Alnwick Castle

It was Saturday 16th February, Valentine’s weekend was upon us and romance was in the air. Just where could we go that was a bit out there and could fit the occasion? When I discovered that The Sanctuary restaurant was providing a soiree in Alnwick Castle, we were on our way. According to their website, Alnwick Castle states,

Experience an evening of cosy ambience and intimate enchantment with your loved one this Valentine’s. Tantalise your taste buds with The Sanctuary’s decadent three course menu, meticulously prepared by our resident chef. Inspired by sublime, wholesome flavours and fresh ingredients, our Valentine’s menu is a loving collection of irresistible delights and pleasing aromas.

Eating like royalty in a medieval castle had to be worth a shot right? Cupid don’t forget your bow and arrow…

Although it took us a while to find our way into the colossal castle, when we found our bearings I remember feeling a sense of empowerment by the stunning setting and after a few moments taking in the beautiful surroundings, we swiftly scurried through the gates.

The Sanctuary has a cute interior with colourful flags throughout the subtle yet mesmeric room. Our table was set waiting for us with flickering candlelight and scattered rose petals along with the menu for the evening which at first glance was simple, straightforward and had just enough choice to keep everyone happy.

To drink, we opted for Turi, a red Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile. This medium bodied, smooth Cabernet had an elegant and expressive nose, with fresh aromas of red berries, light smoky notes and chocolate hints.

To start, from a choice of three starters we both chose Seared Scallops with Black Pudding, Celeriac Puree, Green Apple Vinaigrette and Celery Cress. Wonderfully presented and looking divine, the trio of scallops were cooked with perfect consistency. The celeriac puree was a welcome addition that added creaminess to the dish too. A great start.

For our mains, from a choice of four, again we went with the same which was 8oz Ribeye Steak with Chips, Confit Beef Tomato, Portabello Mushroom and Peppercorn Sauce. Both 8oz rib eye steaks were cooked incredibly well and came just how we ordered them to be which was rare. The thick pungent peppercorn sauce was spectacular too but for me the handcut chips were the stars of the dish; I could’ve eaten four portions. So far, the food was amazing and was complimenting the romance of the setting fittingly.

Now for the finale as the night was about get even sweeter…

When the dessert menu was presented our way, we went with Warm Chocolate Fondant, Raspberry Compote, Vanilla Ice Cream but I was out of choice as there were no gluten free options. However, our delightful waiter politely informed us that the chef could whisk me up a cracking Strawberry Eton Mess. With the blend of thick cream and melt in your mouth meringue; it was a refreshing way to end my night.

The moist chocolate fondant sphere was joy on the eye but even more so in the stomach. The fruity sauce along with the delicate smoothness of the vanilla ice cream, were excellent accompaniments to the light, decadent, soft centred bake.

When the three courses were over and it was time to leave, we said our farewells to the courteous staff and set off through the castle like we were back in the 1300s returning home after a feast. The Sanctuary has many events throughout the year, do everything you can to get yourself to one of them. I mean, it’s not every day you can say you’ve dined like a king or queen in a castle…