St Mary’s Inn is a newly opened gastropub in St Mary’s Park just outside Morpeth and is the brand new venture by the Jesmond Dene House family. I was lucky enough to be invited along with Chloe to sample the menu and have a peek around the place.
We drove up on Monday evening, encountering lots of lovely fog along the way which resulted in us getting a bit lost and me having to jump out of the car to ask for directions (only to be told to go back the way we came from but just ‘keep going’). We made it eventually… only 5 minutes later than we’d expected. I’d call this success. It was really dark so I have no photos to show you of the beautiful building (a former hospital) from the outside, but if you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that I have plenty of photos of the interior to show you!
We were greeted by smiling staff (always nice!) and were shown around by a lovely young chap whose name has escaped my useless brain (SORRY). He knew lots about the refurbishment of the building and told us all about the artwork by local artists, hanging on the walls.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned that you can book a room to stay overnight at St Mary’s Inn have I?! Upstairs there will be a total of 11 rooms, 4 of which were ready for us to view. The beautiful paintings of Northumbrian landscapes in the hallway are by Judy Appleby, with each room being named after a Northumbrian reservoir.
The first thing I noticed as soon as we walked in was the beautiful fragrance, as we went round each room I kept repeating how much I loved it. The rooms have been furnished very tastefully, they’re simple, elegant and spacious. There’s something about crisp white bedding that just makes me want to climb into the bed and hibernate. I didn’t do this, obviously.
Downstairs there are 3 main bar areas, with wood burning stoves and the most adorable wire dog sculptures – you might recognise them from Jesmond Dene House, created by sculptor Gary Tiplady. The photos might not convey just how cosy this place is – you have to see it to believe it.
Then there’s the area where breakfast and afternoon tea will be served… I love the walls in here so much!
Most of the art downstairs is by Norman Cornish, these paintings have been given to St Mary’s Inn by the Northumbria University Gallery.
There are also cartoons by local cartoonist David Haldane who lives in Morpeth. You might recognise his name as David creates the daily cartoons for The Times and has also featured in Punch Magazine and Spitting Image. I particularly liked this cartoon:
We then sauntered over to the restaurant area… there’s also a private dining room (which seats 20 people). It wasn’t quite ready to be photographed but we had a peek and it was lovely. As there were other diners, I didn’t take too many photos in the restaurant area.
After reading the menu approximately 100 times, I opted for a true pub classic (I’m so predictable), Cumberland Sausage, Mash and Roast Onions (£11.50) and a side of Cauliflower Cheese (£3.00), while Chloe opted for the Ricotta Dumplings with Winter Squash (£10.50). Next time I visit I am definitely getting the Salt Cod Fritters with Tartare Sauce from the Snacks section of the menu. In fact I quite fancy that right now. Produce is locally sourced and there is a really good variety of menu options to choose from, as well as a children’s menu.
Both of us loved our meals, they were well presented, piping hot and most importantly, totally delicious. The cauliflower cheese was AMAZING. The cheese sauce was perfect. I’ll probably order it with any of the mains I choose in the future. Is this acceptable?
Chloe knew before we’d even looked at the menu that she would have the Banoffee Doughnut (£3.50) for dessert and although it was a tough choice, I chose the Brewer’s Malt Profiteroles with Hot Chocolate Sauce (£7). LOOK AT THEM! You’ll notice that they’re slightly more biscuit-y than your normal profiteroles… I was very pleasantly surprised by this twist on a classic dessert. Extremely tasty and very (very) generous with the amount of hot chocolate sauce – enough for Chloe to pour a dollop or two on her banoffee doughnut!
I enjoyed the relaxed, cosy atmosphere at St Mary’s Inn as well as the emphasis on providing good food and ingredients being locally sourced. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to get very busy here, so if you fancy popping in, do ring to book in advance so you’re not disappointed. The phone number is 01670 293293 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s only 20 minutes away from where I live, so will definitely be popping back for more tastiness with Ankush.
I’d love to hear what you think if you visit, do let me know!
* Our meals were provided free of charge for review purposes, but as with everything on my blog, my opinions are 100% honest.