We were recommended this restaurant by the owners of a holiday cottage we rented in the area. It just goes to show the value of asking those who know best!
Blagraves House is one of the oldest buildings in Barnard Castle. You know it's going to be special before even entering. As the gargoyles look threateningly down at you from above, the warm welcome inside forms an amusing contrast.
Sitting in the lounge and studying the menu we couldn't help but wonder at the architectural features around the fireplace. What kind of wealth must it have taken to say "and please carve some ornate patterns on the inside of the fireplace"? The ancient carved internal doors are amazing too - it would almost have been disappointing if the now warped doors were a good fit.
But wait, we were here for food. The lovely canapé delivered while we pondered the menu's many choices were a pleasant surprise. The wine was excellent even just by the glass. It was almost a shame to make the menu selection and end the ore-dinner experience.
Up the winding ancient wooden staircase to our table upstairs we were pleased to be seated in the window with a unique view up and down the high street. A great table location if there are just two of you eating.
The food was what I find hard to describe in England - what is English after all? Great choices for starters, main, and we even struggled to force down the sticky toffee pudding and chocolate torte. It would be rude not to!
The bill for all this - less than we pay in our local Chinese or Indian restaurant. Amazing value for such excellent food in a truly unique setting. And the staff were friendly and helpful at all times, service with a smile.
It's hard to fault this restaurant. For us it was a perfect and memorable birthday meal and we will gladly return if we're ever in the area. I wouldn't recommend it for young children, and beware that the short flight of stairs could be difficult for the infirm.
Be sure to book, you're unlikely to get a table without booking but worth a try if you haven't.
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