I was very lucky to be invited to the new menu launch at The Walton Hotel last night on Derby Road. I have walked past the outside of the building maybe a hundred times but had never been in before. I don’t know why, maybe I thought it was too posh for me! I always wondered what was behind that huge stone wall…
The owners took over the hotel three years ago and have spent a long time painstakingly restoring the inside, returning it to its former glory. It really is stunning.
The entrance is accessed via a flight of stone steps from North Road. If you turn right at the top you arrive at a beautiful terrace with tables, chairs, heaters and a gorgeous water fountain decorated with teeny tiny cherubs. It looked gorgeous in the darkness and would be perfect for a summer wedding reception. I can imagine spending an hour (or three) sipping champagne in the sun there.
If you continue to the top of the stairs and through the huge wooden door, you enter the main building. Dark wood and roaring fires create the backdrop to an alluring venue, it exudes an air of stately home but not in any way stuffy. Weirdly I didn’t feel as out of place as I thought I would.
We were given a brief tour of the private dining room, a long dark table the focal point of the room, surrounded by chairs and decorated with some of the prettiest wine glasses I have ever seen. Candelabras and chandeliers feature heavily at The Walton, creating a lovely warm atmosphere. We saw the Christmas trees dotted around the venue too, huge, maybe 15ft high and decorated in a mixture of colours. I love Christmas and am happy that the decorations were up early enough for me to witness them, although it would have been even better to have helped to decorate them!
We then went through to what I think was the snug area, with another fireplace and a mix of tables and sofas. We finished our night here and it was a nice chilled out place to relax with a nightcap. The original murals are still displayed, a mixture of birds and monkeys stare down at you while you are drinking. I am so glad that they haven’t removed them as they are wonderful.
Through to the bar area (I didn’t get a decent picture) was a huge circular seating area that could probably fit 16 with no issues.
We were then seated in the dining room and shown the food menu to make our selection. We ordered a bottle of wine (Sauvignon Blanc) and chose our dinner.
The Gaztronome and I went for the pan seared king scallops on a bed of creamy cauliflower purée, cauliflower beignets, black pudding crumb and pan jus. This was incredible. The knife cut through the scallops like butter and the purée complimented it extremely well. I tried a beignet which was delicious but made with cheese, so I only had a little taste.
My friend Gemma from The Gem Agenda ordered the duck liver and orange parfait (I forgot to get a picture) with toasted gluten free brioche, fig and plum chutney and pea shoots. It looked delicious and the plate was cleared by Gem so I believe she enjoyed it too!
For main, I stupidly ordered the delicious sounding pan fried fillet of seabass with king prawn, crayfish and crushed pea risotto. The reason this was stupid was because obviously it contained cheese. I didn’t think about this at the time. I tried a little and the seabass was incredible. I love crisp skin on fish and this was done perfectly, presented beautifully and moist and full of flavour.
Gaz ordered the 10oz 28 day matured Derbyshire centre cut sirloin steak, medium rare, with skinny fries, field mushroom, slow roasted tomato and peppercorn sauce. Thankfully I was able to swap my main with Gaz and I ate the steak instead! I did have to send the first one back as it was undercooked (rare rather than medium rare) but it was replaced extremely quickly. The second was still a little too rare for my taste but it was enjoyable nonetheless. The peppercorn sauce was delicious, creamy and hot and a whole load of mmmmmm.
Gemma ordered the roast belly pork with creamed potatoes. Again I didn’t take a photo!
For dessert, my eye was firmly on the double chocolate fudge nut brownie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Oh. My. God. It was amazing. The brownie was gooey and rich and the chocolate sauce and ice cream were amazing. It was a huge piece and I couldn’t finish it.
Gaz went for the tart au citron with raspberry coulis and sorbet. It was beautiful. Summery and light, stunning to look at and even better to taste (I stole some)
Gemma went for the classic Eton mess. This was huge!
I have to give a huge shout out to Viktorija, our waitress for the evening. Oh wow what a delight. She was funny, engaging and so informative. Viktorija answered all of our questions regarding dietary requirements knowledgeably and really was lovely. She is an absolute credit to the team. She told us that she had been at the Walton for just over a week. DO NOT LET HER GO!
Thank you to the team for allowing me to come and review the evening. No doubt I will be back soon for even more!