[Morecambe] Sun Terrace Restaurant, Midland Hotel
Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside. I do like to be beside the sea.
And you don’t get much closer to the sea than the restaurant at the Midland Hotel. When we’re “out and about”, the Good Food Guide is usually what we rely on for restaurants. But it was by co-incidence that we were here and the hotel restaurant had just made its first appearance in the 2013 edition. We had actually scored a cracking deal on a dinner inclusive overnighter at this renovated Art Deco hotel.
The restaurant has a grand view over Morecambe Bay and it just seemed right to order the local shrimps as a starter. They came in a mini Kilner jar, mixed with warm butter and accompanied by a handful of leaves and a couple of slices of very decent sourdough bread. Pleasant enough, although they seemed to be lacking the subtle spicing that you get in the more traditional potted shrimps.
Underseasoning seems to be a bit of an issue in the kitchen. A slice of onion tart was otherwise fine – good crisp pastry, generous filling. Alongside, a little frisee salad with a tangy mustardy dressing.
A main course of monkfish was generally well crafted. It sat on a bed of vegetables – spinach and fennel – and was topped with a scattering of juicy mussels and crisp samphire. The only let-down here was a nondescript cream sauce which really added nothing but wetness. On the other plate, long braised blade of beef was OK. Nothing to write home about, flavourwise, but certainly OK. There were decent fries (swapped for the advertised mash), carrots and green beans. The latter were in the “very al dente” fashion of a decade ago.
To finish a scoop of mango sorbet was very much second choice, as the kitchen had run out of most of the flavours of the local ice cream that its menu makes much of. Cheese was a good plate, if a little fridge cold. A selection of five British & Irish ones – usual accompaniments of biscuits, celery, chutney and grapes.
It may be a bit more fashionable now, but samphire has been eaten in England for centuries - especially, I imagine, in the North West, North Wales and East Anglia. I love it, but it needs to be washed well before cooking, to get rid of some of the salt and then lots of butter when it's cooked :o)
re: helen b
Maybe it's just me and my crappy tastebuds, but I've never got the similarity with asparagus. Except for the fact it's green, can be crunchy and is much improved with obscene amounts of butter.
It's good to see it more available these days - even the fishmonger in the next "village" often has it.