A few weeks ago, we decided to venture outside of Newcastle (shock horror, I know!) for a family lunch in Northumberland. We were kindly invited by the guys at St Mary’s Inn to try out their menu, so with Mam, Dad and nephew in tow, we tootled on up the A1 to for a Bank Holiday treat. Managed by the same team as Jesmond Dene House, St Mary’s Inn is located a short drive from Stannington, incidentally the location of another of my favourite pubs, The Ridley Arms.
St Mary’s Inn is a pub with something that little bit special; we were greeted at the door by Steve, who also manages Jesmond Dene House, and he took us to a nice table in the back. The building is fascinating in itself, you can still see the remains of the former hospital in certain aspects of the architecture. We ordered a couple of cups of tea, while my parents had a try of the wide selection of draft beers and Kenzie had a Fruit Shoot that came with his kids’ meal.
The All Day Dining menu has something for everyone – sandwiches and salads for a picky lunch alongside big hearty burgers and pies. I’d say the prices were on the expensive side but given that most of the produce is locally sourced, we were happy to pay a little bit more for something extra special. I went for the Ploughman’s on gluten free bread (£6.50), my Mam had that too on brown, while Craig and my Dad decided to go all out and order a couple of dishes from the Main Courses menu. Still maintaining his new-found vegetarianism, Craig went for the Spiced Lentil and Vegetable Curry (£11.50) and my Dad opted for the R&J Signature Beef Burger (£10.75). Like any other eight year-old would, Kenzie chose the Chicken Dippers and Fries (£5 with his drink and a dessert).
The pub really is a pleasant place to sit and enjoy a late lunch. Quite a few people around us seemed to be enjoying their Afternoon Tea, which looked fab and I’m pretty sure they have a gluten free offering, so we might be back along to try that shortly.
Craig’s curry was spectacular, a proper ‘thali’ complete with pickles, freshly cooked rice and a little naan bread. He said it tasted just as good as it looked (and smelled even better!). My sandwich wasn’t bad, I would have preferred the bread to be toasted (just a preference with gluten free sliced bread, which is so often dry and much better after a light toasting) but the ham and cheese combo was great – a true classic. I have a penchant for a good hearty chutney and this did not disappoint. One thing I would say is that the chips weren’t quite as fresh as I hoped and a tad on the salty side for me, but again, that might be a personal preference as I don’t tend to put much salt on my food at home.
My Dad’s burger went down a treat, while Kenzie polished off his Chicken Dippers and Chips without complaint. To say he’s not easy to please would be an understatement!
For dessert, I had spotted a Gluten Free Carrot Cake by the bar on the way in. It came with a scoop of proper vanilla pod ice cream, it was incredible, probably one of the best gluten free cakes I’ve ever had. Craig and my dad both chose the Raspberry and Almond Tart, another delicious addition to our lovely afternoon family trip out.
All in all, an afternoon well-spent and definitely worth the drive up to Northumberland for something a bit different on the weekend.
St. Mary’s Lane, St. Mary’s Park, Morpeth NE61 6BL