Dining Out: Hunters Lounge, Raithwaite Estate, Sandsend

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Who’d have thought that a Teddy Bears’ picnic, complete with magician, giant chess board and table tennis – all outdoors in the scorching sun – would have provided the inspiration for a dining out review?

It was a great way to keep my two children amused one Sunday afternoon at Raithwaite, but then it also occurred to me that all the time this luxury coastal retreat has been open, we had not actually dined there.

There are two options available depending on your budget – The Brace restaurant, offering “fine dining in an elegant atmosphere” (be wary that most main courses are around the £25 mark) and the Hunters Lodge, which is based at The Keep, an elegant building fronted by neatly manicured gardens halfway up the drive towards the main hotel.

Being on a budget, we opted for the latter and it proved a good choice, with the menu consisting of Yorkshire pub classics .

We kicked off the meal with the bread basket, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, trying hard not to get any on the immaculate tablecloth – this was soon rendered pointless after our youngest had produced what looked like an explosion in a Crayola factory.

On to the mains and in the 21 years I have been on Earth (slight artistic licence there – Ed), this was the first time I had tried sea bass – and it sure didn’t disappoint.

The fish was beautifully crispy and, combined with the avocado, cherry tomato and caper salsa, left a lovely aftertaste.

I thought £17.90 for a tad expensive for the portion size, but there were certainly no complaints about the quality of the food. The wife’s creamy chicken tikka masala was also spot on.

Vegetarians are well catered for too with a high percentage of the dishes suitable for their tastes.

Our son chose well from the Little Hunters menu, with a fairly gargantuan beef burger and chunky chips hitting the spot, along with the dairy ice cream selection (in this case mango sorbet) to follow.

We had shunned the starters as the desserts menu looked more enticing and again, we were not unhappy with the dishes that we ordered. My piping hot cross bun bread and butter pudding, from the specials board, was a great variation on a classic, with a dollop of vanilla ice cream being the perfect accompaniment, while the wife’s blackberry and apple crumble was also satisfying.

Service throughout was friendly, and it was nice to catch up with Pippa on the front desk – herself a pretty good baker. The staff promptly intervened to shut the roof windows when a sharp shower passed overhead immediately above our table.

At £75, the venue would be better suited to an occasion/treat than just popping out for an evening meal, but represented reasonable value for money.

Star rating: 8.