The recently refurbished Claret Jug at Oulton Hall is the perfect place for informal casual dining.

A short walk from the main hotel it overlooks the golf course and when the weather is such, is great for alfresco dining. But even when its hot outside its cool inside with the slate floors, feature walls of stone and spacious areas.

The restaurant area can be just what you want it to be or  enjoy a snack or a burger in the lounge bar area or something more substantial from the main menu.

For starters we chose a portion of the garlic rubbed sourdough bread and believe me this was no ordinary bread but a baker’s triumph, soft, flavoursome and served with olive oil and sea salt.

My partners choice of sweet bbq pork spare ribs was very tasty and the meat was tender; however my breaded Halloumi bites with an enchilada sauce were quite rubbery in texture.

The Claret Jug has an excellent grill menu with lots of choices. My partner went for the ribeye steak. To help customers, who are sometimes vague when ordering their steaks on how they like it cooked there is a guide on the menu – an ingenious idea.

The steak came to the table exactly as the description for brown seared – outside dark brown, centre cooked thoroughly. The meat was succulent and the accompaniments of seasoned fries, portobello mushrooms and roasted plum tomatoes were hot and full of flavour.

My choice of grilled salmon steak did not disappoint. Salmon is a hard thing to grill. It either comes under-grilled making it slimey in the middle or over grilled and dry. This was just right congratulations to the chef. The house salad that accompanied it was one of the best with just about everything in it including beetroot, cucumber, onions and all the usual salad items.

It was refreshing between courses to go and sit on the terrace and sip our drinks looking out over the green fairways.

There is a good selection of sweets on the menu all with their own special touch. I opted for the St Clement’s tart – not sure what it would arrive like as in the past as several different restaurants I have been very disappointed.

However I was more than pleased with my sweet. It passed the pastry test – crisp and firm and the gel filling was tangy but not too sour and made from the oranges and lemons as mention in the nursery rhyme (Oranges and Lemons say the bells of St.Clements). Serving it with crème fraiche was a very good idea as it did not smother the delicious citrus taste.

Staff at The Claret Jug are friendly and very knowledgeable about their products and dispense all the niceties of five star service in a casual environment. You can eat at any time of day here enjoying everything from breakfast to dinner.

For casual, out of town dining The Claret Jug is perfect and there’s no parking problems, the only downside being that noise does gravitate from the bar area into the restaurant but for us it added to the atmosphere.

The Claret Jug is open every day from 7.30am to 21.00pm.   To book a table or for further details call 0113 282 1000

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