The Treehouse Restaurant @ The Alnwick Garden- guest post by Katherine Howe

Having never been to Northumberland for more than a stop off my boyfriend decided to take me back to his homeland for a few days to visit the sights and nosh of the ‘Great North East’ he regularly talks about. As both of us are huge Harry Potter fans he decided to take me to Alnwick Castle and its surrounding gardens which were used as Hogwarts in the first two of the Harry Potter film series. Having ventured around the castle and its beautiful gardens (despite the torrential rain and getting trapped in a maze!) we stumbled across what is known as the ‘Treehouse’. As we had already disappointingly eaten back at the castle (some stupidly expensive dodgy BBQ burgers) we thought that we could come back here in the evening as our hotel was only a few miles away.

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The Treehouse restaurant boasts a magical, unique yet romantic atmosphere of Swiss Family Robinson, Neverland and the French Alps all combined into one! Another great aspect that the Treehouse restaurant is extremely proud of is that all its produce is farmed locally. As we arrived and walked up the gentle slope that takes you into this magical world we were 25 minutes early for our booking. A Maître’d was already waiting and so we were escorted into a separate bar which by day serves lunch, snacks and drinks. As we were seated a waitress was already handing us a menu (which was £32.95 for 3 courses with and additional £6 for the fillet steak) and taking our drinks order. Throughout the entire evening the staff were attentive and friendly making the entire visit not just about the food, but making sure we had an enjoyable experience.

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After two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc I was starting to feel ready for dinner. We were escorted into the main restaurant, which just completely blew us away. The entire space was entwined with tree branches coming through (of course) the wooden flooring and fairy lights it was like Peter Pan and the lost boys treehouse. Everything was rustic and authentic from the furniture and menus being made from wood to the smell of wood burning, yet there was something comfy and cosy about the surroundings and with the sounds of the 1940s Jazz era playing in the background, it was the perfect atmosphere. Considering it was a Monday night the place was filled with couples and yet for so many people in there the small hubble of conversation was an ideal atmosphere.

Having already ordered our starters and mains in the bar, within minutes of us sitting down in the restaurant we were being served our food. Knowing that there were three courses ahead of me I just ordered the selection of breads with balsamic vinegar in oil. Served on a wooden board was a selection of plain breads and Stilton with walnut bread that just melted in your mouth.

A selection of breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
A selection of breads, including Stilton and walnut bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Dan decided to opt for the pigeon pastrami, as he had never tried it. Although he said it was a little dry it was beautifully pink as it was garnished. It came on a bed of bruschetta with pickled red cabbage, mustard cress, salted caramel walnut and crunchy pickles.

Pigeon pastrami pickled red cabbage, mustard cress, salted caramel walnut and crunchy pickles
Pigeon pastrami, pickled red cabbage, mustard cress, salted caramel walnut and crunchy pickles

Having left us to enjoy our starters at a steady pace staff were eager to clear our empty plates to make way for our main courses. Although we waited half an hour between the first and second course it did not affect our evening as we were soaking in the ambiance and mesmerised by the setting.

After what seemed a fairly short wait (I had ordered yet another Sauvignon!) our main courses arrived. Having had such a poor attempt at a cheeseburger earlier that day (I had two bites Dan ate the rest, can you tell he’s a food loving burly fireman?!?) I was really in the mood for some really good quality fillet steak (as was Dan), and my god was it quality! Served on a bed of oyster mushroom, whole confit of garlic, roasted bone marrow butter, potato rosti and pan jus.

6 oz fillet of beef with oyster mushroom, whole confit of garlic, roasted bone marrow butter, potato rosti, pan jus
6 oz fillet of beef with oyster mushroom, whole confit of garlic, roasted bone marrow butter, potato rosti, pan jus
Sweet potato fries with coriander yoghurt
Sweet potato fries with coriander yoghurt

The steak was cooked to my liking of medium quality and just melted in my mouth (I have never seen Dan eat so slowly!). We also ordered a portion of sweet potato fries with coriander mayonnaise, which were so beautifully crisp. Having not left an ounce of food on our plates we were ready to order dessert (which I was starting to question whether I could fit as I was feeling pretty full!). I ordered the baked chocolate mousse that came with rhubarb candy, stem ginger cream filled doughnut, chocolate sorbet, although there was not an ounce of ‘mousse’ or sorbet in sight (they obviously had none as it came with a ball of vanilla ice cream) it was still delightful.

Baked chocolate mousse with rhubarb candy, stem ginger cream filled doughnut, chocolate sorbet
Baked chocolate mousse with rhubarb candy, stem ginger cream filled doughnut, chocolate sorbet

The chocolate ‘mousse’ came out as two small SOLID squares of dark chocolate which looked more like tiny brownies that just melted on my tongue however in my opinion what spoilt it was the doughnut (I’m not a huge fan of doughnuts) and it did not really compliment the dark rich chocolate that was alongside of it. Nevertheless there was not too much food and once again with the assistance of Dan none of it went to waste. Speaking of which Dan had definitely opted for the fuzzy end of the lollipop, he ordered a selection of sorbet that was marinated melon, and vanilla crumb which was in his words ‘refreshing and the palette cleanser’ he needed. I’m a firm believer that if you order a dessert it needs to be rich or do not bother. Sorbet to me is an ‘in-between course’ palette cleanser but regardless of this Dan really enjoyed it and presentation wise it looked lovely as came in a tall Martini glass.

Selection of sorbet marinated melon, vanilla crumb
Selection of sorbet marinated melon, vanilla crumb

Overall combining the quality of the food, the service and the entire ambiance of the evening it has to be one of the most ideal and hopefully memorable meals I have experienced. The final bill came to around £93 not including service charge which I think was worth every penny but not exactly ideal for those on a tight budget, however like I said earlier in the article you can still gain the experience of ‘being in the treehouse’ during the day for much less.

It is definitely a place you go for an occasion and ours was Dan completing a 126 mile bike ride the day before for the bike for Bobby Robson sportif around Newcastle. From the moment we arrived at the Treehouse I knew that we would be looked after by the attentive staff that made every part a memorable and enjoyable experience.

10/10 in regards to the quality of food and experience.

The Alnwick Garden
Denwick Lane
Alnwick
Northumberland
NE66 1YU
01665 511350
http://www.alnwickgarden.com/explore/whats-here/the-treehouse/restaurant

 

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