RiverTribe Editor Linda Duberley eats out at the Richmond Hill Hotel’s 144
restaurant and finds a classically elegant spot with a menu that cuts a culinary dash.
Whenever I want to try out a new restaurant, I usually flick through my little black
book to find someone to take along who is both key to the area and is going to try
out dishes likely to be different to my own.
It was easy to pick an excellent dining companion when it came to reviewing 144, the
new restaurant at Richmond Hill Hotel. Lorna Votier is the Business Development
Director of The Victoria Foundation (TVF), a Richmond-based charity that supports
the careers of young medics and supports those with special needs.
To call Lorna a networker supreme is a bit like saying Nathan Outlaw cooks good
fish – she is tireless in her work at TVF and is often out in our neighbourhood several
nights a week. Tough work, we always agree, but someone has to do it.
So, when it came to visiting 144, I wanted to go with Lorna – an important person in
our town and someone who needs to know where she can go comfortably with a
whole range of people from donors, supporters to volunteers, and medical
executives. I am her ambassador and we often need to find places that are
comfortable, efficient and offer great meat or fish for me and a vegetarian menu for
144 at Richmond Hill Hotel satisfies these requirements admirably. The restaurant is
extremely comfortable in the kind of luxurious way that provides a haven from the
hustle and bustle outside. It could be fuller but my guess is that that will happen as it
becomes established. In addition, we were there early in the week, traditionally a
less busy time.
Lorna chose a very tasty looking beetroot and goat’s cheese salad that offered a
satisfying combination of tastes. I picked pancetta and Mayfield Swiss cheese
croquettes with an unusual nettle dip. I am a big fan of competing textures and the
filling surrounded by ultra-crispy breadcrumbs did the trick.
A vegetarian of many years standing, Lorna has previously found it challenging to
find food that meets the mark, but pronounced this dish perfect. I often find it
surprising that Lorna manages to maintain her legendary physical resilience for
social activities on a mainly plant-based diet, so when she finds something tasty and
energy boosting, I am inclined to listen.
I chose hake – a big favourite of mine – served with shellfish and a butter sauce, an
accompaniment I allowed myself since I was in training to trek and cycle the Camino
Trail, and I persuaded myself those extra calories were vital to my efforts.
However, the real star of the show was the selection of desserts. Lorna opted for
chilled strawberry soup and I – who, in a rare act of self-discipline expunged my
sweet tooth two decades ago – chose the strawberry mille-feuille with mint sorbet.
It was a great end to a summer dinner and I will be going back for the Stinking
Bishop cheese this autumn.