Restaurants & Bars

"best" ploughman's ever? Hexham UK + brief report

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"best" ploughman's ever? Hexham UK + brief report

bb | Aug 4, 2004 06:26 PM

Ploughman's lunch has always been a pub lunch staple in England, but recently may have discovered a contender for "super ploughman's" award. Dipton Mill Inn is a pub near Hexham (a town about 30 mins west of Newcastle-upon-Tyne along the A69 road) located in the scenic country just south and out of town. The thing that sets the ploughman's apart here is the choice of local cheeses available. I had Kielder and Berwick Edge along with another whose name escapes. There were about 10 others from which you can choose 1, 2 or 3 selections with your ploughman's. These appeared to be hand-crafted cheeses, very fresh and well-kept~one of them with a creamy ewe's-milk taste. The accompaniments were standard (bread, butter, pickled onions & chutney) but fine. Also available (maybe just that day) was a very generous (in terms of meat) dressed crab. Washed down with real ale from the Hexham(shire) Brewery, this was a treat, especially if you secure a table in the scenic back yard beside the mill stream. Dessert of syrup pudding and cream (perhaps a concoction only beloved by those who were British schoolkids, where it is served for lunch "pudding" [usually with custard]). This is a cozy pub with no music, no games and log fires in the cold weather (11 months of the year[?]) and was a nice find, with genial un-Fawlty-like hosts.

Hard to find so call for directions.

Other discoveries on a brief trip to Northumberland and Cumbria were not really noteworthy except for the occasional gem: flavorful slabs of black pudding & Ayreshire bacon @ a butcher's shop on the main drag in Cockermouth (Wordsworth's boyhood home town) and some rollmop herring at a fish market off Bowes St in Blyth.

Check out Dipton Mill Inn: the rest of their menu (a long one) is full of interest and you can see from the easily viewable kitchen that this is a "scratch-made" kitchen.

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