeliers and some interesting plasterwork around the ceiling. The whole décor is one of elegance and they pull it off very well.
There weren't many tables, which probably explains the need to book well in advance. They're spaced out so the serving staff have plenty of room to move about and so you don't have to push past other customers if you want to leave the room. The spacious feel is great and helps carry on the relaxed feeling from the drinks in the bar. The tables are a pretty standard size for the number of people but the chairs are more comfortable than many places I've eaten at.
~~~ The Food ~~~
The most important part of any restaurant review.
The portion sizes are good and the quality is brilliant. If you go for the lunch menu, you have about half a dozen options for each course, which includes some vegetarian options. The elegant style is continued, but there's nothing pretentious about what's on offer.
I went with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding as my main course. The beef was good quality. It was cooked perhaps a little more than I'd usually have it, but I like my beef very rare. Most people would probably be perfectly happy with it, and there's always the option to ask for it well-done. The Yorkshire pudding was excellent, as well as being about twice the size I'd expected.
All the main meals came with roast potatoes, new potatoes and seasonal vegetables. These were served in large bowls. There were seven of us and we got two large bowls or each for our table. We were all able to help ourselves to as many as we wanted (my dad and uncle were both able to take seconds of the potatoes as well). I'm very fond of roast potatoes when done properly and these were.
For desert, I had lemon crème brulee. I would seriously recommend this. It came with a raspberry sauce and a brandy snap (the brandy snap wasn't mentioned on the menu and was a wonderful surprise). It was simply wonderful.
~~~ Tea and Coffee ~~~
Like most restaurants, there is the option of tea and coffee after the meal. We decided not to go for this, but I regretted the decision when we walked past the bar on the way out. There was another group there who'd been in the restaurant at the same time as us. They were sitting with their cups of tea and coffee and a little silver tray of homemade truffles.
They looked absolutely wonderful and are, apparently, included in the price of the tea and coffee.
~~~ The Toilets ~~~
This may seem like a strange topic to mention in a restaurant review, but I was surprised enough to think them worthy of note. In most restaurants, toilets are toilets. Not here.
There's a little anti-room with a smart dressing table and a comfortable sofa. Then the room with the toilets in is as nicely decorated as the dining room and the bar. There were little baskets of flowers and decorative mirrors. Everything was very elegant and spotlessly clean.
You know it's a nice place when you're impressed by the toilets.
~~~ Price ~~~
No we get to the one draw-back.
I was glad that my parents were paying the bill. The food may be wonderful, but you pay for what you get. The meal was £22.50 each. This is included the canapés, but not the drinks.
So, it's not a good place if you're on a tight budget or looking for somewhere cheap. However, you do get all the value you should expect for the price you pay. If you were eating in the city centre, you'd probably have to pay a lot more for the sort of quality you get here. I think I would still say you get value for money here, because the standards as so high.
~~~ Overall ~~~
It's a very nice place to go as a treat. I wouldn't go there regularly, because I'm a student and haven't got a great deal of money available. However, if I want to eat out somewhere as a special occasion, I would definitely consider going here again.
The service was friendly, polite and efficient.
The food was outstanding. None of us had any complaints.
The setting was lovely. The facilities were well above standard.
I would definitely recommend visiting this place if you've something to celebrate. Do remember though to book well in advance; other people clearly agree the food is excellent!
If you're looking for a place to host a function, you might want to investigate Woodborough Hall. I can't review on how they perform for functions, but the building is lovely and I imagine that the food would be as good as it is in the restaurant.
You have to go upstairs to get to the dining room. I think there's a disabled lift, but it could be awkward if you're with someone who has mobility issues. Since it wasn't an issue for myself or those I was with, I didn't give it much thought at the time.
It's not a great family restaurant. There was no children's menu and no form of entertainment for kids. It's definitely a place designed for adults to have a pleasant meal out, rather than families. If you have kids, I think you should go to the Springfield, just down the road.
All in all, definitely somewhere to think about.
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