What was once a coaching inn during the 18th Century, has been thoughtfully extended over the years to create Donington Manor Hotel. A unique hotel close to the East Midlands Airport.
The charming venue offers an alternative to the large chain hotels for holidaymakers or business folk wanting a base to avoid travelling before an early morning flight or a after a late landing.
It can also cater for conferences, meetings and weddings. Six versatile conference and event rooms offer a unique, flexible approach.
I was invited along to sample the restaurant, and so unfortunately did not get to see any of the 32 bedrooms it offers, which are said to range from the cute and cosy to the sleek and contemporary and even the gloriously grand and antique. The hotel boasts a collection of individually styled Suites and Superior rooms, ideal for a special occasion, some of which enjoy unrestricted garden views, four poster beds or historic features within the original building.
So, back to the reason for my visit. Head Chef, Jeff Cadden, leads a team of highly skilled and talented chefs and is said to be a true master of his trade. Using the very best of local produce, he creates dishes in the hotel’s Sage Restaurant, which has become renowned for it’s setting, service and selection of fine foods.
Every Tuesday is Italian night in Sage Restaurant and we were invited to join them for an evening of delicious Italian inspired dishes, at just £10 for a main course and a drink.
The Hotel is fairly well signposted when you leave the A50 and is situated in a leafy village. Parking is free and I easily found a spot at the front of the hotel.
We begin our evening in the lounge bar. This busy bar attracts locals and visitors alike. Its an interesting area, again with a mixture of old and new features. Big comfy armchairs and sofas provide the perfect spot for an informal meeting, morning coffee, afternoon tea, a light lunch or a drink to relax. We did the latter as we we sipped on a glass of house red.
The menu is bought to us in the lounge to make our choices. The menu varies from week to week and there should be enough of a selection to suit most tastes.
A short while after choosing we are led into the dining room. It does have the feel of a Hotel dining room due to the size and ambience but our waitress is pleasant and smiling and looks after the room well.
From the Starters I choose the Tomato & Red Pepper Soup, with Crusty Bread Roll and my date for the evening (My Mum) opts for the Crunchy Garlic Bread topped with Melted Cheddar Cheese. The soup is fresh and full of flavour, though a sprinkling of salt and pepper made it more suited to my palate.
The Garlic Bread I’m assured was lovely too.
We tuck into our Main Courses of Salmon, Chilli & Mini Caper Fettuccine & Garlic slices, and Bacon & Mushroom Tagliatelle & Garlic slices. We enjoy both dishes. They appear to be both cooked in a similar cheese sauce and again I was expecting my dish to be warmer with the chilli.
Both were tasty and very filling, though the Garlic slices were still polished off to mop up the sauce.
The standout dish of the evening for me was the Warm Chocolate Brownie with Sea Salted Ice Cream. Well presented and lovely smooth Ice Cream.
The Tiramisu with Coffee and Marsala Cream seemed to vanish very quickly too.
Overall I would say the hotel offers an alternative unpretentious dining option for tasty Italian cuisine.
The Hotel runs various events throughout the year including open mic nights, cookery classes, wine tasting and tribute bands. As well as the Italian night every Tuesday they have a Steak night on a Wednesday with 2 steaks and a bottle of wine for £25 for two people and a Sunday Carvery for £9.95 for adults/£5.00 for children.
Donington Manor, Hight Street, Castle Donington DE74 2PP. To book call: 01332 810253 or visit Donington Manor Hotel
*Disclaimer: I was invited to Donington Manor. They were aware of my visit and the food was complimentry. The views are my own.
Words and photos by Tanya Louise