Worm­ing its way into our hearts

Sunday Sun - - Eating Out -

MEN­TION the Lambton Worm, and a line from the song I learned at school springs to mind: “Whist! Lads, hadd yor gobs, an’ aa’ll tell ye ‘boot the worm”.

Well, Mrs E and I have never been ones for ‘hadding’ our gobs, but we were happy to stuff them while get­ting reac­quainted with this North East leg­end at Ch­ester-le-Street.

It pro­vides a cou­ple of ways to do so, with two ver­sions of the tale adorn­ing in the walls. There’s also a door­way dec­o­rated to look like it’s con­tain­ing the mon­ster, which must be a source of amuse­ment and/or ter­ror for those vis­it­ing with kid­dies.

Apart from the Worm-re­lated sur­round­ings, The Lambton Worm is very much a tra­di­tional pub in ap­pear­ance. Din­ers have the choice of eat­ing in the semi­for­mal restau­rant in the back – which was buzzing – or the cosier bar area, where burg­ers and

THE LAMBTON WORM

North Road, Ch­ester-le-Street DH3 4AJ Tel: 0191 387 1162 Food served (Sun): Noon- 7pm

Rat­ing: 15/20 Char­ac­ter...........................

Qual­ity................................ Ser­vice................................ Value................................... the like are avail­able in ad­di­tion to tra­di­tional Sun­day lunch fare.

We chose the for­mer, where the staff were very ac­com­mo­dat­ing de­spite us not hav­ing a reser­va­tion. We were given, how­ever, a ta­ble that I couldn’t help notic­ing was slightly sticky. Per­haps the staff had over­looked it amid the lunchtime rush; there was cer­tainly clean­ing of sur­faces be­ing done.

The pub of­fers two cour­ses for £13.95 on Sun­days, or three for £16.95. The starter op­tions in­cluded sweet and sour chicken strips and a trio of cheese salad with tomato chut­ney, but we plumped for the creamy win­ter veg­etable soup and the ‘clas­sic’ prawn cock­tail, which were s e r v e d prompt

ly. Car park..................... Kids al­lowed...................... Real ale..................................... Wine by the bot­tle........................ Credit cards..................................... Veg­e­tar­ian food............................. Dis­abled toi­lets............................. I would have de­scribed my soup as spicy rather than creamy. In fact the fur­ther down the bowl I got, the spicier it be­came. Quite smooth in tex­ture, but clearly crammed full of veg­eta­bles, it was a hit with me.

The prawn cock­tail lived up to its ‘clas­sic’ billing, with Mrs E de­scrib­ing it as tra­di­tional, but not say­ing much more. Per­haps more in­dica­tive is the fact she pol­ished if off.

For the main event, the meats on of­fer were tur­key, pork loin and beef brisket, or a trio of the pork, the beef and chicken. The veg­e­tar­ian of­fer­ings are a nut roast and a veg­etable galette (a type of pie, I be­lieve) with but­tered pota­toes and side salad.

If you’re a meat lover, you won’t feel de­prived. The su­perthick slices of tur­key on my plate and pork on Mrs E’s were fill­ing in­deed. They weren’t the only treats, ei­ther. Mrs E de­scribed the mashed potato as “per­fec­tion”, and I would agree. The gravy was thick and rich, and my York­shire pud­ding was my favourite of all my re­cent pub vis­its. It was light and flavour­some and made me re­alise just how bland a lot of pub York­shire puds can be.

A bowl placed be­tween us con­tained three veg­eta­bles – some lovely but­tery mashed swede along with car­rots and broc­coli which I found un­der­whelm­ing, al­though Mrs Eats thought they were fine. The sausage-meat stuff­ing both our meals came with was su­perb and, like ev­ery­thing else, had a real taste of tra­di­tional home cook­ing.

Dessert choices in­cluded the in­trigu­ing-sound­ing ‘boozy’ Christ­mas sun­dae. Mrs E, though, had a brandy snap bas­ket with mas­car­pone cheese and fruits of the for­est ice cream, while I opted for the dark fruit crum­ble and cus­tard. My cus­tard ar­rived in a lit­tle jug rather than in the crum­ble dish, and I ap­pre­ci­ated that as the crum­ble, made with ap­ples and berries, turned out to be sweet enough not to need much of it. Mrs E’s pud bright­ened up a gloomy win­ter day in more ways than one, dec­o­rated as it was with strawberries and rasp­ber­ries. She couldn’t have been hap­pier with it, say­ing it was, to her sur­prise, the high­light of her meal. They were sen­si­ble-sized por­tions – no more than we needed af­ter the pre­vi­ous cour­ses.

If the qual­ity of the grub isn’t enough to draw you to The Lambton Worm, there’s also rea­son to sup­port it if you’re a real ale drinker. Its ales come from the award-win­ning Cox­hoe­based brew­ery Son­net 43 and are well worth try­ing.

The Lambton Worm cel­e­brates a North East leg­end – and serves Sun­day lunches that will please tra­di­tion­al­ists

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