The Milbank Arms is everything you could wish for and more when it comes to winter dining. Oozing charm and character in every nook and cranny, it’s the perfect spot to cosy up by the fire with a bottle of red while tucking into a proper country roast. All of that, in an oh-so chic setting. Having recently undergone an exciting renovation with a splash of paint and a vibrant new menu, this traditional pub nestled in the picture-perfect Teesdale countryside, has been lovingly restored into a place to drink, dine and rest your head. It’s an idyllic hideaway in the quaint village of Barningham and has served the local community for at least 325 years. Today, the pub retains much of its village charm, but with a touch of contemporary class.
It’s still very much a country pub – but the guys behind the interior design have clearly had a bit of fun with the place. Out with the dark wood and patterned furnishings and in with the bold colours and minimalist design. It feels like a cosmopolitan city’s take on a British pub – but with all the charm of the countryside inside and out. There’s a snug for small groups and private dinners, a buzzy bar area with roaring fire and local hand-pulls, and a relaxed yet refined dining area for something a little more formal.
Lots of local beers, premium spirits and a wine list worth working your way through. For us, it’s a bottle of Malbec to see us through a drizzly Sunday afternoon; but before that, a tipple or two in the Tap Room before being seated in the Dining Room. Cocktail-lovers can also enjoy creative concoctions downstairs in the characterful Cellar Bar, where a cosy cabin awaits.
The Milbank Arms kitchen focuses on all things lovely and local – and with Barningham Park’s Coghlans catering complimenting the menu with breads, tarts, pastries and puddings, it’s a match made in heaven. Whether you’re popping in for a mid-stroll refreshment, a cosy fireside feast, or a Sunday celebration, there’s plenty to satisfy big appetites. Visit between 5.30 and 7pm Monday – Saturday and you can enjoy two courses for £15 and three courses for £18. Fixed price menu dishes include crab and sweet potato croquettes, garlic and truffled mushrooms, loin of pork, cod goujons and veggie Thai curry. Mouthwatering main menu dishes include venison and wild mushroom cottage garden lasagne, Teesdale sirloin steak and warm treacle tart. It’s all about classic, country comfort food here – stripped back and done properly. It’s honest, it’s hearty and we can guarantee it’ll steal your heart this winter. The Milbank Arms team have worked hard to ensure the menu focuses on traditional, seasonal dishes using the finest fresh and locally-sourced goods.
What we ate
You can’t beat a good Sunday roast at this time of year. Wrap up in your cosiest knitwear and head over to this indulgent Barningham pub for good-for-the-soul comfort food, in an environment with real country class. We’re in for a roast with all the trimmings – kicking things off with perfectly crisp pulled pork croquettes on a bed of beetroot coleslaw and greens, with our lunch date opting for the terrine. Starters are served with the most beautiful chunky, freshly-baked bread – covered, of course, in butter with a salty dusting. It’s Sunday after all! The main event comes in the form of local grouse – perfectly plump and gamey on the palate. An autumnal box ticker to say the least. Our foodie chum goes for the roast beef, served with local veggies of all kinds. A big Yorkie pud and gravy boat seals the deal for our scrummy Sunday feast in Barningham. We bypass desserts on this occasion, but leave feeling full, content and ready to return for some sweet stuff in the very near future.