Reviewed by Emma Legge
Hogarths Hotel and Restaurant is situated just off junction 4 on the M42, which makes it an ideal base for anyone visiting the NEC. With that in mind, I had a feeling the restaurant may feel a bit corporate and may not be the type of place you would book just to have that special occasion or romantic meal… how wrong I was!
You get a great first impression as you drive down the long tree lined drive, especially at night when those trees are festooned with thousands of fairy lights, it’s a small touch really but I think immediately stands the hotel out as going that extra mile to create that special atmosphere.
On arrival inside, we were directed to the bar and restaurant to be seated, and we’re given the choice to go straight to our table or have drinks in the bar area which we did. It was beautifully relaxing to sit next to the vast windows looking out on the beautiful grounds of the hotel. There was a wedding on whilst we were there which should be no surprise as it is a perfect wedding venue and they full cater for all big occasions. We sipped our drinks, browsed the menu and watched young bridesmaids playing in the trees!
One of the waitresses led us to our table once our starters were ready. One thing that was evident about Hogarths was that there were plenty of staff, all were exceptionally polite, friendly, attentive and well trained and I feel makes such a difference to any dining experience. I’d chosen jellied ham hick presse with peas, mint and paperbread and my husband, Adam, chose potted smoked mackerel with rye bread croutes, gooseberry and radish. Both starters were presented in small kilner jars on wooden boards, giving a modern but practical feel. We were also offered breads which the staff were obviously proud of, announcing the garlic one as award winning! We chose that one and the olive bread which both went exceptionally well with the balsamic vinegar and oil that was on our table. However, I’m a butter girl so opted for that from the dish already on our table, now this may sound silly, but again it’s the small things, I was impressed that the butter was exactly the right temperature and spread easily, nothing worse than having beautiful bread and unspreadable butter! Both our starters went well with the breads and we both thoroughly enjoyed our first course, despite already starting to feel full! We ordered more drinks, Adam was impressed to find out that they serve bottled real ale that is brewed especially for them, so chose their Hogarths Golden Ale which he very much enjoyed.
I’d opted for the 28 day aged 10oz ribeye steak with home dried tomato, smoked mushroom, watercress, crisp onions and bordelaise sauce, whilst Adam chose Warwickshire light horse lamb rump with peas a la franchise and fondant potato. We’d noticed that the menu makes no mention of being served with vegetables or potatoes and that they are just mentioned in the sides. Our waitress advised us that, indeed, if you’d like those items, then you need to order them additionally at £3 each. Now my meal was £25 and Adam’s £18 so adding our mozzarella salad (to accompany Adam’s lamb) and my triple cooked chips does add to the expense so worth noting if planning a trip to Hogarths. With this in mind, we both made the comment that we’d have to be super wowed by the main meal to justify that expense and Hogarths did not let us down! Both meals came nicely presented with our sides served separately, my chips were HUGE and fabulously presented in a silver bucket. My steak, (medium) was cooked to perfection and the sauce the perfect accompaniment. Adam’s lamb was melt in your mouth tender, beautifully cooked and declared the best lamb he’d ever had! We finished our meals with Adam’s choice of the cheeseboard of local cheeses and my choice of Hogarths Baked Alaska. This is where I make a bold statement… that was honestly the best dessert I’ve ever tasted! (And I like my puds!). We then ordered a cappuccino and a macchiato which came with a plate of petit fours – that was our undoing, I honestly felt like I’d never feel hungry again!
There was absolutely no negative comment I can say about Hogarths, it’s obviously been well thought out, training of the staff has been made a priority and they have put a lot of effort into sourcing top quality ingredients and good chefs. If you’re looking for a wedding venue, a base for business trips to the NEC, somewhere special for meals or afternoon teas (they do a cocktail one that I am desperate to try!) or that perfect venue for Christmas and New Year’s getaways, then look no further than Hogarths. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and plan to return.
For more information, to view menus or to make a booking visit www.hogarths.co.uk or call 01564 77 99 88.
Hogarths, Four Ashes Road, Dorridge, Solihull, West Midlands, B93 8QE | 01564 77 99 88