Sitting down as a family to eat is really important to us and so when Nailcote Hall invited us to choose from their Afternoon Tea or Sunday lunch experience, despite being the self crowned "Queen of Afternoon Tea", I thought it would be a lovely chance for us to all go out for lunch this Sunday afternoon.
Nailcote Hall is a small English stately home, built in 1640 just before the start of the English Civil War. It is situated in Berkswell which is less than 20 miles from the centre of Birmingham but has a lovely rural feel about the locality. I have been to a number of events at the venue before from weddings and tribute nights in the marquee to fashion shows but have never experienced the restaurant for a dining experience, so we were all looking forward to our lunch!
The entrance to the hotel doesn't have a "contemporary feel to it, with rugs over original wooden floors it is more like you are going back in time to a place where time stands still and no one is in a rush and we were encouraged to go through to the bar area and relax, where someone would come and see us. We arrived a little after 1pm but despite being lunchtime it didn't feel hectic, although we did initially have to wait a while for someone to come and see us. We were presented with the Sunday lunch menus whereby we could sit in the comfy chairs to browse through the selections before being taken through to the restaurant.
The Sunday lunch at Nailcote can be as big or as little as you like, as you can choose from 2,3 or even 4 courses depending on how hungry your stomach is.... or how much the menu tempts you. 2 courses are £24.50, £27.50 for 3 courses, rising to £29.50 for 4 courses. There is a smaller menu choice for the children and this is 3 courses for £15.
My eldest daughter and I choose the Fan of Cantaloupe Melon with fresh berries and home churned sorbet, which was a light and refreshing start to our meal (unsurprisingly she was particularly partial to the sorbet)
My husband immediately chose the Duck, Orange & Green Pepper Pate as this is something that we never tend to buy at home, although he swapped the sour dough bread that it came with, for the multitude of warm bread that was served on the table. I am personally not a big fan of pate but he was delighted with his choice and commented on the velvety texture of the pate that had non of the fatty elements that some pate's can have.
For my main meal, I chose the Roast Leg of Lamb which is a personal favourite but as no one else in our house really likes lamb I never tend to cook it at home, so it was a real treat for me. It was accompanied by roast potatoes and mashed potatoes together with seasonal vegetables which were cooked beautifully. My husband chose the Roast Sirloin of Scottish Beef which came with the largest yorkshire pudding I have ever seen and according to him, the most melt in the mouth beef he has possibly ever tasted. The meat was carved at the table for us and presented with seperate dishes of vegetables that were served to our plates. Had my Dad been with us, he would have commented that the meat was not "piping hot" but it had clearly been left to rest and served how it should be. (It is just worth noting for any one that is like my Dad and insists on burning your tongue on your food).
We chose the Fresh Exotic Fruit Salad and Dark Chocolate Creme Brulee for dessert, which were light enough to find room for after such a hearty meal. The smallest member of the family asked for chocolate ice cream but we were advised that the kitchen were not happy with how the ice cream had been churned, so they would rather not serve it, she was happy to accept strawberry and vanilla as an alternative. We were impressed that so many of the foods on the menu were made and churned in house but equally, we were impressed with the honesty of the hotel that they didn't want to serve an icecream that did not meet their standards ... even if it was for a 5 year old.
The restaurant was quiet and relaxed, with ambient music fed into the room. It wasn't too crowded but had a nice feel to the room and we were treated to a 5* experience without being pretentious.
Throughout our time at Nailcote Hall, the staff were extremely attentive and responsive, and it is always the little touches that make the Nailcote experience more than just a Sunday lunch. From the staff taking our drinks through to the restaurant, providing an extra cushion so that the youngest member of the family could sit at the same height as everyone else, to personal recommendations on the wine and dessert offerings, we really did have a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon. I was surprised to find that 2 hours had gone by and the girls hadn't once asked for any kind of electrical device at the table, as we had just sat, chatted and laughed together, which for me is what a Sunday is all about.
The 5 year old delighted in every part of the meal and experience today, from being personally attended to at the table, to pretending to drink wine at the table (it was obviously only water) and she declared that she would like to go to Nailcote Hall every Sunday for lunch. We received the adults meals as part of this review but had we not received any concessions, it would have cost just over £100 for today's lunch which makes it more of a special occasion venue choice than an every day meal location.
That said, I would have no hesitation in recommending the food and service to any of our friends and it makes a perfect location for Mothers Day or a birthday celebration. We saw that there are lots of events coming up at Nailcote Hall from tribute acts to ladies day at the races, so there is always something going on (that is without the golf course facilities). We will be returning to Nailcote next month for a charity fashion show with Liliann Occasion Wear but I have no doubt that we will be going for Sunday lunch again soon (especially if the 5 year old has anything to do with it).