Elegance is the keynote to dining at the Crown Spa Hotel in Esplanade, Scarborough.
The fine sweep of the building is one of the South Bay’s most attractive features – and the inside of the hotel fulfills the promise.
The dining room is spacious and modern with part of it offering views across the bay to the harbour.
Tables are set far apart to allow for privacy and there is plenty of room to relax, sit back and take your time.
‘Upscale food, unpretentious everything else’ is printed on the menu and it is no empty boast.
Ingredients are seasonal and fresh and the meat in particular is locally sourced.
Not that ‘upscale’ means limited. There is plenty of choice, whether you are having lunch or an evening meal.
It ranges from paninis to pasta, burgers to sea bass and wraps to wild pigeon salad.
That brings me to my starter – the wild pigeon salad at £7.95 was the most expensive dish from that part of the menu. It was worth every penny.
The meat was tender and its richness was cut through by piquant blackcurrant and sweet pea shoots accompaniment.
My companion mulled over serrano ham with melon, soup of the day and mussels before opting for frittura mista di pesce. The selection of seafood dusted in flour and fried, served with caper mayonnaise, was also £7.95.
There is plenty of vegetarian choice, including melon platter, salad caprese and risotto croquette – which is sun-dried tomato, roasted pepper, mozzarella risotto breaded and deep fried.
The main course choice offers variety and quality. After much deliberation between pan seared sea bass and pork cutlet I opted for the meat (£16.95).
It was served with buttered sage potatoes, with capers, a masala sauce finished with crisp Parma ham. The sweet-savoury balance was perfect and the meat tender and moist.
The dish was served with plenty of seasonal vegetables.
The grills caught my dining partner’s interest. The choice was steaks, chicken, salmon and gammon – the latter being opted for.
It came with a fresh and crisp house salad and chunky hand-cut chips – making it great value at £14.95.
Other dishes on offer included calves liver with parsley mash and crispy pancetta in a grain mustard sauce or tian of plaice with a crab and tiger prawn mousse served with citrus sauteed potatoes.
Dessert was almost a dish too far but with such tempting treats as cranberry and orange Bakewell tart with ice-cream and vanilla sponge pudding it was difficult to resist.
My white chocolate and pecan cheesecake was smooth and rich, as was my companion’s dark chocolate brulee.
The service from the moment we arrived was perfect – polite, fast, attentive but unobtrusive.
The bill – which included wine and soft drinks – came to £85 – which is pricey for dinner for two but we did choose some of the most expensive dishes on the menu.
We were also celebrating, which had made our minds up to dine somewhere appropriate for a special occasion – and the Crown Spa fitted that bill perfectly.
Menu choice 8