Whitefriargate is a topical point in the city at the moment, with businesses coming and going quicker than ever.
But there is one that has stood the test of time, and is quite possibly the oldest restaurant in Hull.
The Lantern officially opened its doors almost 60 years ago, and has been able to continuously provide the people of Hull with beautiful food since 1964.
Many people will not have seen the restaurant before, especially in the modern era of being tied to looking at our mobile phones, but if you happen to lift your head for a second you will see the original sign for the restaurant pointing to the entrance next to the fish and chip shop.
The Lantern needs to be served with a conservation order, with the interior a perfect glimpse into life in the Sixties – and it even has the same chef still cooking for all of those years.
The bar is a paradise of modern and once popular drinks, including bottles of Mateus rose, and once you have found your way up the winding stairs of the restaurant there is a seating area to enjoy drinks while perusing the menu.
When we arrived, we were greeted by a very friendly member of staff who had no problem in answering our questions about the menu while she was serving us our beer and red wine.
Being able to see into the kitchen is an added perk of helping decide what to order, as we could see thick, juicy steaks being griddled above high-reaching flames.
The menu itself is a smorgasbord of classics, with some Cypriot delights also thrown in for good measure and to honour the origins of the owners.
Starters include avocado and prawns, garlic mushrooms in wine, prawn cocktail, grilled sea bass, hummus, garlic bread, melon and prawns, house pate and more.
Eventually, we chose the crevettes in garlic butter, the grilled red snapper and scampi meuniere – prawn tails cooked in a tart caper and lemon butter.
It’s not just the interior of The Lantern or the menu that is traditional, as we were only shown to our table once the starters were ready – an almost long-forgotten way of dining.
With a plate of bread and butter waiting for us, we were brought our dishes.
The crevettes were beautifully plump and juicy, and we all couldn’t get enough of the garlic sauce, and it was the perfect way to use up the bread on the table.
The portion of red snapper was very reasonable and it was perfectly cooked, as were the prawns in the caper sauce, with both served alongside a refreshingly crisp salad.
The main courses really got us intrigued, and is where the staff member truly showed their knowledge of what everything was.
There is a large selection fresh fish on the menu, including Dover sole, halibut, sea bass, swordfish, salmon and plaice, as well as continental dishes such as Wiener schnitzel, pepper steak, moussaka, steak Diane and chateaubriand.
There is also a choice of roasted and grilled meats, which includes roasted spring chicken, roast duckling with orange sauce, porterhouse steak, fillet steak and several special wine sauces to accompany them.
After much debate, we settled for the fillet steak stroganoff, large rump steak and a main-sized version of the scampi meuniere, as well as sides of French fries, Greek salad and green beans.
The stroganoff had more of a bordelaise sauce than a cream one, and was rich in red wine and mushrooms, but was deliciously moreish with chunks of soft steak. With a side of French fries it was a lovely meal.
The scampi was the same quality as was had for the starter, except with more of the plump prawn tails, and the rump steak was one of the biggest I had seen and was cooked perfectly as asked – medium rare.
With two good dollops of French and English mustard on the side, and a handful of the French fries, my fellow diner managed to eat every bite.
While eating we noticed a Michael Buble soundtrack playing in the restaurant, and we were in awe of the original décor of the place – it would now set you back a pretty penny all in the name of retro.
Everything in the restaurant seemed to be original from the day it opened, but still pristine, clean and without any sign of aging.
With just one chef in the kitchen, who if I’m right in thinking was born in 1932, and one server, they were extremely attentive and our food was piping hot and fresh.
We were so full we couldn’t bear to look at the dessert menu, but noticed plenty of cheesecakes and other gooey offerings in the retro fridge near our table.
The Lantern is a true blast into the past, and should be heralded and applauded for maintaining a business for such a long time and through so many financial climates.
It should have its own blue plaque for what it has achieved, and anyone wanting restaurant classics in an original setting should book their table immediately.
It really is a one-off experience in the heart of Hull’s city centre.
- 46-48 Whitefriargate
- 01482 327604
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