Restaurant reviews

The Claret Jug at Oulton Hall: Hearty fare at reasonable prices

Set inside the clubhouse at Oulton Hall (see our full review of the hotel here) and overlooking the 18th hole, The Claret Jug restaurant could be mistaken as exclusively a place for those who fancy a bite to eat after a round of golf. That assumption, however, would simply not do justice to a lovely location for a hearty nibble.

With the views at Oulton Hall pretty spectacular anyway, the view from The Claret Jug is perhaps up there as the best of them all. Overlooking the stunning golf course and the surrounding natural beauty of this part of Leeds, this is a perfect place to take in the views while enjoying decent nosh at a good price.

The a la carte menu is not designed to be extensive but is instead intended to do a few things well. There’s also an excellent value fixed price menu available, so the choice is there between having a full three course meal or just a relaxed light meal (and drink). This relaxing might take the shape of being with your family (there is a full kids’ menu available) or with friends you’ve been at the hotel spa with out on the course with.

Having soaked up the view and ordered our standard fizzy water to start with, we decided against going for the fixed price menu and instead went for the a la carte menu. To start with, we thought we would go for a sharing starter and opted for the bread and oil option. This starter offered a solid range of warm bread, with nice olive oil to dip it in and a lovely garlic tang on one of the breads.

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For our main courses, Charlotte decided to go for the lamb burger while I opted for the meatballs. The lamb burger was excellent, less fatty than its beef equivalent but with a real meaty taste to it. The tzatziki on the side added a refreshing dimension to the burger and ensured that it didn’t feel or taste at all greasy. It was also nice to see a burger bun that had been freshly toasted to just the right temperature before serving.

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My meatballs provided a similarly enjoyable experience, with the meatballs themselves flavoursome and not at all dry. The rice helped to soak up the rich sauce and the smoked applewood provided that cheesy ooze that one really expects to enjoy with decent meatballs!

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Despite being fairly full after our main dishes, we found the strength to power through and have a dessert each! Charlotte opted for the bread and butter pudding which was one of the nicest bread and butter puddings she’s eaten. Moist and rich, there was exactly the right balance between the rich raisins dotted in the pudding and the butter-enriched slices of compressed bread. The toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream rounded the whole thing off in indulgent style!

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I opted to go for the chocolate mousse, which was a decision that I have no regrets about whatsoever! Despite not being a light fluffy mousse, the sheer richness of the dish was balanced out by the whipped cream and strawberries on top. These combined with the dark chocolate mousse to create a dish that while sweet and rich didn’t go too far on either count.

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Overall, The Claret Jug offered great value food, very good service (our waitress was friendly and helpful) as well as splendid views. It might not be the fine dining that Calverley Grill offers at Oulton Hall nor the decadence of the fabulous butler served afternoon tea, but for a light lunch or dinner, it is a fantastic option.

Disclaimer: We were given complimentary meals in order to provide a review. All views are our own and we were under no obligation to provide a positive review.

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