Whilst the centre of Durham is fabulous if you’re looking for a cup of tea in a quaint little tearoom, and just as good if you’re slightly strapped for cash and fancy a cheap and cheerful pizza or bowl of spaghetti, where do you go if you’re looking for something a teensy bit more special?
In the run up to Christmas my boyfriend and I decided to head to The Cellar Door – a lovely restaurant down some very steep steps that has a reputation of being ‘where to get your parents to take you when they visit’. Admittedly, the stairs aren’t the most welcoming but once you get down to the lower level the atmosphere is cosy but still sophisticated.
With it being mid-December, we opted to look at the festive menu and after reading some helpful tripadvisor reviews, went for a decent bottle of Romanian red wine that one waiter had recommended to a previous customer. We were very pleasantly surprised to be greeted with an amuse bouche to start! Small cups of hearty vegetable soup served with different flavoured breads and butters was a great way to start off the meal.
For starter I went for something I hadn’t eaten before – the partridge was cooked really nicely and served with some interesting accompaniments including a ‘pear tree jelly’ and mint honeycomb (I’d have the partridge again but think I’ll give the tooth-pastey honeycomb a miss next time). In-keeping with the gamey theme of my meal, I went for the venison for my main course.At first I was slightly jealous of my boyfriend’s Asian duck dish but the venison was actually really delicious and served with classic vegetables including neeps, carrots and potato. By this point I was nicely full and decided not to order dessert but have an extra glass of wine instead!
The prices aren’t the cheapest you’ll find in Durham but we both really enjoyed the food and the experience. We’ve more recently eaten at the famous Witchery by the Castle in Edinburgh and were much more impressed by the service, menu and food at The Cellar Door! I’m very glad that I made it to the restaurant before I graduate this year and I’d recommend that if you get the chance, take a trip (not literally) down the stairs and enjoy!