RECOMMENDATION | The Victoria Hotel, Robin Hood’s Bay
Location =10 out of 10
You can’t miss the Victoria Hotel; it’s perched proudly on the cliff tops of Robin Hood’s Bay – the final dwelling in a long line of B&Bs with an air of grandeur when compared to its smaller, less imposing neighbours, complete with a palm tree out front. You will gush over the view from the beer garden. The place is a winner when it comes to its perfect position overlooking the North Sea and rocky cliffs of Robin Hood’s Bay. It’s ultimate ‘Prosecco with a panorama’ spot on a sunny day.
Interior design & ambiance = 3/10
As we stepped over the threshold into the hotel I half expected Manuel to come frantically running through the lobby, raring past the rather precarious looking dusty suit of armour, knocking it flying across the pokey reception area dominated by a very grand but tired looking staircase, with Basil on his tail and Sibel screeching at Basil from behind the reception desk…
As we made our way through the lobby and into the bar area I grimaced and began to question my choice of eating establishment. Not that we had much choice. It was 2pm and most of the public houses had stopped serving lunch.
The shiny pine clad bar area with worn claret red floral carpets, brown leatherette covered bench style seating and sticky glass marks on a few of the tables made me shudder. I’m one of those OCD types that will only eat (and allow my children to eat) in sterile environments. I never sit next to walls in restaurants as my stomach turns at the sight of woodchip wallpaper, grubby finger marks and dusty dado rails. Not that the Victoria had any of these decorative touches, but you get my drift. The hubby did the humdrum roll of the eyes as I suggested hot footing it out of the door; quickly followed by a short sharp NO! Our children, who hadn’t eaten for a good few hours and were currently gnawing at a table leg, where more important than my overt snobbery. In his words.
I reluctantly agreed to stay put, found a vacant table in the window and cautiously peeled through the pages of the sticky menu whilst the hubby went to the bar. Of course I didn’t order wine. It looked like the type of place where the wine inevitably was going to come out of an optic or a tap. I had a Peroni.
I clocked the fish and chips on the menu. Fish and chips in champagne batter to be precise. Obviously I questioned the champagne element. The kids also wanted fish and chips and the hubby, a pie and chips. Although his first preference was scampi but I managed to persuade him otherwise; I’m always cautious of scampi in such establishments, not least because it will inevitability be out of a packet from the freezer. I went to the bar to order the food and quickly got into a conversation with the barmaid who proceeded to tell me about the two plus bottles of wine she’s necked at the bingo the night before. Apparently hangovers and bar shifts don’t mix very well. Really? I would never have guessed. It took a while for us to process our order and operate the till. Probably due to the hangover. Still, we giggled and I humoured her. I refrained from telling her that I was going to write a blog. That would have been mean of me.
Food = 10 out of 10
The food came in good time; and right away I knew that I had done this place a disservice. Pangs of guilt hit me as I was served up the most amazing looking plate of fish and chips. In fairness, I could have made do with the child’s portion which was the average adult portion in most fish and chip shops. My plate contained nothing short of a small whale. Iain’s pie looked equally delicious but he was somewhat cheesed off that he hadn’t gone with the scampi. Again, another pang of guilt came over me. Not just for insisting that Iain didn’t order scampi, but because I was very quick to judge this book by its slightly tatty cover.
We tucked in. There were lots of ohhhhhs and ahhhhs and ummmms coming from us all as we devoured the food in front of us. Chips were big and chunky and certainly homemade. The batter was golden with a slight crisp and cooked perfectly. There was an profusion of white, flaky perfectly cooked fish, decent mushy peas and a good dollop of Tatar sauce served in a little bowl on the plate. It was piping hot and simply divine. I demolished the lot.
At less than £45 for the four of us (including drinks and a tip) it was very reasonable for what we got. We paid the bill and headed outside into the beer garden. The sun was shining and there were a fair few families perched on the wooden tables whilst their children raced around the fenced lawn. I immediately began to question why the hell we didn’t choose to eat outside? Mouth-watering fish and chips al fresco, cutlery, a peroni, and a sea view to rival the wallpaper in any fine dining restaurant. The Victoria hotel quickly went for zero to hero.
I’d also like to point out that there is a brasserie within the hotel that overlooks the sea and opens at 6pm. I stuck my head round the door to find white linen and candles on the tables. The menu boasts a delicious sounding selection of fish, meat and game options. If any of it is anywhere near as good as my champagne battered fish and chips then it’s a must visit. Next time…
Don’t be a fool like me and condemn this hotel because it’s public areas are not on par with The Dorchester. The Dorchester will categorically never be able to own a view like the Victoria Hotel does and will never serve up such lip-smacking fishing and chips for less than a tenner either. Yes the bar is a bit shabby, and the lobby could do with a lick of paint, but the view is priceless and the grub is top notch.
It’s also super child friendly. My two ran riot inside and out and no-one batted an eyelid, which is always a bonus when you’re eating out with two hyperactive little monsters who can’t sit still for no more than seven minutes at a time and more often than not get into a chip fight at some point, which results in knocking at least one drink over.
Well done Victoria Hotel. We’ll be back to sample the brasserie’s posh nosh and to check out your rooms sometime soon.
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