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Stoke Rochford Hall, Stoke Rochford, Grantham NG33 5EJ
Tel: 01476 530337 www.stokerochfordhall.co.uk

Words: Caroline Bingham
Photography: Caroline Bingham
Featured in the November 2013 issue

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Stoke Rochford Hall has one of the best approaches and frontages of any country house in Lincolnshire. Built in the 1840s by the land owning Turnor family, the long driveway leads to a beautiful ironwork screen and gates, through which is the forecourt of the main house.

The hall has been established as a hotel and conference centre for many years, under the ownership of the National Union of Teachers and looked warm and welcoming, with strings of lights twinkling in the trees, as we parked in the forecourt.

The hall has been restored to its full glory after a disastrous fire in 2005 gutted the mansion. The impressive Grand Hall and its surrounding dining and function rooms are ideal venues for wedding ceremonies and receptions as well as events and conferences.

We were coming to experience the newly launched Steak Nights which are held on Wednesday evening. During the evening the hall is open to residents and non-residents alike and our meal was going to be served in the SRH Restaurant which has recently been refurbished. The room, in the lower level of the hall, can accommodate up to 180 diners and has a more contemporary feel than the smaller dining rooms. We could have had a drink at the bar alongside the restaurant but we headed straight to our table.

The Steak Night offer is available every Wednesday evening, 7pm to 9.30pm, for two people to each enjoy an 8oz sirloin, served with twice cooked chips, crispy beer battered onion rings, a large flat field mushroom and pesto roasted tomato, with a shared bottle of house red or white wine for £39.95.  We decided to select a starter from the set table d’hôte menu for an additional cost of £4.95 each. I chose Parma ham and marinated asparagus served with sundried tomatoes and chive dressing while my companion opted for the goat’s cheese mousse served with caramelised walnuts, Parmesan crisp and roast red pepper syrup. We tucked into seeded rolls to accompany the starters. My classic combination starter was light and tasty, with a nice crunch to the asparagus, while my companion found her generous portion of mousse rich and satisfying.

Our steaks were perfectly cooked to our taste, mine rare and my friend’s medium to well done. The meal looked a very substantial plateful and it was obvious that if we cleared our plates we would certainly not want a dessert. Again, these could be chosen from the table d’hôte menu for an additional £4.95 each.

We chose the house red wine which was a very decent Cape Pinotage, light yet fruity, which was a good accompaniment to the steak. The white wine choice is a Cape Chenin Blanc.

Our hunch that we would not manage a dessert was correct, so we finished our meal with a coffee each for which an additional charge of £2.95 applies.

The restaurant was quite busy when we entered, with a large wedding party enjoying an eve of ceremony dinner, while other tables filled around us.

This month sees the launch of a new seasonal à la carte menu, which is being offered alongside the current three course table d’hôte menu, which includes coffee for £24.95 per person.

The new winter menu is now available offering a choice of six starters, including a French onion soup, smoked mackerel fishcake or a brioche and almond wrapped brie wedge. There are six main courses including slow braised shank of lamb, Belton estate venison casserole or pan fried fillets of sea bass. Finish your meal with a slice of lemon pastry tart, a dark chocolate and Grand Marnier terrine or warm toffee apple and blackberry crumble.

If you would like to enjoy the Wednesday Steak Night or tuck into dishes on the winter à la carte menu any evening, bookings are recommended though not essential and are available between 7pm and 9.30pm – telephone Reception on 01476 530337 to reserve your table.

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