It has been ages since we’d last been to the Badger in Ponteland. I think it was probably when Abigail was around 1 year old. Yet for some unknow reason we’d not returned. There was nothing wrong with the place and I totally love the concept. The only reason I can think of is that Newcastle has so many other good places that should be visited.
Anyway, I’d been given a gift card for Dobbies Garden centre for my birthday, so I needed to use it up. As the Badger is next door, I had the perfect excuse. This time it was Sunday dinner with my Mum and the kids as Catherine was doing something else.
The Badger, Ponteland
I am a sucker for theming. A well executed theme really sets the ground work for an experience. In my mind experience is as important as the meal itself. There is a reason I’m harping on about this that I was fooled.
Fifteen years ago, when my parents would take me out for lunch we found this old farm house, that had been converted into a pub. Old brickwork and wooden beams divided up the rooms. The plaster work was lumpy and several floor boards looked like they’d seen better days. The food was rustic and well presented, possibly how I’d imagine a traditional family roast to be from years ago. I am talking about ‘The Badger’ here. Fast forward to 2005 when the Falcon’s Nest, Gosforth was built and I was amazed. The New Falcons Nest pub was built to look like it was old and the theme would have worked if it wasn’t next a Petrol Station, McDonalds and a Travelodge. The brickwork, timbers and render all give the right feel, but its location that cuts it short.
Both Pubs are Vintage Inns, serving the same sort of offering, but The Badger feels a little more authentic. Possibly because it is actually a really old building. Any refurbishment has been kept very in tune with it and I love how it feels personal.
Being a traditional Sunday Dinner, we all went for Beef. It is a treat for us as we rarely have it at home. The Kids love it and… it’s Sunday so why not. The traditional roast included Yorkshire Puddings, Potatoes (boiled and roast), Parsnip, Cabbage, Carrots and a jug of Gravy.
The Kid (and my Mum) had a Childs portions, which was essentially the same, but had one slice of meet instead of two.
I was amazed at the size of the kids portion to be honest. This is why there are two photos of an Adults Dinner. To try and compare the sizes, you can see the Yorkshire pudding is the same size. There were two other difference beside the extra slice of beef. The Adult portion was on a rectangle plate, versus the Childs round one. Then the price… Adults Beef Dinner £11.50, Childs Beef Dinner £6. Stacking this up, the Kids meal was great value. But I could also think that that second Beef slice cost £5.50. For an extra 50p I could have had two child portions and scored for two Yorkshires!
I shouldn’t grumble, as the food was amazing. Both my Mum and I cleared our plates. While the kids ate the Beef and Yorkshire puddings, while pushing the vegetables around the plate.
For £1.00 the kids chose a Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream. Abigail cleaned her plate as soon as her spoon arrived.
I chose the Sticky Toffee and Apple Pudding. The Waitress mentioned that it comes with ice cream, but they could do custard if we preferred. I question that it should only be served with custard. If my Dad was still around I’m sure he would have some rant about Desserts vs Puddings and Hot vs Cold. Either way, it was served as we liked it and there was nothing left when we were finished.
Despite Vintage Inns running over 180 pubs in the UK. The style and presences keeps it feeling small and personal. If I was to offer a piece of advice, I suggest you should book. We didn’t turned up on a whim, but knowing that it used to get busy arrived around 11:45am. We were seated quite quickly. As we were leaving there was a queue out the door.
We’ll definitely be back in the near future, as the one feature I loved wasn’t in operation. The Log Fires. Just thinking about it make me think of Christmas, so I’ll wait for December to kick in and start setting the mood.