For years my family have tried to book in at The Grand in Tynemouth for Christmas Day dinner, but every year they’re always completely booked out very early on. This year we managed to get on the waiting list, and in August we had it confirmed that we had a table.
I know going out for Christmas when you’re younger is a pretty big no go, we always wanted to just stay home and enjoy all our new gifts. In recent years we’ve ate lunch at home with my auntie and uncle and cousins, and grandparents that could manage it, but it is so much work for the chefs and the prep lasts for days. This year going out for Christmas Day lunch at The Grand was the best decision we made all Christmas.
I’ll just get straight to the point, it cost £95 per person, and we initially paid a £50 per person deposit in August to confirm the table, and then a few weeks before Christmas we paid the remaining balance. It’s not cheap, but understandably for Christmas Day.
Our table was booked for 2pm, and we made our way along the coast. It’s only ten minutes away from us, which was perfect. There were so many people out for a walk along the sea front, lots of new bikes and scooters, and people walking dogs no doubt to escape the mayhem of the kitchen and clearing up back at home.
Arriving at the Grand we were welcomed in by staff waiting in the entrance, next to the big purple and silver Christmas tree. Our coats were taken from us to hang up, and we were offered either a pre dinner drink in the bar, or we could be taken straight to our table. We chose to go straight to our table, the smell of Christmas dinner coming out of the Brasserie was too much to resist.
The Brasserie is obviously the main restaurant, and it is lovely, we ate there on Mother’s Day earlier this year, and I would highly recommend it to anyone this year. For Christmas, they also open up the Oak Room and the Orchid Suite for Christmas Day dinner too, and our table was in the Oak Room.
There were only four tables in there, three set for between four and five people, and one big that had a party of about eight or ten people tucking into their turkey. Each table was beautifully decorated with gold centrepiece candles, gold and silver crackers, and three big gold and silver balloons. Our table was right by the fireplace and Christmas tree.
The best thing about the set up of the room was that they didn’t try to cram in too many tables. The last thing you want on Christmas Day is to be sharing it with strangers, and they did a great job of keeping a public dining space intimate and private for your own group.
We pulled crackers, put on our party hats, and ordered our wine from the wine list. You have to pay for your drinks on the day, but aside from that the five course dinner is already fully paid for. We were given little canapés, pate and smoked salmon Amuse Bouche to enjoy while we browsed the menu. Despite being Christmas Day, there is still a number of choices available for starter, main and desert.
Starters were cream of white onion soup with parmesan cheese, port wine and brandy laced game terrine with spiced fruit chutney and brioche toast, dill and lobster tortellini in mussel and prosecco cream, and char grilled asparagus with mozzarella and toasted figs. All very festive, and I thoroughly enjoyed the soup with a crusty white bread roll.
For main, I couldn’t see any way past the traditional roast turkey breast with goose fat potatoes (like your nana used to make) with stuffing and pigs in blankets. My dad and sister went for the pomegranate glazed rack of lamb with dauphinoise potatoes, which did look incredible, but how can you have Christmas without pigs in blankets?! We were brought two big bowls of mixed roast veg to share between us as well, and I’m pleased to say plenty gravy! Nothing worse than when places are stingy on the gravy.
The food was amazing, and by the last mouthful I was fully content and had no idea how I’d manage desert, and coffee. Other main options are truffle cooked fillet of beef, seabass and salmon with crushed chive potatoes, or the vegetarian wellington of wild mushroom, butternut squash with red pepper sauce.
All sounds very delicious, but hello? Pigs in blankets? I think it’s pretty good that they offer this full menu on Christmas day, with no clue what people might order as you don’t have to choose in advance.
The staff weren’t intrusive and didn’t rush is through at all, we had a good breather to digest before the girl came back to take our desert order. All the staff were lovely, and didn’t seem to mind making sure that everyone else and their families were having the most perfect Christmas dinner while they were working it. Hats off to them.
For desert I went for the lemon posset, with blackberry compote and vanilla shortbread coin, thinking this would be slightly lighter. Viv and Nige both had traditional Christmas pudding with rum white sauce and liquor salted apricots – doesn’t that sound nice? I wish I liked Christmas pud.
Other options were rich chocolate pave with orange sauce and cherry chantilly cream, or a cheeseboard with grapes and spiced fruit chutney. The whole meal was finished off with coffee and petit fours.
The entire experience of eating out for Christmas dinner was the perfect choice for us this year, and I think my mum felt it the most.
Viv spends days in the run up to Christmas flapping about ordering and preparing food, and then what feels like most of Christmas day in the kitchen, even the years we’ve joined forces with my uncle. She said it was so lovely this year not to have to worry about any of it, she could just enjoy it stress free.
That in itself was enough for us to enjoy it, but the whole Christmas Day dinner experience at The Grand is one that I would do again in a heartbeat too, and I can see why it’s so difficult to get a table.
We had a relaxed morning opening our presents and getting ready without anyone yelling to help cut the carrots or peel potatoes, or rushing to clear up before the Queens speech. It made my mums Christmas and that made ours too.
Hope you all had a lovely Christmas!