A sweet-looking traditional pub, just behind Durham station. A nice outside eating space with robust scrubbed wooden tables to sit at and enjoy the al fresco eating we’ve all become experts at in the past few weeks. Properly a gastro pub in as much as the dishes are spot-on in terms of inspiration, ingredients and skill in the kitchen. Food critic Jay Rayner is a big fan, which says something!
Inside it’s quirky, fun and relaxing – a mismatch of styles, furnishings. What you’d probably call ‘shabby chic’. A nice place to linger.
A neat and well-chosen wine list with all the favourites – and a nice Moko Black Sauvignon Blanc by the glass.
This place is all about bringing seasonality into the menu – be it is a light spring veg risotto, freshly-caught fish of the day, lovely Jersey Royals with your salad, or a beetroot and blackberries combo with your leaves. Sides like ginger beer carrots sound worth a try too, as does monkfish with of-the-moment Nduja (hot and spicy pate-like sausage) and garlic crème fraiche.
What we ate
Early evening Monday in the sunshine seemed like the right time for lobster. Two of us ordered the open top lobster sandwich (£12) with a side of triple-cooked chips. As we’d hoped, the lobster was plentiful with a juicy chunk of claw meat presented alongside a big portion of fresh lobster flesh on slices of toasted bread. It meant the lobster was definitely the main player, rather than being lost amongst loads of bread – very impressive and delicious. The chips (£4) are a real must-try – trice fried and super-indulgent. Our chums went veggie. A spring risotto (12.50) was picture-perfect with perky broad beans, green peas and asparagus, adding a vibrant touch and good texture (light and ‘soupy’ rather than solid) and topped with a delicious slab of Wigmore cheese – a soft ewe’s milk cheese with a delicate flavour that perfectly complemented the risotto. Also at our table was a hearty, wholesome and utterly lovely plate of battered cod with those irresistible triple cooked chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce (£14). A textbook meal. The batter a crisp, golden and so-crunchy casing for flaky, fabulous cod. We were all really impressed with our food.