The village of Holywell, near Whitley Bay, is one I’ve long admired and even fantasised about living in (although I’m not sure how well the Eatsmobile would fit in there).
Having heard that the Milbourne Arms there had started offering food a year or so ago, I was keen to see if it lived up to my idealised notions of this green and tranquil locale. Our first impressions were that it’s a light and airy place with very fresh-looking decor.
It was also clear that it’s a pretty popular with both drinkers and diners, so it was more in hope than expectation that I asked one of the barmaids if there was a table available for two.
She consulted a reservations book then directed us to a few tables she said were free for the time being, although two had ‘reserved’ signs on them.
We installed ourselves at the one without a sign, only for the man in charge to appear and tell us (rather gruffly, it has to be said) that he’d have to move us as the tables were soon to be needed. We ended up at a corner table underneath the dart board beside a radiator which Mrs E was pleased to find was on. So was our meal on target?
There was a disappointment to begin with, as we’d both fancied starting our meal with some soup, it being a nippy November day. The Milbourne Arms, it turns out, offers only main courses and desserts on Sundays - but we were assured the portions would be large enough to satisfy us. The meats on offer were chicken, lamb, pork and beef, all going for around £10-£11. Mrs E, unable to decide which of these would best sate her, opted for the ‘trio’ of meats (lamb, pork and beef) for £11.95. Conscious that I may have neglected vegetarian Sunday diners over the years, I went for the goat’s cheese, broccoli, spinach and caramelised red onion pie (£7.95), which is in fact the only alternative to the traditional meat roasts. We had to wait too long for our food to arrive in Mrs E’s opinion - although I think 20 minutes or so wasn’t too unreasonable given that we were customers who had been fitted in without a booking. And my meal was certainly worth waiting for. The pie, served, as both dishes were, with a good selection of vegetables, a Yorkshire pudding and gravy, was a taste sensation. The light pastry was just right blend of the cheese and the other fillings was so delectable that I ended up mashing the pie up with everything else on my plate in order to get a taste of it with every forkful.
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