Gadz Gets Grilled

DONAL’S meal at Gadd’s Townhouse was no poultry affair

A gap between lectures offered the prefect opportunity for a quick lunch stop at Gadd’s Townhouse, the owners of which also own Zen. Slightly off the beaten gastronomic track of the Bailey, Gadz Grill on Old Elvet furnishes a welcoming, warm and relaxing dining atmosphere.

The interior of Gadz has a decadent edge reminiscent of the Orient Express; strangely the deep purples, lavish frills and hanging lamps aren’t glaringly ostentatious and don’t therefore distract from the food. If anything, it simply enhances the sense of occasion.

For a broader sense of the menu we opted for three contrasting starters and three mains. Unfortunately, the chicken liver paté we wanted to try was off the menu, but we were soon reassured when told that it was still setting. This vaguely negative start detracted only slightly from our opinion of the place, suggesting instead that Gadz are in fact producing homemade fare… so on we went.

Accommodatingly, we were able to take the main pea and asparagus risotto as a starter alongside a modern twist on the Scotch egg and fishcakes. All three dishes were pleasant; the Scotch egg came up in pole position due to a creative take on what can be a rather mundane picnic item. The consistency of the fishcakes was good, with an appreciated fish to potato ratio.

Seasoning was my only minor niggle. If they’d taken a little of the pepper out of the risotto and placed it into the fishcakes the seasoning balance may have been more accurate.

Main Course

The main courses definitely lived up to their billing. Roast rump of lamb with a shallot and herb crust, braised carrots, bubble and squeak rosti and a rosemary jus. This dish was both wonderfully presented and full of flavour – the favourite, I think. Cooked the right side of pink, with the natural juices adorning the meat fondly, the dish was a stellar creation.

Free-range chicken breast stuffed with creamed spinach

The second main we opted for was free-range chicken breast stuffed with creamed spinach, duck fat roast potatoes and a woodland mushroom sauce. Although chicken is often not the most exciting of poultry, Gadz pulled it off. Not a dry morsel in sight; a juicy breast encased the moist filling, forming a tasty plate, indeed.

Pork belly served with petite toffee apple and buttery mash

Finally came the pork belly, served with an aesthetically pleasing petite toffee apple and buttery mash, creamed cabbage and bacon. Moist, succulent pork fell apart on the plate with an obligatory side of crackling enhancing the dish.

Having to run to lectures and seminars we opted out of a pudding but these start at £4.50 and range from the regulation sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and ice cream to California peach cheesecake. Excuse the food miles on that one and you’re on to a winner, perhaps?

When I return, which I will do after this experience to this clearly professional operation, I may try their evening offering. The likes of monkfish wrapped in Iberico jamon with Borlotti beans, or a sixteen-ounce beef wellington to share, gets taste buds tingling and mouths watering.

Place this restaurant in certain parts of London and you’d expect to pay £11 for a starter and £23 for a main. Transfer yourself to a rainy lunchtime in said restaurant in Duz and you will pay £6.50 and £12.50 respectively.

As I walked out of the restaurant I caught one elderly gentleman sitting alone with a fervent grin fixed to his face. I can only echo his sentiment towards Gadz. Head off piste and experience fine dining in Durham. Enjoy the effete.


WHAT’s COMING? Food and Drink in Durham.

Starting on Thursday 25th Durham plays host to the farmers’ market coming to Market Square and the food festival over the weekend on Palace Green. With talks from Michelin starred chefs, a plethora of tasters and some of the best local produce around for sale it’s worth a visit. Students receive a reduced entry price on the nominal fee with valid student ID.