Brand new look – still great scran
THE last time we visited the Raby Arms we had thoroughly enjoyed our meal but had thought the place, while cosy, looked like it needed a spruce up.
Roll on a couple of years or so and we heard that was exactly what had happened so decided to take another look.
We jumped into the Eatsmobile and headed to the Hart Village pub, arriving very hungry having taken advantage of the nearby seafront at Seaton Carew where we had enjoyed a long stroll.
Friendly staff greeted us and showed us to the table we had fortunately booked as the pub was packed with a mixture of couples and families including one large birthday party.
We were handed a Sunday menu which had a small but varied selection of mains and starters.
The choice was a far cry from our last visit when it was a lengthy pub chain menu but with a fairly basic offering.
We had read the head chef was trained under Rick Stein and the food choices appeared to reflect this.
I chose sauteed garlic field mushrooms on toast with a basil pesto while and Mrs E went for the soup of the day –tomato – served with crusty bread and Netherend Farm salted butter. Both looked delicious when they arrived and tasted as good as
t h e y Car park..................... Kids allowed...................... Real ale..................................... Wine by the bottle........................ Credit cards..................................... Vegetarian food............................. Disabled toilets............................. looked. The soup was creamy and served with huge chunks of bread with butter. The mushrooms were outstanding, garlicky but not dripping in butter which is so often the case.
Both were large portions and too good to leave which meant we both started our mains already on the full side.
I had opted for braised featherblade of beef while Mrs E went for roast pork shoulder. Both were served with seasonal vegetables, goose fat roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower cheese and rich gravy.
Again two large portions arrived. Mine had a thick piece of beef which while tender was a little fatty. She who must be fed had no such complaints – hers was three large pieces of lean and tender pork.
However, for me, it was the vegetables which were far and away the best I’d had in a long time. Very cheesy cauliflower cheese, carrots, green cabbage and broccoli plus a delicious red cabbage which reminded me of Christmas.
Full we might be but there is (almost) always room for a dessert and this was no exception.
I couldn’t leave without trying the sticky toffee pudding with custard, while Mrs E wanted ‘something light’ and chose the Red Velvet Cake.
While her sponge cake was certainly light, the rich chocolate and cream meant it was anything but – not that it stopped her eating every last mouthful.
My sponge was also light and moist but the toffee sauce had a sugary texture as though it had been over cooked. While I still thoroughly enjoyed its crystallised feel, others might have a different view.
It might only be two and a half years since our visit but the place and food was very different.
The pub looked far more upmarket, definitely no longer worn but tastefully decorated. As before it was relaxing but now it has various quirky touches such as the reserved signs on the tables made out of Scrabble tiles and the table numbers on tiny easels.
But for She Who Must Be Obeyed the biggest change was the ladies toilets.
She had frozen on our last visit while in the loo which was desperately in need of a revamp.
Now, I’m told, they are bright, new and clean with handwash and matching hand cream – a big plus in Mrs E’s book!
So we were very pleased with our decision to make a return visit – and no doubt it will not be our last.
The Raby Arms at Hart, near Hartlepool which is under new management and has had a refurbishment.