I’d heard good things about Sunday lunch at the Mount Hotel, so Father’s Day seemed the perfect time to be treated to it by the offspring ... yeah, right!
Standing supreme above the Rotunda and Spa Bridge, with the panorama of the South Bay laid out in front, the Mount commands a refined place in the town’s hotel scene, although it is probably less well known than others of its size.
Few of its kind remain – an elegant, unashamedly old-fashioned, family-run hotel with the emphasis on looking after guests rather than big-company shareholders. And I can’t remember the last time I had a silver-service meal ... a vanishing tradition.
I suspect the hotel knows, and plays to, its target market. When we visited, the other diners were predominantly elderly. It was obvious that there were a few regulars among them – hotel guests as well as diners – and the staff greeted them (and everyone else) warmly.
After drinks in the spacious, sumptuously furnished bar we entered the large restaurant, which was further enlarged by the opening-up of the adjacent Sitwell Suite function room.
Crisp white linen and silver cutlery adorned the tables, and, on a very humid day, ceiling fans tried to keep the room cool. Jugs of water on the table were welcome.
The printed menu, at the entrance to the restaurant and also on the tables, revealed four choices of starter, four main courses and six desserts.
To start, our party chose classic prawn cocktail, mushrooms cooked with garlic and finished with cream, and cream of seasonal vegetable soup.
The soup, I’m told, was hot and tasty, and the pan-fried garlic mushrooms basked in a creamy, succulent sauce.
The prawn cocktail had a good amount of small prawns swathed in a dollop of Marie Rose sauce, though the accompanying salad was very basic, in content and presentation.
So far so not bad.
The staff, buzzing around the near-full restaurant, were polite and efficient, and it was a delight to have the silver-service choice of what else went on the plate after the mains arrived.
The four main-course choices were roast topside of English beef, roast loin of free range pork, braised carbonnade beef and grilled fillet of North Sea plaice.
There was no vegetarian option – presumably that would have been available if asked.
Sad to say, the beef, chosen by three of us, was slightly tough to cut. The plaice fillet, even with almond and pistachio crumble, lacked zest. Happily, though, the pork was tasty and had plenty of crunchy crackling. The accompanying vegetables – broccoli, carrots and new and roast potatoes – were piping hot.
Desserts were faultless. Our choices were classic baked cheesecake, chocolate cream roulade, Bramley apple pie and Old English sherry trifle, and all were delicious.
The meal was rounded off, back in the lounge, with coffee and chocolates.
The price – £16.50 each, although, oddly, that wasn’t displayed on the menu or anywhere else.
The Mount offers unpretentious, wholesome fare, in luxurious, traditional surroundings, and the staff, all of them, were excellent at all times.
Menu choice 6