If it looks like a country house and feels like a country house, it must be a country house, right? Well, not always.
Jesmond Dene House is an exotic cross between the aforementioned and a city hotel, not far from the centre of Newcastle.
Set in a woodland retreat, the historic building is the latest venture of Michelin-starred chef Terry Laybourne and awarding-winning developer Peter Cander.
It has a knack for making you feel right at home. The grand oak-panelled rooms, tactile furnishing and attention to detail make for an atmosphere that is both professional and discreet, yet welcoming and laid back; which is probably why the lunchtime clientele are an eclectic mix of pin-striped suits, Gucci-clad women and creative types.
As befits Laybourne's Geordie roots, the menu draws its inspiration from the North-East landscape and the produce is all, where possible, sourced from local suppliers. My smoked haddock with soft poached egg, white sauce and wholegrain mustard was cooked to perfection.
It was with some regret I didn't sample the cocktail menu or have a good enough excuse to stay the night. Apparently no two bedrooms are the same - a perfect excuse to visit again.
Where: Jesmond Dene Road, Newcastle Contact: 0191 212 3000 How much: £19.50 for three-course lunch