Following our visit to Beamish earlier in the year, where we had only managed to get round half of the Museum because little legs was tired, I was over the moon to be invited back to see what delights there were to be found at their Christmas Celebrations.
In this life we have a tendency to take things for granted a little to often. It isn’t something we do deliberately or something that we even realise we do a lot of the time but it is something we all do.
Reality checks happen when something that is put before you, somewhere you are or people that you meet bring you back down to earth with a bang and at that point you hate yourself for not realising that you are so lucky to be, have, or do what you do.
Listen to me all philosophical but its true.
We have hurdles in life that we overcome and we stop for a minute and take in the what’s happening but it soon becomes history.
My situation has caused many, small and large, so many I won’t go in to, but this is a post where I say take in every moment and never take anything for granted.
Before we moved to Durham we lived about 30 minutes away. A trip to Durham was a treat and we dreamed of living in Durham. Never for one second did I think I would be lucky enough to have Durham as my local shopping centre.
The sights of Durham soon became something we took for granted. I can honestly say in the four years we have lived here I have been to The Cathedral once, that is until the other week when we went to The Cellar Door for the most amazing meal.
We had time to spare and as we were on the way up the hill for our meal we decided to climb to the top and have a brief visit to Durham Cathedral.
I was astounded to discover that Mark has never actually been up to The Cathedral, let alone ever been inside.
For me the place is incredibly special, I find the history, the appearance and the sheer beauty of the place amazing. I am moved to tears the minute I walk through the doors, always have been and always will be.
The windows, the ceilings, the size, the grounds, all of them contribute to a place of outstanding beauty. Mark was more taken a back by it than I thought he would be. We only got to spend ten minutes in and around but have vowed to go back again very soon. (Rest assured when we do you will know all about it)
Moral of the story, take those things around you in, visit places on your doorstep, we tend to avoid theses places as they are close to home and we want venture further afield. Never ever take anything for granted because your everyday life can be fascinating to other people…..
There is simply no other way I could possibly begin my review for The Cellar Door.
A date night for Mark and I is a very rare occurrence, so when we were invited to The Cellar Door it seemed a perfect opportunity for us to do just that.
I love Durham and love nothing more than being able to sit and look out over the river.
We parked up and walked up over Elvet Bridge, taking in the view of the river and then making our way up Saddler Street. The Cellar Door is located about half way up the road to the Cathedral.
The entrance is a small door way, well signed, and access is gained down some stairs to the Restaurant.
Never have I felt such a welcoming environment in a Restaurant. The gentleman that greeted us was very polite and sat us at our table making us feel like nothing would be a problem. Introducing us to the daily special, he invited us too peruse the Menu and he would return shortly for our drinks order.
The Cellar Door have a Menu that changes with the seasons, not only do they use seasonal produce but the ingredients they use are sourced locally. They also have a Lunch Menu which is equally as easy on the eye.
I personally love to know that restaurants are keeping things local and knowing that the Menu changes so frequently excites me. It highlights the passion of the Chef for me.
The Restaurant itself is open and bright, the tables are simple and clean but it all comes together to make such a welcoming atmosphere. The views are amazing and it would be amazing to sit in the garden on a sunny day and enjoy a meal, looking out over the river.
Mark and I being us, we couldn’t decide who was designated driver so we were both on the non alcoholic lager. However, the Drinks Menu is extensive and has a good selection of Wines, Cocktails, Spirits and Soft Drinks.
Our drinks were delivered and our order was taken.
Unexpectedly, the waitress delivered us a “Pre Starter”.
Spicy Butternut Squash Soup, with a Bread Roll and a selection of three dips, Rapeseed Oil, Unsalted Butter and a Balsamic Glaze.
We were both blown away with the flavour and also how well the dips complemented the flavour of the soup. Simply delicious and it left us excited as to what the Starter would bring.
Massive compliments go to the waiting staff, they were very attentive and looked after us very well.
Venison Carpaccio with Pickled Blueberries and Egg Yolk Melba
Beautifully presented with the smoke filled glass, it tasted equally as beautiful. The only thing Mark would have changed was that he was too keen to eat it and would leave the smoke filled glass for another minute or so should he have it again.
Pear Cider Belly Pork with Nduja, Scotch Egg and Beetroot Gel
After deliberating and reducing the Starters on the Menu down to a choice of two after a week of looking, I was delighted to have the choice taken away from me when we were told this was the special for the evening.
It melted in the mouth and every mouthful was a delight.
Is it wrong to say by this point we were excited for what was coming next??
I hope not, because we had every right to be…..
Lamb Rump with Pistachio Crumb, Sweet Potato and Feta Pan Haggerty and a Date Jus
I wouldn’t normally go for the lamb but I am so happy I did. It, like the pork, melted in the mouth, I have never had meat so tender and succulent. Every part of the dish complemented the lamb and I wouldn’t hesitate to order this again.
Beetroot Five Ways, Fresh, Grilled, Pickled, Crisps, Gel with Quinoa Salad, Aubergine, Bacon and Lime Dressing
Mark loves Beetroot and was so drawn to this dish from the moment he viewed the Menu. In his own words “ I have only ever had it pickled and would love to make sure it is the beetroot I like and not just the pickling”. He wasn’t disappointed. Not only did it taste good, but it was food for the eyes too, so colourful,pretty and well presented.
Chunky Chips and Feta Bon Bons
We also ordered a side dish each to accompany the Main Course. There will be no surprise to you when I say they were simply divine.
The Waitress came and took away our plates and offered us the Dessert Menu.
It would be rude not too order at least one pudding now wouldn’t it?
Mark isn’t a pudding kind of guy and enjoyed the full feeling while finishing off his beer.
Pudding to me is a must, so of course I ordered one.
Cherry & Chocolate Mousse, Black Cherry & Kirsch Ice Cream
It was a Chocolate fans dream, the mousse was rich and smooth and the Cherries and Ice Cream complemented it perfectly.
To say we were blown away by what The Cellar Door has to offer is an understatement. We both came away and said that it quite simply was the best meal we had ever had. Up until a few weeks ago we had never heard of The Cellar Door, how I don’t know, but for us, it was a hidden gem. We will certainly be returning.
Upper most compliments go to the Chef’s and The Front of House Team, food and service that good are few and far between. I would recommend a visit to anyone.
A massive thank you to you all for a wonderful night and divine dining experience. See you all again soon.