We spent one night at the adjoining White Swan Hotel whilst on a visit to Alnwick Castle & Gardens.
We normally wouldn't eat in the hotel as we like to experience as much of the locality as possible but on this occasion, after checking out the offerings of a few nearby eateries, decided that our best option was to head back to Hardy's as the menu had a variety of dishes which although not cheap, looked promising. Also, the decor and general ambience of the bistro was stylish and inviting and outshone the rest of the hotel.
Although there was only a handful of people in the bistro when we got there, Hardy's were initially unsure if they could accommodate us as they said the staff were busy with a wedding elsewhere in the hotel. We thought this was an unusual attitude to take in view of the scarcity of customers but on learning that we were hotel residents, said we could eat there after all.
We ordered seafood chowder for starters which unfortunately didn't contain very much seafood and was presented without the offer of any accompanying bread. For our mains we couldn't resist the simplicity of the fish and chips - it was excellent, though pricey and comprised two fair sized pieces each and just the right amount of chips which were some of the best we have ever tasted in a restaurant. There was a good choice of wine although the bottle of white that we ordered came un-chilled and we had to ask for an ice bucket to remedy this. It was also disappointing to have to make do with cheap paper napkins in such a 'smart' establishment.
We felt that the outwardly sophisticated style of the bistro had been let down by a few flaws which could easily have been avoided - the prices were quite high but were not justified as too many details, which collectively go towards creating a good impression, had been overlooked.
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