I’m pretty damn good at gift giving, it’s just a case of remembering something somebody has said they like, or have an interest in, and giving them that months or years down the line, after they have forgotten ever mentioning it.
My Dad loves Art Deco design, and has always admired The Midland Hotel in Morecambe. I remember as a kid, trips to the seaside town which would always include him admiring the building, even in its neglected, semi dilapidated state.
After an extensive refurbishment of this iconic building, The Midland Hotel is now a thriving business, weddings, baby showers, birthday parties all use their facilities alongside hotel guests.
Knowing my dad has always wanted to visit, I decided to take him for Sunday lunch here for Father’s Day.
It was a busy day in Morecambe, as the kite festival was also happening in town, it was perfect weather for kite flyers though, sunny but breezy! The restaurant is located at the back of the hotel, overlooking the bay, with views over to the Lake District. Word of warning, on a sunny day it’s bright in here, unbearably so. Bring some shades. Usually I love being in a bright, well lit restaurant, but similar to how it was when I visited Aumbry, the combination of white linen and bright airy environment gave me a headache.
Being in my late twenties at the time of writing, whilst by no means could I be considered “old”, I also don’t feel like a young person any more. This was to change at The Midland, as I was definitely the youngest person, aside from staff, in the restaurant, and I’m convinced that my dad, in his 50s was the second youngest! I wonder if this was a one off, or if The Midland’s usual patrons are… of a “certain age” and if there is anything they can do to attract a younger crowd.
Anyway, onto the food. They’re doing things properly here, I’m a big fan of bread at restaurants, we were offered a choice between walnut or chilli and cheese bread. I asked for one of each, my request was reluctantly accepted.
To start, my dad chose the Confit Duck and Slow Braised Rhubarb Pot Pie, which came with another slice of the walnut bread and some anchovy butter. The filling of the pie was intensely savoury, some serious reduction has been at play here.
Due to two of the courses containing celeriac (smoked salmon with remolade or a celeriac and chilli soup,) and not fancying the pot pie myself, I chose the light sounding Heritage Tomato Salad, I guess it is indicative of the service industry in the UK, and possibly the young age of the waiter, that whilst when the food was brought to the table, they named my dads dish “pot pie” to ascertain where to place it, with mine they just said “vegetarian” which did annoy me slightly. Yes, it I said a vegetarian friendly dish, but “tomato salad” would have been a better thing to say. Am I being fussy? Probably.
Different textures of tomato, a chewy oven dried tomato, charred green tomatoes and segments of fresh tomato, alongside beetroot, charred radicchio and crispy basil leaves. A tasty and light salad to start a meal.
For mains, both of us had the classic Roast Rump of Beef, served with a good sized Yorkshire pudding, roasties, carrots and brocolli and a rich red wine sauce (gravy, mate, it’s gravy.) Absolutely no complaints here, whilst not the high flying excellence of the roast beef at Hispi, where the beef was sliced thinner and much rarer, a touch of pink remained in the slices of beef, and it was much more tender than I was expecting.
For afters my dad had the Strawberries and Cream, which were served with pink peppercorn meringue and a strawberry gastrique.
I had the much more artfully plated dessert of Raspberry Parfait which was served with fresh raspberries, raspberry gel and puffed wild rice. This is the sort of pudding I live for, it was light as a feather, the parfait was creamy and airy, with the sharp yet sweet flavours of raspberries. Puffed wild rice added texture to keep things interesting and coriander cress added a little herbaceous note. By the time I’d finished, I was scraping my spoon across the plate to get every last bit of flavour.
I really think that the Sun Terrace at The Midland Hotel is on a good trajectory, there is some ambition here, in what is essentially a hotel kitchen (where many hotel kitchens would just try and do what they had to, to feed the guests, and nothing more) They are pushing with some techniques and flavours, and even if they may not be super on trend, they are doing something to stand out, and I have no doubt that this is the best place, by a country mile, for food in Morecambe, (if you ever meet me, ask me about the super authentic American diner I once visited there), I guess you just need a legitimate reason to visit Morecambe… which… umm… err… hmm… it… it has a big Morrisons?