RESTAURANT REVIEW: A pleasant surprise you fail to spot right under your nose in Peterborough city centre

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Brad Barnes dines at RBG Bar and Grill at The Park Inn, Wentworth Street, Peterborough city centre www.parkinn.co.uk/hotel-peterborough

It is often said that you fail to spot things that are in fact right under your nose, and this week’s venue falls into that category.

I have worked within a couple of hundred yards of this city centre hotel, The Park Inn, for as long as it has been open, and must have driven by a thousand times without ever having set foot inside...until now.

It wasn’t until last week when my five year-old daughter asked “is that a restaurant?” that the thought crossed my mind to give it a try.

Clearly, I have been aware of it all this time, but (The Bull and The Great Northern which actively promote their restaurants aside) hotels hold little if any appeal when it comes to looking for a place to eat, and that doesn’t just apply to Peterborough.

So, even when we walked in late on Saturday afternoon, I had no idea what to expect.

And I was pleasantly surprised.

A courteous reception (at the reception) and we were asked to find a table in what is the bar area, although it was only divided from the restaurant area by a pretty transparent room divider.

Both areas are modern and comfortable and flooded with natural light from the glass frontage which looks out onto Bourges Boulevard.

It certainly didn’t feel like we were sitting down to eat in a hotel lobby.

Our waiter was very friendly, took our drinks orders, and talked us through the menus.

There were pizzas and sandwiches on the bar menu and the main menu had a selection of starters - crispy chicken wings, crispy potato skins, nachos, etc - which sounded fine. Then there was fish and chips, gourmet burgers, a curry, grilled sea trout, a couple of steaks - a reasonable selection you might say.

Given the style of the restaurant, I was drawn to the mixed grill (£18.50). The 4oz rump steak was nicely done (although I wasn’t asked how I wanted it) and had that great flavour that comes from the searing. The grilled chicken breast was small and looked anaemic, but actually tasted lovely. I enjoyed the gammon steak, and the two herby sausages, the mushroom and tomato were ok but the skin-on fries were deliciously crisp and moreish.

It was good, but didn’t match the one served up recently at Middletons.

Donna had an equally tasty- and much larger - chicken breast to accompany her superfood salad (£10). There were lashings of leaves - baby gem lettuce - but plenty of the tasty good stuff such as rocket, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, feta cheese, mixed grains, pomegranate pearls and edamame beans. Surprisingly filling, as it turned out.

There were activities to keep the two girls occupied on the children’s menu - but more importantly some decent offerings for £5.

The Margherita pizza was nice and cheesey, with a litle salad, while the burger was a mighty, meaty and tasty patty (more than a match for any three year old). Although the bun was a little dry, the skin-on fries were a hit.

All in all, an enjoyable late lunch /early dinner in a very nice environment.