The Brierley at Acklam Hall

Julie Martin reviews a three-course dinner at The Brierley, within Middlesbrough’s stunning Acklam Hall…

Finding a touch of elegance perfectly blended with a tempting menu and exceptional service is not always easy, but the clever folk at The Brierley have got the balance just right!

This was our first visit to Acklam Hall since my 40-something other half went to school there in the early 1980s.

The beautiful old hall has got to be one of the best-known buildings in Middlesbrough – it’s been part of the landscape since it was built in the 1600s.

It began a new chapter recently when a major investment saw it brought back to life.

Now lovingly restored, the venue oozes old school charm – perfect for discerning diners seeking something special.

It’s 7-o-clock on a sunny Saturday night as our car tyres crunch along the gravel at the entrance to the hall.

A group of girls are just arriving ready to celebrate a birthday in a private dining area and people are enjoying drinks at tables on the pretty paved area.

The restaurant is named after William Brierley, a renowned architect responsible for features added to the hall in the early 20th century.

Now, we might be speaking too soon, after all we’re only just inside the doors, but we’re guessing the late Mr Brierley would approve of its modern-day transformation.

Our first impressions?

We’re in for a treat!

As we are led to our table it’s easy to see why this place is fast gaining a reputation among Teesside foodies.

With its rich tapestry of tactile fabrics, classic architecture and contemporary statement pieces, The Brierley appears to have raised the bar for dining out in Middlesbrough.

We can’t wait to tuck in!

Nicely settled in our comfy dining chairs we are served a couple of ice cold gin and tonics, complete with a trendy slice of cucumber.

Two amuse-bouches arrive at the table courtesy of head chef Paul Bussey, one of them is the most wonderful wild garlic velouté  – uber silky and packed with flavour.

For starters we opt for North Sea Seared Scallops and Smooth Chicken Liver Parfait.

The beautifully sweet seared scallops are served with black pudding, pea puree, and apple and pancetta vinaigrette. The perfect parfait is served on a toasted brioche with a red onion and port marmalade.

Both scrummy!

Our wine of choice is almost always Malbec and the Argentinian Los Haroldos on the wine list at The Brierley doesn’t disappoint.

For mains we choose Corn Fed Chicken Breast with wild mushrooms, truffle linguine and cep velouté, and the Tasting of Yorkshire Pig, which is served with butternut squash puree, crackling, caramelised apples, Scrumpy reduction and oat clusters.

As always happens, I get serious food envy as soon as the plates arrive and while sampling the chicken I make a mental note to opt for the Tasting of Yorkshire Pig on our next visit.

I have no such problem with dessert!

My choice of Basil Panna Cotta served with roast spiced plums and gingernut tuile is tremendous.

I’m also aware of appreciate noises being made over the Apple and Frangipane Tart Tartin that’s being enjoyed across the table.

Stuffed to the gills we meander home, already talking about what we’ll choose from the menu next time we visit.