Just off the A69 between Horsely and Corbidge lies Newton, a quaint little village with a character that lends itself to a Northumberland village set right in the depths of the county – not off one of its busiest roads.
Within that village, lies the Duke of Wellington Inn.
It’s a pub with fantastic views over the valley, and after today’s visit – a fantastic offering of Sunday lunch. We’ll get the price of the meal out of the way first – two courses for £ 22 or three for £ 25.
Some may find that steep, but given the quality and portion size, I was more than willing to pay it.
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We opted to go for the three courses, of course, you can choose after your main if you’ve still got enough room for a dessert but just remember that old saying, ‘your eyes are bigger than your belly!’ But having seen the staff bringing out the puddings to other tables, not getting one myself regardless of how full I was, was never an option.
But that’s for later. To start, I opted for the Welsh rarebit on toasted sourdough with tomato chutney. It’s essentially, just posh cheese on toast but was grilled to perfection, with the crunch of the sourdough needed. The tomato chutney, one presumes homemade, took the starter up from a decent start to a very good start.
The better half went for blowtorched mackerel with tomato and herb ceviche. It was a healthy portion, tasting fresh and the onions and tomato added an important balance to the flavor.
The mains were a hard choice. They had run out of chicken, which given we were eating at 4 pm and they serve 12-5 pm, was perhaps no surprise. That said, it was always going to be a toss-up between the beef and pork for me, and in the end, I opted for the dry-aged Northumberland sirloin of beef.
The options were pink or well-done, I opted for the former although truth be told it sort of came out somewhere in between. Not that I minded. I divided straight in with a homemade Yorkshire pudding, roasties, mash, parsnips, red cabbage, swede and peas for company. The mash, which was hidden under the two generous slices of beef was quite something, and the roasts were as near to perfection as you could get with that crisp outer layer but fluffy inside.
The beef was tender – and while it was not as pink as I expected, there were no complaints about the quality of the cut from me.
The better half opted for the Northumberland leg of lamb, which again was plated up generously. It was tender and juicy. The gravy that coated both meals added an important element to both.
On to the desserts – as noted, from the moment I stepped into the restaurant, I knew what I was having; the salted caramel, pecan and chocolate brownie sundae.
It arrived in a tall, American diner-esque glass – so given the size of the portion, I actually ended up having one and a half as it got the better of my partner.
What did the sundae consist of? As you may expect. The cream on top was lovely and sweet, with chocolate wrapped around the glass, accompanied by ice cream and brownies hidden at the bottom. It was very nice and I could have had another one!
I finished with a latte (£ 3), a strong one at that, to wrap up. We’d already a had a glass of pinot grigio (£ 6.40) and a pint of Yardbird Pale Ale (£ 3.80). Both hit the spot nicely.
The only criticism, and we’ll put down to learning on the job was that I had to go to the bar to find out what kind of ale the Yard Bird was – but after the meal, I was grateful for the steps.
The staff as a whole were attentive and friendly, and the meal was worth every penny paid even if the full price of £ 68 may make the eyes of some water. The Duke of Wellington is certainly worth a visit.
Address: The Duke of Wellington, Newton, Stocksfield NE43 7UL
Tel: 01661 844446
Sunday serving hours: 12 pm-5pm