Thursday, 11 August 2016

The Midland Hotel Promenade Morecambe 9th-10th August 2016

I had a mixed experience at The Midland Hotel in The Sun Terrace Restaurant last year (see here), so hoped this visit would be special, as it was a belated wedding anniversary celebration.   I contacted them to notify them of my diagnosed allergies, which did not cause a problem, so I was really looking forward to two nights dinner in the restaurant, with its magnificent views across Morecambe Bay.   On arrival, it was a good job I had brought dairy free milk, as there was none in the fridge, as on our last visit.

My photos are a little unclear and fuzzy, as the lighting was not brilliant, especially on the second night, as the skies were dark and broody with heavy rain.

The vegan menu, has three choices for each course, which as we were on a two night stay, meant I could have a different dinner each night.

Courgette flowers are rarely seen on menus, although I have eaten them a number of times, stuffed with ratatouille and deep fried, or fried in a light batter, served with a sauce like pesto or romesco.   So I chose the courgette flower starter, which turned up looking like this, as they had forgotten to put the courgette flower on.

The second attempt was not much better, the flower was raw, stuffed with the couscous mixture it was served on.   I could not taste the lemon and ginger dressing and the green blobs were a very metallic tasting basil gel.   The dish was dry, bland and under seasoned and needed some kind of sauce to elevate it. a different filling and the courgette flower needed cooking.   Dinner got off to a bad start.

I chose the sauteed wild mushroom dish for mains, it was lacking in flavour and unappealing to look at, with small round potatoes, as if they were made with a melon baller, I did wonder if they were frozen.   I ordered sides of minted potatoes, which were better than those on the plate and greens, but all the food needed seasoning, I was not impressed and opted not to have dessert.

I chose a Domaine de Gry Sablon Morgon red wine, which was not labelled as vegan on the menu, but I had done my research beforehand, it brightened my mood, as the food certainly did not.

Breakfast the following morning, was an improvement with various fruits, cereals and porridge (although not sure if it was made with water, so my husband had it and it was like wallpaper paste).   A hot breakfast of mushrooms, tomatoes and saute potatoes was much better, but even so still needed a good grind of seasoning and I am not a salt person.

I had my reservations about our second nights dinner, but as we were on a dinner, bed and breakfast rate, I had no option but to give them another chance.   I chose an organic, Fairtrade South African Chenin Blanc wine, listed on the wine menu as vegan, which was an excellent choice.

I chose the vine tomato starter, accompanied with the same metallic tasting basil gel, pink gel which I think was watermelon and some blobs of white stuff (no idea what this was, my husband tried it and he had no idea either).   This dish again needed some seasoning, was not particularly inspiring or full of flavour.

Mains was the charred baby gem lettuce dish, all the ingredients of which, were the accompaniments to the meat, on my husbands main course the evening before.   It was just a pile of broad beans, peas, samphire and lettuce, with the same round potatoes as the previous night.   I ground loads of salt on it, but even this failed to lift this unappetising dish of the colour green, what was chef thinking.   I decided not to complain, I was hungry after walking eight miles that day and by the time mains arrived it was 21.30 pm and I dread to think what I would have been offered if I had.

To end this forgettable meal, I chose chocolate brownie with seasonal fruits, though peach is not a great partner with chocolate, but the brownie itself was surprisingly good.

I do not know if there has been a change of chef and do not recall the components of the dishes, on my last two visits, as being a mish mash of ingredients, cobbled together from dishes on the main menu, something I would expect twenty odd years ago.   The presentation, especially the main courses left much to be desired and I love the colour green, but not that much.   I have no idea why they have a vegan menu, no thought or creativity is involved, its more to suit the convenience of the kitchen, rather than giving the customer something appetising.   I initially was going to enquire about the possibility of vegan afternoon tea, so I could visit with friends, who would love the hotel, but based on this last experience, I gave up on that idea.

The Midland Hotel is a fantastic art deco hotel, right on the front over looking Morecambe Bay, the views are priceless, I love it and would certainly revisit on a B&B basis.   Every member of staff I encountered was brilliant, friendly, helpful and professional and looked after me really well, I loved them.   Did I love The Sun Terrace Restaurant food, no I did not.   Would I return to dine there in the future - Definitely Not.

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