So I recently went down to the Cellar Door in Durham City for a meal, Nicky and myself had a lovely little evening just the two of us for a three course meal. Cellar Door give us a £100.00 tab to enjoy a meal with them.
If I’m honest I had heard very little about the Cellar Door and even more so I had walked past it 100’s of times without knowing it was there. Down some steps lies the best kept secret in Durham for food… I was amazed that such a beautiful restaurant with lovely views of the River wear sat on the road up to the Historic Cathedral of Durham.
My first impression was that the restaurant was located in such a hidden place yet offered a beautiful dining area. The seating was well thought out and the staff went above and beyond. John our waiter was a perfect model for the restaurant, polite and very helpful, I noticed John was fantastic with every customer and a great character.
Firstly the drinks, I had a glass of Prosecco and Nicky opted for an ElderBubble cocktail, the prices were well priced at £7.50 for a glass of Prosecco and £8.50 for the cocktail. The choice on the menu’s were great, a fantastic collection of locally sourced ingredients. One thing I did notice and asked John about was the herbs in the garden just below where I was dining. He told me that the plan is to have a vegetable garden to supply the restaurant with it’s own veg. I love when establishments produce their own veg and herbs.
We were presented with a ‘Pre’ starter which is very rare for a restaurant in Durham. The starter itself I sadly can’t quite remember as it was a lot of flavour but mainly pickled mushroom and garlic. Although I’m not a fan of mushroom it was a fantastic tasting pre starter which surprisingly offered a delicate flavour.
After trying to work out which starter I wanted I ended up opting for the Rabbit, Chicken, Carrot, Mustard starter. Nicky on the other hand went for the Cod, Curry, Peanut, Cauliflower, Bhaji. The starter came out relatively quick and the presentation of the dish was beyond what you get in most Durham restaurants. The love and passion of the presentation on the plate itself was the wow factor, you can tell the chefs love what they do. The flavours on my starter were magnificent, every mouthful allowed for a fantastic combination of flavour and goodness. Nicky absolutely loved her starter which she said was the best she ever had as a starter.
There was a few items on the menu I’d have loved to try and will be back to do so but I ended up opting for the Salt aged Sirloin, Stout, Hispi, Shin, Mushroom, Jus, Jersey Royal. Nicky went for a Chicken dish something she normally goes for anyway but this time a bit out her comfort zone in flavour. She had the Chicken, Camembert, Cornflakes, Black Garlic, Mushroom, Wild rice, Asparagus.
Again the presentation on the dish blew me away as like before you don’t get this type of presentation in many places in Durham. My main was a medium rare steak which is how i love my steak, the dish was bursting with fantastic flavours which complemented the mouth melting steak. I would have to say the steak was one of if not the best sirloins I have ever had dining out. Nicky fully enjoyed her main the flavours on the dish although she was sceptical at first proved to be a great choice for her.
Time for the Dessert…!
The main part of the meal well not strictly but what I look forward to the most has to be the dessert and after the first two courses, the dessert I had very high hopes of. I opted for the Dark Chocolate, Rosemary, Delice, Almond, Cherry, Honeycomb Ice Cream and Nicky went for Carrot & Parsnip cake, Chai, Fennel and Carrot.
The dishes came out and yep you guessed it the presentation yet again was great, the look of the dessert was brilliant. My dessert was full of flavour, the richness of the chocolate and the taste of the cherry with the beautiful honeycomb ice-cream made for a mouth bursting spoon of flavour. I started to struggle with my dessert towards the end but the dessert was beyond perfection and a great way to finish a fantastic 3 course meal.
Nicky absolutely loves Carrot cake and she was really looking forward to her cake too, she turned around and said it was the best carrot cake she has had and that’s a bloody big compliment as she eats a lot of carrot cake.
I think you know what the summary is going to be but I would have to say that the Cellar Door is the best kept secret in Durham to me, the dishes were beyond perfect and the Chefs should be really proud. The dining experience with the staff and atmosphere made for the perfect place to dine.
- Location – 8/10
- Dining Experience – 10/10
- Price – 9/10
- Food – 10/10