Is private dining all it’s cracked up to be?
Sometimes, when you’re eating out in a big group, it’s nice to pretend that you’re the only ones there, especially if your crowd, like mine, is a bit raucous!
Private dining rooms are fab for all manner of occasions, discreet business dinners and client lunches, birthday dinners with friends, special anniversaries, hen and stag meals and of course, wedding receptions, but do you still get the restaurant ambiance or is it like eating at home? Years of working in London have seen me frequent many a private dining room (I once had a divine dinner in Nobu where one of the guests asked for a bottle of Tobasco sauce to spice up his sushi, ouch)! Personally, I was never a huge fan as I always felt removed from the atmosphere of the restaurant, but there’s been a huge resurgence in the whole vibe so I was keen to try out Highgate House to see what it offers you guys. It’s based in Creaton (in the west of the county), only a short trip from Muddy Mansions in Wellingborough. Heading west on the A14 to the outlying villages it’s easy to forget how close some of the most beautiful parts of the country, let alone the county, actually are. And Highgate House, perched over the fields really is truly majestic.
The rooms range from period rooms in the main house including the majestic Baronial Hall to the large Coote function suite, and Highgate House can cater for any event between 10-200 people…something for everyone. Most of the private dining rooms are beautifully appointed with views of the surrounding countryside and in my humble opinion, are a quirky alternative dining option for the peeps of Northamptonshire. Highgate is an old hat at this too, and has years of experience catering for the rowdy and not so rowdy, all overseen by award-winning chefs. Lee Gaskins, Head Chef since 2007 continues to wow customers and wins numerous awards for his dedication to cooking (Muddy met him in the summer and he has a definite twinkle in his eye too)! Check out a Q&A with him here.
Our private dining room for the evening was the Library which is a quaint and very charming dining room with a roaring fire (it’s on the ground floor of the main house so no tricky steps). This room is perfect for intimate lunches or small family gatherings (seats 16) and looks out over the surrounding countryside (when you can see in the day time).
You’re allocated your own waiters, and from the moment you arrive, you don’t need to leave for anything, apart from the loo of course! It’s a set 3 course menu from £35 upwards, with some packages including welcome drink and canapes. There’s a great choice with starters like Local Brixworth Pate and Goats Cheese Tart, which everyone wolfed down, and the vegetarian and pescatarian said there was lots of choice for them too.
Main choices were plenty, from Grilled Sea Bass to Roast Sirloin of Beef, and the portion sizes were HUGE (there was some very happy Muddy doggies that evening).
Puddings ranged from lemon cheescake to warm chocolate brownie, and the cheese and biscuits platter, which arrived for one, fed the whole table!
The staff couldn’t have been more helpful (a special shout out to Mitch, who at the very tender age of 18, managed to keep a gaggle of girls in check, and even sorted us out with some tunes), the food more plentiful and tasty and the ambiance more warm. Obviously this depends on your group, but Highgate dec the room out very nicely and add touches like fires and candles for the best possible ambiance. It’s a differenet dining experience to a restaurant, but I don’t think you have to pick one or the other, it’s just an added option should it take your fancy! Check out details of what’s on offer here, and remember you can also stay in one of the bedrooms at Highgate House, which often has deals on for way less than a £100 a night (makes sense to make an evening of it and dispense of the allocated driver). As usual, let us know if you make it along, it’s always good to know if you enjoy these things as much as we do (every one of the ladies that night LOVED it)! Cheers…Highgate House, Creaton, Northampton NN6 8NN | 01604 731731 | firstname.lastname@example.org