Business Lunch: The Clubhouse, Rockliffe Hall

January 27, 2016

Alison Cowie grabs a quick five-star lunch at region’s most prestigious hotel

Venturing out on a lunchtime with work colleagues often means a rushed trip to the nearest pub where a plate of uninspiring fish and chips and a pint can cost you between £10 and £15 pounds. And then there’s the quick sprint back to the office before your allocated lunch hour is up. But what if you could experience two-courses of five-star dining in luxurious and tranquil surroundings; be guaranteed to be finished with an hour; and all for just £12 a head?

Well, you can at The Clubhouse at Rockliffe Hall

The five-star hotel, at Hurworth on Tees, Darlington, is looking to encourage more local business people to The Clubhouse at a lunchtime and has made it ultra convenient for them, with its Express Menu.

Colleagues choose and order their two dishes prior to arrival so that the eatery can ensure the meal can be completed within 60 minutes.

The menu, which changes seasonally, offers a choice of five main meals and four desserts, along with artisan bread to begin, and tea or coffee to finish.

On the day I arrived with my colleagues, we treated to a warm welcome and high standard of service that you would expect from a five-star hotel throughout our meal.

True to their word, after enjoying the bread and rich – albeit not very healthy – beef dripping, our main meals promptly arrived.

My well-constructed Caesar salad really stood out from all the other versions of this ubiquitous dish I have had in the past, and the salmon fishcakes were delightfully crisp on the outside and moist and full of flavour inside.

The towering truffle burger was also a work of art and although its decadent flavours proved a little too much for my dining companion, it left me wishing I had opted for the hearty dish, instead of the well intentioned salad.

The standard of find dining continues with the desserts. My heavenly chocolate mousse proving the biggest hit. I then finished off with a latte, and never felt rushed despite us dining from the Express Menu.

Ok, so venturing to Rockliffe Hall from Ponteland, as my colleagues and I did, negates the ‘express’ 60-minute part of this offering from the hotel somewhat, but if you are a business located close to the prestigious hotel, spa and golf club, I urge you to give the Express Menu try. As five-star dining and service for just £12, to me, represents unbelievable value for money.

On the menu:

Homemade bread with warm beef dripping

Roast chicken Caesar salad with little gem, parmesan and croutons

Chargrilled steak and truffle burger with onion rings, bacon, grilled cheese and sweet potato chips

Fishcakes with tartare sauce, mushy peas and chips

Chocolate mousse with toffee popcorn and peanut butter ice cream

Passion fruit cheesecake with mango salad

Crème brulee with shortbread biscuits


Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa
County Durham

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Supporting role: Victoria Armstrong and David Naughten