It’s one of the city’s best known dining destinations and is now offering an À la carte menu. Sarah Hardy checks out Delia’s Restaurant and Bar
Now in its 18th year, Delia’s Restaurant and Bar is an important fixture on the city’s dining scene, opening every Friday and Saturday evening.
Situated in the stadium itself, it is decorated in a cool and contemporary fashion, with muted colours, crisp white tablecloths and creamy leather chairs.Thus it is a relaxing place where the staff, led by Lucy Millership, make you feel very welcome.
It is Delia’s only restaurant and very much the place to sample her own recipes, many of which you might well have attempted yourself at home. Here, of course, you can see where you went wrong or, indeed, pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
Head chef Nigel Ramsbottom is a very safe pair of hands, recreating the dishes with skill and precision. The menu changes monthly and used to just offer a set priced, three-course menu although, now, you can mix and match dishes to create your ideal meal. There’s an accent on local suppliers such as Havensfield Happy Hens for eggs, Blythburgh pork, Mrs Temple’s cheeses and fish from William Masterson in Lowestoft.
My friend and I started with nibbles at the bar. I love sitting on the high stools, sipping wine, chatting and half looking at the menu, as you feel the day’s stresses and strains just slipping away!
We were lucky to have the guitarist Jamie Strings playing when we visited, which was a gentle accompaniment to our Friday evening, and on Saturday nights, pianist Carrie O’Donnell performs.
So, quaffing our French rosé(Coteaux Aix-En-Provence), we examined the menu. It has about six choices per course and you can enjoy a starter, main, two sides, dessert and coffee for just £39.95 per person which is, I reckon, cracking value.
Our menu included favourites such as roast tomato soup with basil and a coarse pâté but I went for a gratin of prawns with chilli and cheese which was good and creamy and needed the seeded bread to help me mop up all that rich sauce. Fabulous. My friend had the smoked haddock soufflé which was very cleverly done and oozed in all the right places. She also appreciated the Hollandaise sauce; like me, scooping out every last drop!
Next, I went for grilled sea bass from Lowestoft, served with a classic white wine and butter sauce, with rocket, watercress and baby spinach leaves for colour and texture. The fish was, of course, just right: firm yet tender and with a beautifully crispy skin.
My friend enjoyed her fillet of pork, roasted, with rosemary and caramelised apple, and noted the hint of garlic. We both ordered side dishes of peas, spring onions and lettuce – all braised in butter – while I went for chunky chips, and she, pretty little apple potatoes.
It was all very satisfying, well presented, with plenty of depth to each dish. Other choices included Spanish chicken, with white beans, chorizo and tomatoes or, as a vegetarian option, Mediterranean vegetable strudel.
Next, it was my favourite part of the meal – dessert. There were some lovely options, such as chocolate cheesecake and crème brûlée but greed overtook me and I went for steamed treacle sponge pudding with custard, a spot of nursery comfort. My friend had the pavlova with vanilla ice cream and lemon curd, which she was delighted with. The Neal’s Yard cheeseboard, with a lemony Lancashire number, Kirkham’s, was tempting, too.
Our meal included coffee and some naughty chocolate treats which was a great finale to a lovely, relaxing evening.
Dare I say it? A top of the league performance!
Reviewed in Feast issue 36 – May 2019