OK, so it's a chain. And a chain hotel at that. But...
A friend and I popped in there tonight for a glass of wine in the bar - they were offering 2 glasses for the price of one, which was nice.
They asked if we wanted to dine there - we asked whether they would accept my discount card without the normally obligatory reservation - 'no problem' they said.
So at 6pm we ate mackerel escabeche - MUCH nicer that we expected. I have no idea what they did to make it sooo yummy, but it was served on potato salad and was warm, with a syrupy basalmic - very non traditional, but so good.
We drank a bottle of South African Sauvignon Blanc, which my friend recommended having visited the vinyard - and it was way better than the £22 price suggested.
We followed the mackerel with sea trout with spinach and lemon-cream sauce, and macaroni gratin with black truffles and shaved parmesan. The latter was mine - a divine dish, but too rich to eat a whole portion, so we swapped halfway and I finished with the trout. The service was 'French' as were the wait staff - so refilled glasses etc were the order of the day.
Decor - sort of British industrial (it is in an old sugar warehouse) meets French bistro - lots of French pictures etc on the walls, lots of wine ephemera.
We finished and left at about 7:30 by which time the bar was full of 'suits' - no doubt on expense accounts. If I went again I'd go later, on a Friday/Saturday to miss the corporate rabble.
The bill - £58 for two (exc service), including a free glass of wine at the bar and a free main course (with my discount card).
All in all, a total surprise - excellent food, more than excellent service, and great atmosphere - even eating at 6pm when we were the only diners there.