DINING OUT:Brasserie-style fare appeals to all tastes

Food at Van Dyk's, Clowne
Food at Van Dyk's, Clowne

Ah, decisions, decisions. It’s not very often a vegetarian can go out for dinner on a Sunday and be faced with too much on the menu to choose from - not that I’m complaining.

Nor will I apologise to you meat eaters for another veggie-biased review of a dining establishment which has an extensive meat and fish selection, and roasts which even made MY mouth water as I watched them being served up on foot-long platters with giant Yorkshire puddings.

Van Dyk, Clowne

Van Dyk, Clowne

Hotel Van Dyk’s Grill Room boasts ‘a brasserie style cuisine within a modern and contemporary atmosphere for the more informal dining experience’, I could not agree more.

We were greeted with a roaring fire in the waiting area before being seated. The restaurant was constantly busy but we were not able to book ahead as this is only allowed for groups of eight people or more.

However turnover was swift and I counted around ten well-organised members of staff in the dining area serving our every need.

The new decor is classy with a black and cream scheme and the seating areas are comfy. There is an adequately stocked bar, however £3.95 for a small glass of wine and £3.80 for a pint of lager appears a bit steep in my book.

There was a good mix of customers, from families to couples, young and old. I thought it would make a great venue for a special occasion, and reading the posters in the entrance, there are several event nights throughout the year for dining with entertainment such as Luke Michaels on May 11, a psychic night with Joanne Gregory on May 17 and Abba Girls on May 25.

For starters I chose the breaded goats cheese which was served on black slate with tomato and balsamic chutney and dressed rocket. The presentation was excellent as you would expect for a £6.95 starter, the portion size was good and the quality was excellent. My friend chose the pan-fried halloumi which was also an option as a main course too. This was served with roasted vegetables, sun-blushed tomatoes and a balsamic dressing. There was a huge plate full, so made a good value for money starter at £6.95, and would make a great main course for only £3 more.

For main courses we both chose the Spatzle (German Style pasta) served with sun-blushed tomatoes, goats cheese cream and roasted chicory. Having spent some time in Schwabia, I developed a taste for this staple food of theirs which is usually served with fried onions and a saltier cheese. It was a great surprise to see it being served in Clowne, even though it was not in its authentic form, and I enjoyed it just as much. I thought £9.95 was a bargain for the quality of the dish, and the portions were great. To compare, the Sunday roast was being served at £9.95 too, offering under 10s a discount.

I was disappointed that they had run out of Crème Brulee, but the Baileys Cheesecake was a great substitute, served with vanilla ice cream and a chocolate sauce on a black slate slab. Again, I found the price of this a little bit over the top at £5.50 but the portion sizes were not mean and there were plenty for the two of us to share.

Overall I was impressed with the new restaurant decor and surprised at how efficient and friendly the staff were at such a busy time. There was a constant flow of customers which added to the lively bustling restaurant feel, and there are plenty of tables to go round, meaning the staff don’t rest for a minute.

The Grill Room describes itself as the ultimate in casual dining, and, in my opinion, it wasn’t far off that.

Rating: Four stars

Grill Room at Hotel Van Dyk,

Worksop Road, Clowne,

S43 4TD

Opening hours: Hotel Van Dyk’s Grill Room is open from 12noon-9.30pm every day.

Tel. 01246 810219

Web: www.hotelvandyk.co.uk