The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Breakfasts and Beds: Seaham Hall Hotel, Sunderland

Seaham Hall Hotel
Lord Byron's Walk
0191 516 1400

by Fleeter Noggins

If work takes you to Sunderland there are worse hotels in the region than this five star boutique hotel. Admittedly 'boutique' has in this, as in so many cases, come to indicate a keen yet amateur approach, more enthusiastic than stylish: pink track lighting behind repros of old masters, cocktails that the bar man has never had experience in mixing. But they mean well.

The staff are all smiles. They stand to attention and they do their very best, but like the interior décor it's all a bit amateur. What I will not complain about is the beds. The mattresses are thick, the sheets very fine and once you have learnt how to control the twenty button control panel of dimmers and air conditioning the rooms are pretty good too. I got the hang of this but my poor colleague could not silence the continuous whirring of his air conditioning. Neither could the desk clerk he phoned for help.

I regret to report that this well-meaning-but-amateur theme extends to breakfast. Any modest cook can manage hollandaise sauce and if you are offering it at breakfast you can make it in advance and store in a preheated wide neck thermos. Seaham Hall Cook! Here are some instructions for you: it's just like mayo only warm because you heat your lemon juice and vinegar and use melted butter instead of oil. It couldn’t be simpler. Put your eggs yolks in a blender, drip in the heated lemon and vinegar and then drip in your foamed and unburnt butter. It thickens like magic. It's beautiful. How can you, then, how can you serve, a full half an hour after I ordered it, a whipped egg, curdling with butter grease, with no thickness at all and no seasoning? Don’t put it on the menu if you can’t cook it. I had a train to catch otherwise I would have gone into the kitchen and given you a lesson.

The cafetiere coffee was faultless. God knows what it cost, I was on expenses. My colleague took care of it.


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